Course Outline

Course Title and Number: INMGT 416, 616, People Process Organization Cultures

Credits: 3

Description: A study of high-performing people process organization cultures integrating sociology, applied psychology, and organization behavior subject matter areas.


  1. Define culture and its impact on individual and group behavior.
  2. Explain how organization culture is communicated.
  3. Define and describe the elements of people process organization cultures.
  4. Marshall social and business evidence that validates the value of high-performing people process organization cultures.
  5. Compare core values of different organizations.
  6. Determine how different human resource management systems and business practices are aligned and deployed in people process organization cultures.
  7. Outline some interpersonal skill sets needed to facilitate communication in a high-performing people-centered organization culture.
  8. Determine why organization culture effects critical thinking and the attitudes towards diversity.
  9. Examine different methods of researching business cultures.
  10. Explain how sociological, applied psychological and organization development subject matter enhances the ability to understand and analyze organization cultures.
  11. Assess an organization’s people centered culture.
  12. Construct a personal philosophy that is congruent or incongruent with a people process organization culture. (Graduate Objective)

Content Outline:

  1. Definition of culture
  2. Elements that create culture
  3. Examples of the impact of culture on individual and group behavior
  4. Strong negative, strong positive and weak cultures
  5. How culture is communicated
  6. Relationship of business strategy and the business culture
  7. Definition and examples of a people process organization cultures
  8. The major components of a people process organization culture
  9. Social evidence of the value of people process organization cultures
  10. Economic evidence of the value and the economic impact
  11. Comparing core values and beliefs of different organizations
  12. Aligning reward systems with the desired culture
  13. Examples of facilities, artifacts, events and symbols
  14. Organization communications in a people process organization culture
  15. Interpersonal skills and values in a People Process Culture Organization
  16. Organization culture’s impact on critical thinking and diversity
  17. Reasons why many organizations do not build people process organization cultures
  18. Quantitative and qualitative methods of researching culture
  19. Marketing, finance, operation tactics and strategies in people process organizations
  20. Practitioners views of working in people process organizations and non people process organizations
  21. Personal values and their impact on leadership and organization culture


  1. Discussion of key objectives and people process culture research findings 25%
  2. Written test 25%
  3. Think piece papers that review key learnings of data and ideas learned from instructors, executives and site visitations 25%
  4. Paper 25%

People Process Culture Handbook written especially for this course by Nora Carr

Special Considerations:
Professors from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Human Development and Technology, Engineering and Management will teach the course. CEOs, presidents and other management executives will be guest instructors each semester. Students may be requested to participate in field trips to high performing people centered organizations. Event schedules may change during the class to accommodate executives and organizations that are working with us to present this course.

Reason for adding the course:

In a 1998 study of 2,143 executives in 23 nations, organization culture was cited most frequently as the primary barrier preventing corporations from achieving business goals. John Kotter and James Hesket, authors of Corporate Culture and Performance stated that “By our calculations, the vast majority of firms currently do not have cultures that are sufficiently adaptive to produce excellent long-term economic performance in an increasingly competitive and challenging business environment.” Suffice it to say that the evidence is clear and compelling; the culture of the business is a competitive advantage. Culture helps us to make sense of things and establishes an environment that produces patterns of human interaction. Those organizations with truly integrated People Process Culture practices, tactics and strategies have a superior environment that supports superb patterns of human interaction.

According to Jeffery Pfeffer of Stanford University, high performing people centered organizations are outperforming their counterparts by 30-40%. However, less than 10% of today’s organizations have been able to create such cultures. Currently, there is no course in our university that focuses totally on organization culture and in particular high performing people centered organization cultures. This course will allow our students to better understand the strategies, tactics, values and components of a high-performing People Process Culture. Students who successfully complete this course should be better able to work in, help build and lead high-performing people-centered organizations that respect all people and provide outstanding benefits to themselves, others and society.

Since an organization’s culture includes people, management, technology, artifacts, rituals and values, a course about high-performing People Process Organization Cultures should broadly integrate and draw on a wide range of expertise. Therefore, another purpose for this course is to provide an arena for our three colleges to work together and integrate course related subject matter expertise to provide our students with a unique learning experience about high-performing people-centered cultures.

