Course II: About the Course

This course was designed by Guido Möllering, Elke Schüßler and Hannah Trittin-Ulbrich in March 2022 in response to the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has caused a deep crisis for individuals, organizations and global institutions. As the crisis unfolds, many questions arise that are specifically relevant to management and organization scholars and practitioners. How do firms and leaders make sense and respond to war and armed conflict? What is the role of organizations and leadership in war and conflict? To what extent do organizations such as global supply chains exploit and even drive armed conflict? How do various organizations such as digital platforms or hacker collectives actively participate in warfare? How can organizations as well as supply chains be made reliable and resilient against disruptions caused by war and armed conflict? How are peace efforts and war relief organized by various collective actors, ranging from public administrations and corporations to civil society organizations? More generally, what are corporate responsibilities in war?

This course comprises 14 classes, each dealing with a particular aspect of war and disruption in relation to different management functions and forms of organizing. It is a collaborative effort of organizational scholars from different Austrian, Dutch and German universities that have expertise in researching different aspects of management and organizations that are relevant to times of war and armed conflict. Each class comprises a short recorded lecture and a set of core and background readings in addition to links to contemporary press coverage. 

The course is made available open access, which means that all learning materials are openly available for everyone. Lecture slides and the syllabus are shared in editable formats, so that instructors from around the world can use the materials and adjust the course as needed. The course materials can be used in online, classroom or hybrid settings alike (see teaching reflections here). All course materials (lectures, readings) can be found here. You can sign up to our Youtube channel here. The adaptable course syllabus can be found here.

Learning Objectives

Students of this course should learn to: 

  • Analyze the current and ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine through the lens of organization theory.
  • Understand how different areas of management such as leadership, decision-making or HRM are affected by war and armed conflict.
  • Assess the impact of crises and disruptions on organizational relationships in economic, social, political and ethical terms.  
  • Reflect on how organizations as well as global supply chains can be designed to respond to unexpected events and be responsive and resilient.
  • Explain the actions taken by firms from economic, social, political and ethical perspectives based on corporate responsibility principles.
  • Critically engage with both theoretical concepts and practical contemporary phenomena.
  • Reflect on what organization theory and practicing managers can contribute to responding to crises responsibly for the greater good.   

The course will also provide a forum for sharing personal concerns and experiences vis-à-vis the horrendous reality of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Suggested Assignments and Grading 

Grading and examination as well as the tools used for handling the assignments may vary from instructor to instructor. Generally, the workload in terms of ECTS depends on how the course is implemented by the instructor (e.g., whether completion of all 14 classes including the following assignments is mandatory): 

Before listening to lectures:

  • For each class, students read the relevant core reading(s) and contemporary news article(s) provided in the course outline and post a question that links the core readings to current developments (either in a forum or using email – follow instructor guidance). 

After listening to lectures

  • A randomly assigned group of students sorts the posted questions in a given week and provides answers to three clusters of questions (either in a forum or an open document or a presentation/podcast – follow instructor guidance).
  • All students complete the post-lecture assignment for each class either individually or in groups (follow instructor guidance).

After completion of all classes:

  • Students write a short essay (1.500 words) on a topic of their own choosing or on a topic provided by the instructor  following the advice given in the “How to write an Essay” mini lecture.

Course Materials

Please find here a read-only version of the full syllabus of this course. Course instructors are invited to download the file and adapt it to their local needs. Students are advised to follow the syllabus handed to them by their respective instructors, as it might diverge from the one that is available here.

Here you find all the course materials for the individual classes, including a short lecture, a set of core and background readings, and an assignment.