In his teaching Tim focuses on contemporary issues and developments in organizational sociology.
His work introduces an organizational perspective to questions of socio-economic development, emerging markets and the future of organizations on both local and global scales. In his classes he draws on a wide variety of real-life cases and examples spanning technology enterprises, novel organizational forms, hybrid organizations, social enterprises, technological and social change in emerging markets and bottom-of-the-pyramid concepts.
His most recent work and teaching material apply an organizational perspective to grand global challenges, of which the causes and effects of climate change and rising socio-economic inequity are just two examples. The course work is predicated on the idea that organizations as a key constitutive element of our society are an ideal vehicle to address issues at the global scale. Especially in a time of organizational abundance or hyper-organizing, we should be better equipped than ever to deal with today’s challenges. Yet as it turns out, we are stuck in a trap in which we recycle old organizational solutions to tackle new, complex problems. Most of the organizational models and designs used today are in fact relics of the past devised to address small-world problems with manageable degrees of complexity. Grand global challenges, however, are vast and seemingly unmanageable problems that demand new ways of thinking about structuring organizations. These problems challenge our established ways of thinking about what is manageable and what an organized and effective response at global scale must look like. This is the starting point for thinking both theoretically and practically about novel organizational structures and techniques. Together with class participants and his collaborators at Stanford University and the London School of Economics, Tim tackles this challenge head on. Get in touch to receive updates on the course material.
MS&E 188 Organizing for Good
Most of us will spend a large portion of our lives contributing to organizations. The grand challenges of our time will demand entirely new ways of thinking about when, how, and under what conditions organizations, teams, and individuals within organizations can and are “doing good” and what effects that has. In this interactive course, we will jointly develop a concept of the “good organization” and what it means to do good and take a close look at the existing global organizational landscape and the inner workings of organizations. We will revisit well-established organizational approaches and concepts such as corporate social responsibility, philanthropic organizations, nongovernment organizations and social and environmental entrepreneurship as well as examine novel organizational designs and assess their potential for doing good in a complex, global world. We will discuss the role of meaning and purpose in work, the responsibilities of organizations and their leaders, the tradeoffs of various organizational structures and alliances, the changes that organizations go through as they grow and the role of culture and cultural differences when trying to do good globally. A central element of the class will be student projects that analyze an existing organization and its efforts to do good. At the end of the class, students will have a deeper appreciation of the role of organizations in society, the challenges organizations face in attempting to do good, limitations to current ways of organizing, and some alternative ways to organize and lead organizations that are “good.”