Program Details

Structure of the Program

Basic Structure

Studierende in der Sowi

The program is offered in a way to allow completion within two years. It consists of 9 modules and a Master thesis, combined with a colloquium. The total number of student contact hours is 540. The overall sum of ECTS points for the modules and the Master thesis is 120. The curriculum is characterized by the dissemination of different kinds of knowledge. Three types of knowledge form the basic structure of the curriculum.

  • Conceptual knowledge
    Focusing on subject matter competencies
  • Methodical and instrumental knowledge
    Focusing on work-relevant and skills-oriented competencies and on methodological competencies
  • Reflective knowledge
    Focusing on personal, social and self-competencies

Course details

Core program - Compulsory Modules

The core elements of the program are the seven compulsory modules.

The first semester encompasses three of such modules:

Approaches to Organization Studies
Students shall acquire basic knowledge the basic issues and approaches to organization studies. They shall be able to distinguish different approaches and paradigms of organization studies and to describe the interrelation between historical contingencies and specific discourses within organization studies.

Organizational Design
Students shall acquire basic knowledge on structural and processual aspects of organizational design. They shall know the means by which organizations are designed, managed and controlled. They shall be able to develop context-specific proposals for the design of organizations of different type and nature.

Communication and Conflict
Students shall acquire basic knowledge on the origins and unfolding of conflicts. They shall acquire skills in managing conflicts and shall be able to communicate competently and reflexively in different and particularly intercultural contexts.

The second semester contains two compulsory modules (plus one additional elective module – description see below, section “Electives”):

Consulting Theory
Students shall acquire knowledge on the conditions and effects of interventions into organizations. They shall be able to analyse situations in which consulting processes can be supportive for organizational development. They shall be able to distinguish different consulting approaches and learn for which organizational issues and in which settings they are suitable. They shall be able to identify the isomorphisms between (external) consulting and (internal) management and development.

Organizational Dynamics & Change
Students shall be able to identify different origins of organizational dynamics. They shall understand how dynamics force organization to adapt and / or change and how these processes can be actively designed. Students shall be able to reflect upon the part the ‘self’ plays in learning processes and learn how personal mastery contributes to organizational learning and change.

The third semester contains two compulsory modules (plus one additional elective module – description see below, section “Electives”):

Organizational Analysis: Research Methods
Students get familiar to central issues of the philosophy of (social) science. They are able to recognize the significance of methodological frameworks for research projects, to choose suitable methods for defined research questions and to apply these methods for inquiries into organizational phenomena.

Organizational Knowledge and Management Development
Students shall understand the significance of knowledge for organizations. They shall be able to identify the ways in which knowledge of different types is developed, shared, and transferred in organizations.  Students can competently reflect the impact and role of management development for organizations.


Two modules are electives, one of which has to be completed in the second semester, the other one in the third semester. Students can choose one of the following options:

Ethics in Organizations
Students shall be able to identify ethical issues in organizations and to evaluate organizational practices with reference to modern and postmodern concepts of ethics. Students develop the competence to evaluate and discuss the conditions of responsible decisions in organizations.

Art, Culture & Expert Organizations 
Students shall know the specifics of knowledge-intensive organizations. They shall be familiar with different types of expert organizations in the private and public sector. They shall know how concepts of governance, management and control can be applied in managing organizations in the fields of culture and art.

Gender, Work and Organization
Students shall be able to understand and use different theories in the context of gender and organization. They can identify and analyse problems deriving from gendered organizations.
Students can choose one of the following options:

HRM and Organization
Students develop the competence for analyzing the implications of HRM approaches and practices for organizations and workforce based on alternative theoretical perspectives. Students will be familiar with contemporary approaches HRM to diagnose problems in managing employees and develop strategies for addressing them.

Corporate Communication and Governance
Students will acquire knowledge for analysing, conceptualising and managing stakeholder relations in organizations. Analytical competences for evaluating and discussing economic, political and ethical aspects of managing stakeholder-relations in the contemporary context of shifting governance structures in organizations are developed.

Consulting: Processes and Cases
Students shall acquire advanced knowledge on the design of consulting processes. By analysing concrete consulting cases they shall identify success factors of, and pitfalls for, interventions in organizations. By this, students shall be able to design responsive forms of interventions into organizations.

Electives from other Master programs
Students are also allowed to choose in the third semester a module from other MSc programs offered by the Innsbruck University School of Management as an elective, for example:

  • Creativity, Innovation and Change (from MSc Strategic Management)
  • Strategic Management of Non-Profit-Organizations (from MSc Strategic Management)
  • The Social and Organizational Context of Accounting (from MSc Accounting, Auditing and Taxation)
  • Financial Analysis (from MSc Finance)

Master Thesis

The Master Thesis, to be completed in the fourth semester, is a chance to students to apply the acquired knowledge to concrete questions of organization studies. Co-operation with companies and other organizations will provide the basis for results relevant for organizational practice. The topic of the Master thesis must be meaningfully related to the content of a compulsory or elective module completed by the student and should combine empirical questions and conceptual considerations. To complete the study program, students must present their thesis to a committee and defend their ideas and research. This discussion provides also the basis for reflecting on the knowledge, competence and experience gained during the whole program. The colloquium is therefore an opportunity for a problem-focused “talk among a group of experts”.
Application and Requirements


The program starts on October 1 once a year.

The Fall semester runs from October 1 to January 31. The Spring semester starts on March 1 and ends on June 30.



Program Faculty

Innsbruck University Members of the academic staff across different schools form the main body of the faculty, ensuring a broad expertise in all fields of organization studies:

Current faculty

Prof. Dr. Manfred Auer
Prof. Dr. Julia Brandl
Ass.-Prof. Dr. Michael Habersam
Prof. Leonhard Dobusch
Prof. Dr. Annette Ostendorf
Prof. Dr. Martin Piber
Prof. Dr. Richard Weiskopf
Ass.-Prof. Dr. Heike Welte

Former professors in the program

Prof. Dr. Tobias Scheytt (Hamburg)
Prof. Iain Munro, Phd (Newcastle)

International visiting professors

Excellent international researchers regularly act as visiting and guest professors and will enrich the faculty. Among others, the following colleagues have held positions as visiting professors in the last years:

Prof. Dr. Chris Carter, University of St. Andrews, UK
Prof. Dr. Stewart Clegg, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Prof. Dr. Peter Conrad, Helmut Schmidt University - University of the Armed Forces, Hamburg, Germany
Prof. Dr. Silvia Gherardi, University of Trento, Italy
Prof. Dr. Gertraude Krell, Free University Berlin, Germany
Prof. Dr. Martin Kornberger, University of Technology, Sydney
Prof. Dr. Günther Ortmann, Helmut Schmidt University - University of the Armed Forces, Hamburg, Germany
Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Panozzo, University of Venice, Italy
Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (MA), USA
Prof. Dr. Georg Schreyögg, Free University Berlin, Germany
Prof. Dr. Chris Staeyaert, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Prof. Dr. Jörg Sydow, Free University Berlin, Germany
Prof. Dr. Barbara Townley, University of Aberdeen, UK
Prof. Dr. Hugh Willmott, Cardiff University, UK
Prof. Dr. Fiona Wilson, University of Glasgow, UK


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