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University of Exeter Business School

Organisational Development

Module titleOrganisational Development
Module codeBEM3051
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Allan Lee (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Module description

This module introduces students to the techniques and practices of organisational development.  It explores ways in which organisations can develop in order to achieve improved performance by drawing on social psychology to understand how to maximise the potential of employees and ensure they are aligned with organisational objectives.  It builds on concepts found in organisational behaviour and human resource management and would particularly appeal to students who anticipate taking on a managerial, consultancy or human resource focused career or with an interest in organisational change and change management.

Pre-requisites: BEM2020 Organizational Behaviour and BEM2021 Human Resource Management

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to techniques of organisational development, exploring change through the management and development of individuals
  • develop students’ understanding of the complexity of managing and influencing people
  • provide students with practical ideas and techniques to assist in developing organisations

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. explain the practical ways in which individuals and organisations can be developed;
  • 2. explain how to connect development objectives to the organization’s strategic aims;
  • 3. assess the importance of employee/employer relationships through a range of conceptual frameworks including the psychological contract and trust.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. explain the design of effective managerial interventions;
  • 5. assess the effectiveness of managerial practices;
  • 6. explain the implications and value of social psychology perspectives for a range of activities relating to business, work and organizations;
  • 7. apply theory to support and challenge practical organizational development issues.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. apply practical problem solving skills to real-world organizational challenges;
  • 9. research and study independently.

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction to social psychological perspective to understanding organisational development and the achievement of objectives.  How strategic aims of an organization translate to employees through leadership.
  • Leadership and Leadership development – the importance of leveraging leadership to achieve the organisations objectives. Theories of leadership and critical analysis. Practical application and leadership development techniques
  • Relationships at work – leveraging employees through positive relationships – leader-member exchange theory (LMX), teams and co-worker relationships, psychological contract, psychological safety and trust
  • Motivation of employees – how to get employee motivated to meet their potential – topics such as job design, self-determination, justice, pro-social. Links to previous lectures (i.e. leadership).
  • Exploring major challenges facing organisations and organizational development  and how these may be tackled e.g., diversity, aging workplace, virtual working, organizational scandals.
  • Revision and consolidation

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity222 hour lectures weekly / 11 weeks
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity51 hour seminar / fortnightly
Guided Independent Study123Reading, research, reflection; Preparation for lectures, tutorials and assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Regular verbal feedback on in-class on discussion and participatory activitiesThroughout lectures and seminars1-9Verbal feedback to individual students and groups
Online question and answersThroughout course using online platform1-9Correct answers provided with explanation

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual written assignment502000 words1-5,8,9Written
Examination502 hours1,3,6,7Generic feedback via ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual written assignment (50%)Individual Written Assignment (2000 words, 50%)1-5,8,9Summer reassessment period
Examination (50%)Examination (2 hours, 50%) 1,3,6,7Summer reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic Reading:

Woods SA, West MA. (2014) The psychology of work and organizations. Cengage Learning EMEA

Robbins and Judge (2015) Organizational Behaviour.  16th Edition.  Pearson.


Selected References:

Gurtner, A., Tschan, F., Semmer, N. K., & Nägele, C. (2007). Getting groups to develop good strategies: Effects of reflexivity interventions on team process, team performance, and shared mental models. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes102(2), 127-142.

Henderson, D. J., Liden, R. C., Glibkowski, B. C., & Chaudhry, A. (2009). LMX differentiation: A multilevel review and examination of its antecedents and outcomes. The leadership quarterly20(4), 517-534.

Humphrey, S. E., Nahrgang, J. D., & Morgeson, F. P. (2007). Integrating motivational, social, and contextual work design features: a meta-analytic summary and theoretical extension of the work design literature.

Wayne, S. J., Shore, L. M., & Liden, R. C. (1997). Perceived organizational support and leader-member exchange: A social exchange perspective. Academy of Management journal40(1), 82-111

Epitropaki, O., Kark, R., Mainemelis, C., & Lord, R. G. (2016). Leadership and followership identity processes: A multilevel review. The Leadership Quarterly.

Grijalva, E., Harms, P. D., Newman, D. A., Gaddis, B. H., & Fraley, R. C. (2015). Narcissism and leadership: A meta-analytic review of linear and nonlinear relationships. Personnel Psychology 68 (1), 1-47

Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Ilies, R., & Gerhardt, M. W. (2002). Personality and leadership: a qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of applied psychology,87(4), 765.

Key words search

Leadership, Human Resource Management, Learning, Psychology

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BEM2047 and BEM2021

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date