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MN30270: Virtual organising: understanding group behaviour online

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2019/0
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: School of Management
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: CW 30%, EX-TH 70%*
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework* (CW 30% - Qualifying Mark: 35)
  • Open book examination of 48 hours duration* (EX-TH 70% - Qualifying Mark: 35)

*Assessment updated due to Covid-19 disruptions
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
Today's work is complex and challenging for workers and managers alike. Organizations rely increasingly on international, geographically dispersed collaboration and seek the advantages of flexibility to facilitate innovation. Simultaneously, large-scale changes are occurring at a societal level in terms of use and access to online, virtual networks and communities - leading to novel challenges in terms of consumer interaction, business intelligence, public policy and national security.
The course aims to explore the key features of virtual groups and communities, the theories that underpin how they work and interact, and the ways in which design can influence online, virtual groups. The course is intended to help students to analyse online environments with an eye toward design, including how virtual groups can be managed from within, and how managers can design groups in order to achieve organizational goals. The course is divided in three main parts:
Part 1: Looks at the theories that we will use to understand virtual groups, and the key methods used to study behaviour in online settings. Beginning with models of computer-mediated communication and community, we will examine how virtual groups can be understood as a socio-technical system, and the ways in which technology is shaped by the users, and in turn how it determines their behaviour and actions.
Part 2: Looks at specific instances of online groups, ranging from virtual workplace teams to dark web criminal communities, health and interest groups, the use of virtual resources and communities in emergency and disaster situations, social action and the 'Arab Spring', and consumer networks.
Part 3: In the final part of the course, we will look at how the design of a virtual group or environment can be used to influence outcomes, and how virtual groups deal with anti-social or non-productive behaviours.
Participants will gain a set of frameworks, insights and practical tools better enabling them to understand how IT-enabled communication can work effectively in a virtual workspace, and how virtual groups can be designed to enable specific outcomes.

Learning Outcomes:

* To deepen students' understanding of how information technologies influence communication patterns, community, and connections between people. To be able to apply these insights to specific technologies and applications.
* To develop students' ability to build teams and collaborations with people in dispersed locations
* To enable students to thoughtfully assess new communication technologies and when and how to use them, and to make informed choices regarding the design and use of these technologies.
* To increase students' engagement with the topic of 'virtual groups and communities', with the learning process and with their fellow students in a friendly and supportive environment.

To develop in students a range of personal transferable skills appropriate to final year undergraduate students. Through diverse methods of implementation (case study analysis, presentations and interactive discussions) it will foster interpersonal, communication, critical and analytical skills.

Core content will include:
* Theories of communication and community in virtual environments
* Virtual teams, and e-leadership
* Virtual community and social network analysis
* Social action, social media and ICTs
* Persuasive design and technology.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

MN30270 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Computer Science
  • USCM-AFB09 : BSc(Hons) Computer Science with Business (Year 3)
  • USCM-AAB10 : BSc(Hons) Computer Science with Business with Study year abroad (Year 4)
  • USCM-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Computer Science with Business with Year long work placement (Year 4)
School of Management Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • UXXX-AYB05 : BSc(Hons) International Management and Modern Languages (French) with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UXXX-AYB04 : BSc(Hons) International Management and Modern Languages (German) with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UXXX-AYB06 : BSc(Hons) International Management and Modern Languages (Spanish) with Year Abroad (Year 4)