Humans live in a world of complex organizations and what the people in them produce surrounds us. Their purposes of organizations vary and include education, safety, communication, religious, entertainment, services, manufacturing, health, among others. The organizations we create or join help us accomplish goals beyond what we can achieve by ourselves, so they both extend our capabilities as individuals and they limit them by creating expectations and rules about how we should act. Organizations can be more or less effective, just as we admire or dislike the values they reflect and the actions they take. Regardless, it is impossible to imagine a modern world without complex organizations that will in all likelihood become even more important in the future as societies attempt to address issues such as security, environmental change, health care, sustainable development, and poverty, both locally and at a global level.
In order to understand organizations we must be able to look at them and the issues they confront using multiple perspectives, and also to put them together in ways that allow us to act more effectively and in ways that improve people’s lives. The Organizational Studies Program relies both on the disciplines of the College of Social Sciences for helping students develop lenses to look at organizations and it provides experiences that help them synthesize the different views that result. The goal is to develop skills that are both rigorous and flexible in order to meet the need for employees and community members who can see and understand organizations within their larger contexts.