This assessment provides you with the foundations you need to complete Assessments 2 and 3. By completing this assessment you will learn how to critically analyse and deconstruct people’s perspectives on organisations and management.

This is important, because it enables you to:

  • see behind people’s arguments and claims about organisations and how they should be managed
  • understand the assumptions and values that drive people’s points of view on management and organisations
  • understand the strengths and limitations of people’s points of view on management and organisations
  • understand the blind spots within people’s arguments and claims about organisations and how they should be managed.

This assessment is authentic in that it develops and emulates the kind of critical thinking you will need to employ when working in organisations where you are required to weigh information or views that are put before you, as part of your decision-making and solution-development processes.

Assessment details

To complete this assessment you must analyse and deconstruct one of three articles / media clips (details provided below), decide which paradigm discussed in the lectures the article/media clip best embodies, and explain why this is so. To “deconstruct” something is to look beyond the surface of what is being said or written; it is to pull an argument apart and look for the assumptions and agenda that informs a person’s viewpoint and argumentation.

Each article/media clip more or less clearly embodies a particular paradigm, although they are not perfect or “ideal” fits with the paradigms. The challenge with this assessment is to demonstrate your knowledge and skills by explaining why  your chosen article/media clip exemplifies a particular paradigm. Note that there is no functionalist article/media clip available to deconstruct for your assignment. Instead, we will workshop a functionalist article in class, to demonstrate how you might approach the assignment and analyse your chosen article/clip. Rest assured we will workshop ALL the articles/readings in class.

The three articles/media clips for you to choose for your deconstruction are:

  • Interpretivist/social relativist exemplar:  Gast, A., Probst, N., & Simpson, B. 2020. Purpose not platitudes: A personal challenge for top executives. McKinsey Quarterly, December 3, 2020. For access, see the Reading List, Assignment 1 readings: Reading List, Assignment 1 (Links to an external site.)
  • Radical structuralist exemplar: McManus, S. 2019. On fairness. Melbourne Press Club event, posted on Facebook on 8th February, 2019. For access, see the Reading List, Assignment 1 readings. Note that McManus’s full text is also provided in the Reading List, under Assignment 1 Readings. You might find this useful to supplement the video.
  • Radical humanist/neo-humanist exemplar: Crenshaw, K. The urgency of intersectionality. Ted Talk, Dec 8, 2016. For access, see the Reading List, Assignment 1 readings.

How to approach the assessment 

1. Listen to Lectures 1 – 5 closely, taking notes as you go on the characteristics of each paradigm.

2. Attend your tutorials, where the paradigms will be discussed.

3. Read/listen to the three articles/media clips, and choose one that you wish to deconstruct.

We provide worksheets for each paradigm to help you identify the relevant characteristics of the paradigm that the article / media clip exemplifies. We will be workshopping each article in class. The relevant worksheets are provided in the tutorial activities (e.g. Module 3 tutorial activities contains a worksheet for the interpretivist / social relativist reading). Do NOT submit the worksheet as your assignment.

4. Review the following text, focusing particularly on your chosen paradigm: Burrell, G. & Morgan, G. 1979, Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis, Routledge, USA. (Part 1, Chapters 1–3, pp. 1–37). For access, see the Reading List (essential reading).

  • Highlight passages that distil the characteristics of your chosen paradigm. See the worksheet as an example.
  • Highlight passages in your article / media clip (type out the relevant quote/feature of the clip) where you see these characteristics in operation. See the worksheet for an example.

5. In 1,000 words (+/- 10%, excluding references) build your case as to why your chosen article/media clip exemplifies its given paradigm. Below are guiding questions to consider and respond to:

  • What features of the paradigm can you see in operation in the article/media clip? What paradigm do these features best reflect and why?
  • What is the topic of interest to the authors? Are they challenging the way the existing political and economic system operates, or are they seeking to improve the performance of organisations within the existing system? What paradigm do these interests best reflect and why? (Consider the order & regulation/radical change & conflict axis of the typology of the four paradigms).
  • Who has written the article/who is constructing the argument in the media clip? Who are they affiliated with, and what are their interests/agenda?  What paradigm do these interests best reflect and why?
  • What are the aims of the article/media clip? (Note: these may be undeclared) What does the author/speaker wish to achieve? What paradigm do these aims best reflect and why?
  • What issues or aspects of organisations and management does the article/media clip ignore, or not engage with? What are the implications of these blind spots, and why are these blind spots characteristic of the paradigm this article/media clip exemplifies?

Essential elements 

  • Use connected prose (no bullet points) to deconstruct your chosen article/clip. You may use subheadings if you wish, based on the questions listed above.
  • You must draw on the Burrell and Morgan text to help you construct your reasoning and argue your case.
  • You must also draw on at least two other scholarly sources (excluding the Burrell and Morgan text, this means you will be drawing on three scholarly sources at a minimum) to help construct your case. See the Reading List (Week 1: Organisational analysis – Introduction and framing) for a range of suggested resources.
  • We expect your in text citations to be perfect. This is a second year course and you must now demonstrate a solid understanding of how to acknowledge other people’s ideas. This means citing the surnames of the authors whose work you are drawing on, the year of the publication, and, if you are using direct quotations, you must also wrap the words that are not yours in “quotation marks” and provide the page number from where you have drawn the quotation. It is advisable to be sparing with direct quotations, and instead paraphrase the scholarly texts where possible.
  • Do not cite the lectures. TIP: for scholarly resources, see the references at the end of the lecture slide-decks, or the reading list, especially Week 1.
  • Do not submit the worksheet from the tutorials as your assessment. 

Assessment criteria

Course learning outcomes

This assessment is relevant to the following course learning outcomes:


Identify different analytical perspectives employed to understand organisations at the individual, social, and structural levels.


Interpret and apply these multiple perspectives to empirically analyse organisations and the contexts in which they operate.


Draw on different analytical perspectives as the basis for a socially responsible, ideologically aware approach towards organisational problem-solving.


Evaluate knowledge assumptions, including one’s own, and come to recognise their management implications and practical consequences.

Referencing guidelines

Use RMIT Harvard (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) referencing style for this assessment.

You must acknowledge all the courses of information you have used in your assessments.

Refer to the RMIT Easy Cite (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) referencing tool to see examples and tips on how to reference in the appropriated style. You can also refer to the library referencing page for more tools such as EndNote, referencing tutorials and referencing guides for printing.

Business Organizations