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EDF6821 - Power, authority and decision-making

12 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Education

Leader(s): Dr N Allix


Clayton Second semester 2009 (Off-campus)
Clayton Second semester 2009 (Evening)
Hong Kong Term 3 2009 (Off-campus)
Singapore Term 3 2009 (Off-campus)


This unit is an introduction to the complexities of decision making in organisational contexts. Topics covered include: theoretical and philosophical analyses of the concepts of power and authority in organisational and institutional contexts; research approaches to understanding the nature of decision making and problem solving 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 enhance decision making intelligence and organisational governance.


This unit aims to introduce students to how researchers have come to understand:

  1. Concepts of power and authority in organisational and institutional contexts.

  1. How good decisions ought to get made in administrative contexts.

  1. How decisions actually do get made in organisations.

  1. How factors associated with complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity, and social choice affect decision making in organisations.

  1. How organisations might be designed to improve decision making processes and outcomes, and better manage associated patterns of power and authority.


2 Essays (2 x 4000 words each): Weighting of 50% each - totalling 100%.

Contact hours

3 hours per week equivalent (5 x 4hr modules over the semester)

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