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FTMBA2022_I Organizational Behavior

People are an organization{\uc1\u8217*}s most important asset. The knowledge, skills, talents and experiences that people bring with them are the necessary factors that give organizations a competitive advantage. People formulate the strategies and discover the technologies that drive businesses, and people are ultimately responsible for the success of companies.
Course code
Course type
FT MBA Course
Weekly Hours
FS 2021
Prof. Dr. Miriam Müthel
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

This course is about the people side of business - about you! People are an organization’s most valuable asset. But how to unfold people’s full potential? In this class, you will be learning the fundamentals of managing organizations from a people perspective. Thereby, we particularly address those people skills, that are key to your future career in a digitalized world. Tn this vein, we discuss how to manage relationships across hierarchies, how to communicate change, how to survive organizational politics and how to learn from failure.

In this class you will learn 6 key people skills enabling your career in a digitalized world:

  1. Managing upwards: Capability to manage across hierarchies
  2. Surviving toxic leaders: Capability to strategically invest your energy
  3. Communicating change: Capability to win others for a change in an uncertain environment
  4. Playing positive politics: Capability to reconcile conflicting ideas and opinions
  5. Defending against negative politics: Capability to create synergies across business partners with different agendas
  6. Learning from failure: Capability to fail forward
Date Time
Thursday, 08.07.2021 08:45 - 16:00
Friday, 09.07.2021 09:45 - 17:00
Thursday, 15.07.2021 08:45 - 16:00
Friday, 16.07.2021 10:45 - 16:15
In this class, you will ...

1. ...understand key issues and concepts of organizational behavior,

2. ... learn how to apply them in practice,

3. ... experience the power of organizational behavior through experimental exercises,

4. ... reflect on your own experiences,

5. ... gain insights about hot behavioral topics in international top companies,

6. ... learn how top leaders pushed their careers by effectively managing people,

7. ... and ultimately, develop better people skills.

As this class has been designed to specifically address the people skills relevant for pursuing a vivid career in a digitalized world, there is no general Organizational Behavior book used in this class. Rather, each section is based on up-to-date specialized literature from experts in academia and practice. Therefore, additional reading material for this class can be found directly within the citations at the bottom of the slides presented. Managing UpCohen, & Bradford (2005) Influence without authorityBaldon (2010) Lead your bossPositive Corporate PoliticsSpector (2018) The Executive Arena: Mastering the Art of Corporate Politics, Perceptional Messaging, and Other Secrets to Success in Today's Corporate WorldMcIntyre (2005) Secrets to winning at office politicsToxic LeadershipSutton (2010) The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn'tRoter (2017) Understanding and Recognizing Dysfunctional Leadership: The Impact of Dysfunctional Leadership on Organizations and FollowersNegative Corporate PoliticsBrandon, & Seldman (2004) Survival of the savvySpears (2012) Navigating Corporate PoliticsChange CommunicationGuber (2012) Tell to win: Connect, persuade and triumph with the hidden power of storiesHarvard Business School Publishing (2013) On communicationLearning from FailureHagen (2018) How Could This Happen?: Managing Errors in OrganizationsDyed (2016) Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance: The Surprising Truth About Success
This class is all about you, your experiences and your expertise in managing people. It will be highly interactive including discussions, experiential tasks, reflections, and case-studies – all which be in-class exercises. I therefore expect you to be present, punctual, and active in all sessions, so that you can make the best of this class.
You can obtain 50 points as part of this course. Your grade will be determined by:
1) Teamwork (20 points): There will be several cases that you will solve as teams and present your solutions in class. Grading will be based on the application of concepts learned in class and the quality of your argumentation, i.e. how do you interpret the facts of the case, are your arguments compelling, how stringent is your final take away?
2) Individual final reflection note (30 points): By the end of this class, you will be asked to reflect upon your key learnings from this class. In this vein, I will ask you to envisage specific, challenging people-situations and then to explain, how you would solve these situations based on the key learnings from this class. Grading will be based on the application of key concepts learned in class, and the quality of your argumentation. The final reflection note is an out-of-class exam and will be distributed in the aftermath of the course. Processing time will be two weeks.
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