This module helps you to build an intellectual foundation to business as a field of inquiry. The module links big topics to the everyday workings of organisations and individuals. You will locate the emergence of business, management, and the modern world, not only in its economic context but within a wider arena of social and political transformation across sociology, psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. We examine a host of ‘isations and ‘isms’ in a practical, stimulating, and most importantly relevant way.
The module is intentionally critical and provocative at times; alternative ways of thinking are presented and encouraged. You will be exposed to competing perspectives on some of the most fundamental changes and problems facing individuals and organisations. They will be strongly encouraged to develop reflective awareness of the ways through which seemingly distant or abstract ideas shape the organisation of contemporary societies and our everyday lives. This is an important module as it develops knowledge and frameworks through which to develop thinking regardless of future module, course, or career application. This module surfaces some of taken for granted assumptions and opens them up to challenge through critical thinking.
By the end of the module you will have a powerful set of thinking tools by which to interpret the past, the present, and visions of the future. The module has two principal aims: first, to impress upon students the importance of these ‘big topics’ that have impacted most strongly on the development of advanced human societies, the organisations that inhabit them, and indeed the humans; and second, to motivate students to reflect on the relevance of these ideas for their own lives, and for the wider challenges of the contemporary business world. Having finished the module, students will have an understanding of business management as an intellectually stimulating and liberal subject. They will then be able to position in a contingently emerging world; a world that we are often tempted to take as natural and somehow inevitable when it is not.
The course is split into three sections. The first section examines some of the large themes and meta-ideas that underpin much of our thinking in society, business, and management. They serve as a framing ideas through which to view the world around us and what follows in the module. These topics include capitalism, modernity and neoliberalism, globalisation, consumption, and work. The second section then looks at more abstract ideas including time and space, technology, knowledge work and professions.
The final section aims to add specificity by considering inequalities (race, gender, class, and others) and their impact on organisations and individuals, changing workplaces, work transitions, identity, and the future of work.
Throughout, the course examines how things were to then see how things are – and how they could be.