Work and Organisations MSc/PGDip/PGCert | Middlesex University London
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Work and Organisations MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Learn about the course below
October 2018
1 year full-time
2 years part-time
£10,800 (UK/EU)
£15,500 (INT)
Course leader
Elizabeth Cotton

Wellbeing, workplace cultures and working practices are just some of the current subjects concerning many sectors, all topics highly pertinent to HR. As organisations look to institute greater efficacy and effectiveness in their employment practices and understand their staff better, management practice is becoming increasingly relevant in relation to tackling issues from mental health to inclusivity.

Why study MSc Work and Organisations at Middlesex University?

Reflecting the future trends in work, this course offers an in depth and critical framework for understanding and managing groups. Using interdisciplinary teaching, the course looks at contemporary and complex issues such as workplace wellbeing, organisational cultures and the hidden dynamics at work and offers both ways of understanding the future challenges to organisations as well as the skills to manage them.

Straddling both theory and practice, The course is designed for practitioners and graduates who are interested in developing a deep understanding of the contemporary issues within organisations as well as building their own capacities to manage group dynamics. The modules look at issues such as workplace wellbeing, inclusion and exclusion within organisations, bullying at work, the growth of precarious work and models of managing group dynamics in the contemporary workplace. One of the core elements of this course is to develop your research and writing capacity, including for publication and for continued learning to doctoral level.

Course Highlights

  • Interdisciplinary approach drawing on psychology, sociology, employment relations, psychodynamic thinking and organisational theory
  • Support for qualitative and quantitative research and writing for publication and an entry to doctoral research
  • Learn from academics whose areas of research include; organisational psychology, social identity and work, femininity and masculinity in organisations, and leadership and identity

What will you study on the MSc Work and Organisations?

The course provides a critical overview of the core issues and future scenarios of organisational behaviour and work to give you a base from which to proceed into more specialised areas of the subject. As you become more familiar with the major concerns of the topic you will explore specific areas in work such as resilience, inclusion and exclusion, as well as critical engagements with aspects of leadership and organisations. You will then be ready to complete your studies with a dissertation on a relevant topic that is of particular interest to you.

  • Year 1

    • Organisational Behaviour and Critical Perspectives of Work (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The aims of the module are two-fold. Firstly, it will introduce students to the idea of management as a function in work and organisations, particularly the notion that people can be ‘effectively’managed by gaining understanding of their behaviours. Secondly, it will challenge mainstream functionalist and managerialist approaches by questioning the rationality of management. The module will do this by exploring classical topics in organisational behaviour, including motivation, personality, and organisational culture. Students will learn to think about each topic critically by actively reflecting on popular assumptions about the nature of work and management in relation to wider society and they will be able to identify implications for their current and future experiences of working life.

    • The Future of Work and Organisations (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to critically examine how institutions shape national employment relations and new ways of working and production paradigms that have developed out of the global economy. Using contemporary case studies the module will explore the growth of multinational companies and a global economy, the role of the state in shaping employment relations and global trends in the new international division of labour, precarious work and flexibility. The module will look at current debates and controversies surrounding corporate social responsibility, modern slavery, flexibility and insecurity and international labour standards.

    • Understanding Inclusion and Exclusion at Work (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The module will introduce students to the social context and mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion and how they relate to diversity in various work settings. Using sociological and critical organisation theories the module will explore the nature and various patterns of inclusion and exclusion in the workplace and how they relate to a range of social divisions in society – such as gender, class, race and so on. It will introduce students to a variety of theoretical explanations of inclusion and exclusion encouraging them to critically think about how various social differences translate into people’s experiences of advantage and disadvantage in contemporary organisations, occupations and the broader domestic and international labour market.

    • Resilience at Work: Building Wellbeing at Work (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module offers an insight into a new area of study and expertise to promote wellbeing and resilience in today’s complex and changing workplace. In a context of austerity and economic change, wellbeing and mental health are under pressure and there is a clear need to build resilient workplaces and skilled professionals to manage them. Students will be introduced to cutting edge research about the link between work and mental health in the UK, including the Foresight report, New Horizons’ Work Recovery and Inclusion, and the Black report, Working for a Healthier Tomorrow, and recent evidence on stress in the workplace that will enable them to reflect on the importance of mental health in relation to absence and sick leave, and the immense difficulty that organizations continue to face in handling this issue.

    • Organisational Dynamics (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to investigate common organisational dynamics and issues, such as team-work, stress and organisational change through critical and psychoanalytic perspectives. The objective is to draw attention to the hidden and implicit psycho-social dynamics that shape people’s behaviour in organisations. The module highlights differences and relations between the prescribed, formal organisation and the informal, covert dynamics that are part and parcel of work within organisations. Various critical and psychoanalytic perspectives in organisation studies are explored and case-studies are used to encourage students to reflect on implications for practice.

    • Critical Leadership (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The module applies key concepts from Critical Management Studies (CMS) perspectives - such as identity, discourse and performance – to the study of leadership. It does so to provide students with resources with which to critically reflect on their prior experiences of leadership in organisational settings. Students are encouraged to explore the implications of these perspectives for leadership endeavour, developing a subtle understanding of the operation of power within dynamic and changing organisational contexts. Taking students’ ‘puzzlements’ in relation to their experiences of leading and being led as a point of departure, the course provides the opportunity to explore leadership ambiguities that manifest in organisational environments in a ‘safe’ setting, drawing on a range of critical theoretical resources. The module aims to further develop students’ insights into the challenges of leadership endeavour within organisational settings in a complex and diverse business environment, with a view to further supporting their development and practice.

    • Research Project (60 credits) - Compulsory

      The aims of the module are two-fold. Firstly, it will introduce students to research as a process that involves a justified design as well as deliberate execution, presentation, and dissemination. Students will learn about each stage of the research process, with emphasis placed on exposing them to different enquiry paradigms and how these shape decisions on data collection and data analysis. Secondly, students will learn how to plan the production of their research output in the form of an extended academic paper. They will learn how to manage each stage of the writing up process and apply these skills and knowledge to their chosen research project.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indivative and may be subject to change.

How is the MSc Work and Organisations taught?

You will take part in a full range of learning, including lectures, seminars and workshops to explore concepts and theories, engage in discussion and look at real world issues. You will also take part in online activities, group and individual tutorials and self-directed study.


The modes of assessment will be 100% course work, with tutor feedback on seminar activities. The main assessment will be an Extended Research Proposal, with clearly stated research aim and research questions. Students will identify and justify the chosen topic and then analyse and debate mainstream and critical perspectives of the topic in a way that is relevant to the chosen context. Students will proceed onto the extended academic paper of 10,000 words.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International

How can the MSc Work and Organisations support your career?

Building an understanding of organisational behaviour and employment relations will aid the development of practitioners and graduates aspiring to roles in leadership and management. The course itself also provides support and learning for those who wish to pursue a career in academia with a HR specialism. Roles with a specific focus on work and organisations are:

  • HR Officer, Administrator or Manager
  • HR Management Consultant
  • Training and Development Officer or Manager
  • Management Consultant
  • Coaching and Mentoring Advisor or Consultant

Other courses

Organisational Change MA/PGDip/PGCert

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time

Code: 005N691

Leadership in Organisations MA

Start: October 2018, September 2018 (EU/INT induction)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Code: PGX372

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