Faculty of Education

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Education
OfferedClayton Second semester 2014 (Flexible)
Coordinator(s)Dr Venesser Fernandes


This unit is an introduction to the complexities of problem solving and decision making in organisational contexts. Topics include theoretical and philosophical analyses of the concepts of power and authority in organisational and institutional contexts in relation to decision and/or policy making; research approaches to understanding the nature of problem solving and decision making processes; an examination of how psychological, social, and contextual factors influence and shape decision making processes and outcomes in organisations; an analysis of how issues associated with power and authority affect decision making and related organisational structures and processes; and an exploration of how organisational structures and processes might be better designed to improve organisational governance and enhance decision making intelligence and organisational capability.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. understand concepts of power and authority in organisational and institutional contexts, and how these concepts relate to problem solving, decision making, and change in organisations
  2. understand and appreciate how 'good' decisions ought to get made in administrative contexts from a normative or prescriptive research perspective
  3. understand and appreciate how decisions actually do get made in organisations from an empirical research perspective
  4. understand and appreciate how a range of psychological framing effects and cognitive biases and heuristics influence judgement and decision making
  5. understand and appreciate how factors associated with complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity, and social choice affect decision making in organisations
  6. critically examine and evaluate how organisations might be designed to improve problem solving and decision making processes and outcomes, and enhance organisational capabilities.


Essay (4000 words, 50%)
Case study (4000 words, 50%)

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

Flexible mode offers a stand-alone online offering that allows students to learn and engage in content and assessment in a supported way. It also provides a face to face component of 12 hours over the semester to engage students with the online learning content, which students can attend if they are able and interested.

Minimum total expected workload equals 288 hours per semester comprising:

(a.) Contact hours for flexible students:

  • 12 contact hours and 24 hours equivalent of online activities over the semester or
  • 36 hours equivalent of online activities over the semester

(b.) Additional requirements (all students):

  • independent study to meet the minimum required hours per semester

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study