Spring 2018





The Art & Science of Understanding Paradox in Organizations

Term: 
Spring 2018
Online: 
No
Course Number: 
DYNM 620 001
Schedule: 
Wednesday 6:00pm-9:00pm
Day(s): 
Wednesday
Instructor: 

SUBRAMANIAN, AMRITA V.

Instructor: 

BARSTOW, ALAN M

Prerequisite(s): 
Permits for non-DYNM students: https://sas.upenn.edu/lps/graduate/dynamics/course-permit
Primary Program: 
Organizational Dynamics
Course Note: 
DYNM Category: A; DYNM Concentration: LMC. 1st Meeting: 2/4. All other meetings weekly on Wednesdays
Course Description: 

This course introduces multiple approaches to understand and interpret the paradoxes that baffle us, such as:

·    Why is it that we go to hospitals to be healed and get well, but we leave sick and infected?

·    How is it that we come together to do purposeful work and end up doing mundane, boring tasks? 

·    How is it that banks were created to protect and ensure financial security, but banks have caused a global recession? 

·   Why do we not learn from history? Why do we repeat the mistakes we have made before?   

·   Why is it that the “Developed and Advanced” countries of the world are destroying the planet?   

This highly interactive, flexible, and remarkably diverse online course will offer frames to observe the paradox in ourselves, our families, our friendships, our workplace, and our relationships with individuals, teams, and systems—the three units of analysis that constitute every paradoxical situation. Paradox appears in our organizations, our relationships, and our experience as contributing members and leaders of our society. 
 
The value proposition of this course is for managers, leaders, and strategic thinkers who wish to understand the art and science behind the paradoxes in the systems within which we live and operate—the visible and the invisible and the rational and irrational. Understanding the unconscious forces that lead to inconsistencies and contradictions will help us be resilient in the face of paradox.  

This online course will have weekly synchronous and asynchronous sessions of 2-3 hours in length. Through guest speakers and multiple interdisciplinary discussions, we will explore many angles of our understanding of paradoxes. Course grading will be based on class participation, contribution to the collective wisdom, and academic excellence in written assignments.