University Catalog 2005-2006

Learning, Social and Organizational (LRNG)

School of Public Policy

492, 592 Special Topics in Social and Organizational Learning (1-3:1-3:0) Covers topics in social or organizational change seen from economic, historical, philosophical, literary, organizational, or information technology perspectives. Courses first appear under this heading. Consult program office and class schedules for descriptions. May be repeated for credit.

572 Taming the Electronic Frontier (3:3:0) Using the Internet as a primary medium for interactive learning, this innovative course is offered in a classroom as well as over cable TV. It establishes a dialogue between producers and consumers of information-age goods by exploiting distance-learning technologies such as television in combination with e-mail/FTP/gopher/WAIS and other groupware tools. These provide the basis for electronically mediated organizational learning exercises that challenge traditional power relationships between producers and consumers in institutional -contexts.

583 Groupware for Organizational Learning (3:3:0) Provides exposure to groupware systems such as Lotus Notes, the World Wide Web, and Folio Views, and the ways they can be incorporated to help organizations use knowledge more effectively. Trains students in application development for enhancing organizational learning, and introduces them to the range of diverse software products designed to facilitate coordination and collaborative work.

592 Internet Literacy (1:1:0) Five-week, 1-credit minicourse taught via the Internet and video provides Internet competency for distance-learning initiatives across the Mason curriculum. Topics include concepts, skills, and software for reading, searching, and writing hypertext for the web and for participating in email and newsgroups, for any course in the Mason curriculum. Uses the new campus infrastructure, cable TV, and videotape, as well as the Internet as the medium of collaborative and experiential learning and as a demonstration of best practices in distance learning.

596 Independent Study (1-12:0:0) Covers research, analysis, and implementation within the realm of social and organizational learning. Students work with a member of the program faculty. May be repeated for credit.

601 Organizational Learning (3:3:0) Re--examination of organizations and role of management from interpretive standpoint. Develops a process view of organizations that identifies differences in interests, perspectives, and cultures among groups and explains the role of management in facilitating understanding to achieve effective cooperation in a dynamic work environment. Themes include organizational culture, decision-making, collaborative communities, and teamwork, and ÒreadingÓ of organizational change. Case studies and experiential exercises reinforce the learning process. Complements LRNG 672.

602 Group Dynamics and Team Learning (3:3:0) Using unstructured learning environments, participants learn how to facilitate team learning for organizational effectiveness by engaging in meaningful group interaction. Explores various aspects of group dynamics such as power, perception, motivation, leadership, and decision making.

672 Organizational Learning Laboratory (3:3:0) Focuses on creating a learning and experimental environment to explore questions and concerns typically faced by managers in their effort to build learning organizations. Questions are analyzed using experiential learning and action research. Classroom group interactions and group projects simulate real-world organizations. The object is to acquire competence to diagnose and analyze organizations and develop skills to become better facilitators of organizational learning. Complements LRNG 601.

676 Comparative Socioeconomic Systems (3:3:0) Covers the study of fundamental alternatives in public policy. Explores the systemic, evolutionary patterns in overall socioeconomic institutional arrangements, and examines the manner in which knowledge is discovered, changed, and communicated in social systems. Drawing on the field of complex evolving systems, this course pays particular attention to two traditions—Marxism and the Austrian School. Textual material is in Folio Views software, which facilitates a close reading and enables collaboration in earlier analysis and interpretation of texts.

692, 792 Special Topics in LRNG (1-3:1-3:0) Covers topics in social or organizational change seen from economic, historical, philosophical, literary, organizational, and information technology perspectives. New courses that first appear under this heading include Teaching Practicum: Instructional Technologies, Building Learning Organizations for Global Business, Computational Modeling of Social Learning, and Strategic Knowledge Management. May be repeated for credit.

714 Ethnography of Corporate Culture (3:3:0) Contrary to popular usage, Òcorporate cultureÓ is not a simple byproduct of organizational charts and advertising images, but rather the Òweb of meaningÓ that endows organizational action with its deepest significance. Like all other instances of local culture, corporate cultures must be studied by ethnographic methods of Òthick description.Ó After exploring conceptions of corporate culture, course examines exemplary ethnographies of various organizations, including those of different societies, as preparation for studentsÕ own ethnographic field work and writing.

761 Computational Modeling of Social Learning (3:3:0) Explores the processes of social interaction and the emergent (higher-order or macro-) phenomena by modeling social interaction on computers. Models are simulations of Òvirtual worldsÓ populated by a variety of Òvirtual agents,Ó and they allow processes to be observed in action through visual representations of economic activity. The modeling language used is Smalltalk V/Windows 2.0, from Digitalk Corp. Course goal is to bring together the insights of social scientists and computational scientists, using the formerÕs understanding of social systems and the latterÕs modeling principles and techniques to produce models in which the entities modeled have both the capacity of volition and varying interpretations of and strategies for dealing with their environments.

762 Strategic Knowledge Management (3:3:0) Deals with theory and practices of leveraging and sharing knowledge to develop more effective organizations. Focuses on knowledge and communities of practice, and includes use of collaborative technology in managing interactions.

763 Technology and Learning in Organizations (3:3:0) Examines the enormous potential of information technology to enhance the way organizations work and learn. Focus includes user interface design and the organizational processes that support effective use of this technology.

764 Learning Across Cultures (3:3:0) Focuses on the ideas and practices involved in fostering learning, innovation, and new knowledge creation in the highly multicultural environments of knowledge intensive, global economies and political systems.

770 Pricing Strategy and Tactics (3:3:0) Covers techniques of strategic analysis necessary to price more profitably by evaluating the price sensitivity of buyers, determining the relevant costs for a pricing decision, anticipating and influencing competitorsÕ pricing, and formulating pricing strategies appropriate for the market. Participants learn tactics required to implement strategies that enable them to price differently to different market segments, enhance the perception of their productÕs value, and coordinate pricing with the other elements of marketing. Involves analysis of case and real-world problems as well as the discussion of current events showing how to apply techniques developed in class.

781 Interpretive Social Theory (3:3:0) Advanced, philosophical study of the interpretive school of economics sometimes known as the ÒAustrians.Ó Weaves together Austrian ideas, epistemology, and hermeneutics; organizing theme is the re-interpretation of the Austrian school as a radically interpretive approach to social theory. Course material is in the form of Folio Views hyper-text, which lends itself to the close analysis of text and provides a practical way of demonstrating and appreciating the value of interpretive social theory.

796 Independent Study (1-12:1-12:0) Requires research, analysis, and implementation within the realm of social and organizational learning. Students work with a member of the program faculty. May be repeated for credit.

868 Business, Government, and the International Econ-omy (3:3:0) Provides a broad overview of international development and trade since World War II. Covers the growth strategies of developed countries as well as developing countries. Course is designed to give students a broad understanding of the modern worldÕs system of political economy shaped by national policies, international agreements, and business activity. Almost all instruction is by case method.