In the past two semesters this course has been offered as a workshop. Over 50 students from five different programs participated in this course. The feedback from these students has been excellent. The course has had a definite impact on some of the students. “The course really helped me better understand myself. My current job has not been in a People Process Culture. I was beginning to think that my belief in respecting people and people working together was unrealistic and unattainable. This course renewed my belief and confidence in these values. I now feel like I can do something positive in a negative culture.”

Impact on Existing Courses:

This course is designed to be a seminar course that will help graduate students and some undergraduate students complete their requirements. There should be little or no impact on existing course offerings.

Overlap with Existing Courses:

Since the breadth of subject matter that is required to teach about culture is broad, there is slight overlap with courses such as Sociology of Work, Employee Involvement, Advanced Industrial Psychology and Organizational Development. The Organizational Development course discusses a variety of ways to develop organizations that may effect culture while the People Process Organization Culture course will specifically focus on organization culture and even more specifically, on learning about High Performing People Centered Cultures.

Housing of the Course:

In order to facilitate cooperation between colleges and to ensure that SCHs are credited to the appropriate college, this course will be housed in one department in each college. The Industrial Management Department will house the course in the College of Management. The Social Science Department will house the course in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Psychology Department will house the course in the College of Human Development. Each college will use the same course number, 415615, predicated by the department’s code letters.


a. Personnel

The endowed People Process Culture Chair will facilitate, help teach and manage the course. The chair will use his or her budget to finance the course instruction. Professors who help teach the course will be paid with overload contracts from the endowed chair’s budget.

b. References

Branch, Shirley (1999) “The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” Fortune, January 11th, 1999.

Beck, Bill (1993) “The People Process, a Manufacturing Story.” Phillips Plastics Corporation, Phillips, Wisconsin.

Carr. Nora (1998) “People Process Culture Handbook for Students.” limited publication for U.W.-Stout Graduate Students: People Process Culture Chair, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin

Collins and Porras (1994) “Built to Last.” Harper Business publications, Harper Collins Publishing, Inc., 10 east 53rd Street, New York, New York.

Dallas Community College, “Its Strictly Business: Promoting Social Responsibility.” Video, R. Jan LeCroy center for Educational Television, Dallas, Texas.

Deal, T.E. (1996) “Corporate Cultures.” Glidwell, J.C. Editor, American Society of Training and Development, Alexandria, VA.

DeGeus, A. (1997) . “The Living Company.” Boston, Massachusetts: Long View Publishing.

Fishman, C. (1997, April-May) . Change. Fast Company.

Levering, R. (1988) . “A Great Place to Work.” New York: Avon Books.

Levine, David (1995) “Reinventing the Work Place: How Business and Employees Can Both Win.” Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institute.

Pfeffer, Jeffery (1998) “The Human Equation.” Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts.

Kotter, J.P. and Heskett, J.L. (1993) “Corporate Culture and Performance.” New York, New York.

Krueger, Charles T. “Causal Variables of High Performing People Centered Organizations,” unpublished paper.

LifeUSA. Video Story of a People Centered Work Culture: Life USA, Edina, Minnesota.

McVaney, C. E. (1997) . J.D. Edwards Culture Document. J.D. Edwards Company, Boulder Colorado.

O'Connor, M. & Blanchard, K. (1997) “Managing By Values.” San Francisco CA: Berret-Koehler.

Paine, L. S. (1984, March-April) . “Managing for Organizational Integrity.” Harvard Business Review, 106-117.

Spector, R. (1995) . “The Nordstrom Way.” New York: Wiley.

Sullivan G. R. & Harper, M. V., (1996) . “Hope Is Not a Method.” New York: Random House Inc.

Wetlaufer, Suzy. (1990. “Organizing for Empowerment: An Interview with AES’s Roger Sant and Dennis Bakke.” Harvard Business Review, January-February, 1999.

Krueger, C. T. (1993) . The flight of the facilitator. Menomonie, WI: Krueger Publishing.