_The Wire_ Assignment Details

The Wire assignment

Hello folks.  For next Tuesday, March 31, you need to watch one episode of the HBO drama The Wire.  Our episode to watch is #31, “Homecoming.” It is on disc three, and is #6 of season 3 (but 31st overall).

I picked it because it highlights some tensions around innovation for different organizations.

What will be a stretch is to pick up the show mid-season.  It is not like Law and Order or other cop shows that are designed for stand-alone viewing.  The stories and plots stretch across episodes and seasons.

For example, here is what one reviewer said:

Confused yet? Well, that’s only the beginning. “The Wire” has the steepest learning curve of any show I can think of, but that makes sense, given how the series slowly and deliberately weaves together such a dense system of cause-and-effect, involving cops, lawyers, politicians, union leaders and drug dealers in an intricate network of favors for favors. For all the show’s density, though, there’s humor, insight and inner conflict in almost every scene.[1]

BEFORE you watch it, I highly recommend you read the episode summary.  Link.

You can read up on each character here.  Cast.

I will put it on reserve on Thursday and in class send around a sign up sheet to help you self-organize.

[1] “Beyond Good and Evil in Baltimore” Havrilesky , Heather.  Salon.Com.  July 12, 2003.  http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/tv/review/2003/07/12/wire/index.html,.  Accessed March 25,2009.


Final paper draft guidelines (REVISED!)

Do you have any t houghts before I make this official?



Final Paper

Due Date:

May 7, 4 p.m.



MGMT 339  Spring 2009

Bucknell University

Jordi Comas, Assistant Professor of Management

Taylor 112


Office: 577 3161

Office Hours: Tuesday 3:30-4:30; Wednesday 9-10 and by appointment.


You will develop and execute a long form paper that combines research and organization theory and that presents information in a way that addresses the needs and interests of your chosen audience.  Your paper will be 3,000-4,000 words, excluding citations.


Þ    Combine research of at least one type (see below) with your knowledge of organization theory, and your skills as a researcher, thinker, and writer

Þ    Write for an audience, specifically, academic, Internet interest-based, or elite decision makers.

Þ    Demonstrate conceptual clarity and accuracy, coherent links between theory and phenomenon, perseverance with your topic, and critical thinking and sophistication.

More on Assignment (Tasks)

Research can mean several different activities.  These include:

–          Academic or Library Research: using the host of search tools to find published material that pertains to your topic.  The key difference between this and a google search is that this material has been through some sort of review and publishing process.  A half hour with one of Bucknell’s librarians can do a lot of good.

–          Internet (google search) research:  This is fast and easy.  The evaluation of quality can be trickier than with academic research.  Often, weaving between them can be effective for evaluating both.  For example, you know that Gerald Davis, author of your text book, is already an academic.  So imagine you find op-ed or opinion pieces by him.  You already know where he is coming from and also that he is unlikely (no guarantees) to be a paid hack for some company or interest.

–          “Policy” research: I may have coined this just know.  There are a range of think tanks and university research centers, as well as government offices like the committees of key Congressional committees, who collect, analyze, and interpret data.  This can be a treasure trove.  Their research is often meant to be persuasive or influence government or other elite decision-makers.  I find Bucknell Students vastly under-use it.  Evaluation is still on you, your wits, and your knowledge of where legitimate information comes from.  Some think tanks are more ideological or partisan than others.  That doesn’t  mean you can’t use it.  You just need to be aware of where people are coming from.  Depending on your topic, I may be able to give you a sense of what kind of research producer you are dealing with. Can’t hurt to ask me.

–          Primary research: This means you are collecting data directly.  Data can come in two flavors: qualitative and quantitative.  This data can often give you personally a much stronger conviction about your topic.  The learning payoffs can be much higher.  Employers or graduate schools are likely to recognize the value of someone who is comfortable with data collection.  The “noise,” that is, the lack of salience in the data, can also be high, especially with qualitative data.  On the other hand, the potential for errors in collecting with quantitative data are higher.

o   One unique case of primary research, the specialty of anthropologists, is your own observations and experience.  This has the benefit of ease of access and the difficulty of establishing validity and objectifying your subjective experiences.

o   Sometimes there is publically available data.  I will point out links on the blog.

In short, research is necessary but difficult.  No one type is universally preferable.  Short cuts may take you over cliffs.  And still, the confidence and knowledge gained makes it worthwhile.

You have a fair amount of latitude in what kind of research and research project you undertake.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

v  Long, encyclopedia-like, entry for a wiki that explore a school or paradigm of organization theory including a review of some empirical research. (Library research; Internet audience).  If you undertake this, we will need to consult about how venue and how to capture your contribution before it is altered.

v  Set of blog posts that take an organization theory school and discuss how it relates to a set of current events or organizations.  (Library research, Internet Research; Internet Audience).  These need to be thematically coherent, and not just a grab-bag or potpourri.

v  Policy analysis for a specific business, government, or organizational decision-maker.  A policy analysis is a genre of report that takes a specific problem, summarizes available research and from that review possible choices or courses of action for the decision maker. (Library research, policy research; Targeted audience)  If you opt for this one, you should find a real decision maker who in principle would be interested in your analysis.  Upon completion, we will discuss sending this to your decision-maker.

v  Teaching case based on a specific organization or organizational field.  (Library research, primary research; audience of students).  You would assemble the relevant facts and perspectives and create a case that allows students to imagine themselves in the shoes of a decision-maker in your case.  These cases could come from organizations you are a member of including ones found on campus.

v  A research project of your own design.  Consult with me soon!

Developing the Process Model of Collective Corruption”

 This article brings forth words that would scare any Wall-Street analyst; words such as organizational crime, white-collar crime, and corporate crime. But what is organizational crime? Palmer and Maher describe organizational crime as “any behavior perpetrated by organizational officials in the course of fulfilling their organizational roles, that judged by social control agents to violate the law.”

 The authors actually categorize organizational crime in tree categories: corporate crime occurs when the organization is a corporation, and an example of that could be a price-fixing arrangement. Again when the organization is a corporation and the crime serves the employees interest, it is called a white-collar crime, like embezzlement. Thirdly,   organizational crime, can occurs when the crime serves the both the organization’s and employee’s interests, such as what happened at Enron. Continue reading