Stanford University Online Course on Organizational Analysis

The Stanford University is going to start a new free online course “Organizational Analysis”. This course will be provided in collaboration with Coursera. It is an online platform that provides free online courses in collaboration with higher education institutions.

Organizational analysis means evaluating external and internal factors that can influence the organization’s performance. Internal strengths and weaknesses along with outside opportunities and threats are the keys to an organization’s success. SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, is a strategic-planning method an organization’s leader often uses to aid them in establishing business objectives or achieving the organization’s mission goals.

The Course “Organizational Analysis” under the topic Business & Management helps in understanding about various organizational struggles like school systems and politicians attempting to implement education reforms; government administrators dealing with an international crisis; technology firms trying to create a company ethos that sustains worker commitment and even two universities trying to gain international standing by performing a merger. In this course students will learn about the different organizational theories, that will become a lens through which one can interpret concrete organizational situations. After learning about the organizational theories one can easily be able to systematically identify important features of an organization and the events transforming it and proper understanding of these theories will help to predict which actions will be best for the organization in a desired direction.

Duration of the Course

The course will start from 17th September 2013 and for the duration of 10 weeks.


All the students are welcome to join this course and no specific background is required.

Course Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Decisions by rational and rule-based procedures
Week 3: Decisions by dominant coalitions
Week 4: Decisions in organized anarchies
Week 5: Developing organizational learning and intelligence
Week 6: Developing an organizational culture
Week 7: Managing resource dependencies
Week 8: Network forms of organization
Week 9: Institutions and organizational legitimacy
Week 10: Summary

Course Structure

There will be a weekly series of short lectures, interactive assessment session that will refer to the weekly readings on an organizational theory and case study. There will be a forum where students post their queries, respond to others and “like” questions they want to be answered. Each week the discussion of highly rated forum questions will be recorded and posted on-line. In the final exam all the prior weeks material will be reviewed. Students wishing to take the advanced track will be able to perform additional tasks that involve more reading, critical reflection and application of the materials. In particular, they will be able to write short papers and conduct peer evaluations of one another’s work.

Certificate of Accomplishment

On successful completion of course and on satisfactory performance, students will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor.

About Instructor

Daniel McFarland is an Associate Professor of Education, Sociology, and Organizational Behaviour at Stanford University and is the director of Stanford’s certificate program in Computational Social Science.He has completed his PhD in sociology Ffrom the University of Chicago and has published widely on organizational behavior in sociology’s top journals. Over a decade, he has taught courses in organizational behavior and social network analysis at Stanford University and also received a 2006 award for student advising in the Graduate School of Education.