Organizations and society

Organizations are the fabric of social life. Whether we work in a company as managers, take part in a political movement, are members of an association, or just play football, we are parts of organizations. Organizations are vital actors in economic, cultural, and political spheres. They have a significant impact on people's lives and they influence the development of societies.

Managing (in) organizations

The management of organizations is facing rapid and fundamental changes. Globalization, the knowledge society, privatization and deregulation, the impact of technologies and innovation, and new forms of labour are but some of the keywords that characterize these challenges. Working with these challenges in responsible way is key to a wealthy future – both in economic and social terms.

Responsible decisions

The master program Organization Studies qualifies students to take over responsibility in complex organizational settings. It is based on the Innsbruck School of Management’s research focus “Organization Studies” and close co-operations with partners from leading international academic institutions, as well as companies and other organizations.

The program aims at developing experts who feel at ease in complex organizational and interorganizational environments. Elements of reflexive learning offer students the opportunity to further enhance their personal, communicative and social skills. After completing the program students shall be able to design and develop processes of organizing and to act competently and skilfully, thus facilitating organizations to cope with new challenges that stem from an ageing society, a changing workforce, increasingly complex technologies and production structures and multiple demands from internal and external stakeholders. Graduates shall be “experts in complexity”.


The program is taught in English. All applicants are expected to have an advanced level of English proficiency.
Registration for the master program requires English language test level B2. The following documents or certificates are accepted:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - TOEFL iBT Test: minimum of 72 Scores (not older than two years)
  • British Council: International English Testing System (IELTS) - IELTS: minimum of 5.5 Scores (not older than two years)
  • Cambridge Assessment English - B2: First (= First Certificate in English (FCE) (not older than two years)
  • Pearson Test of English - PTE Academic: minimum of 59 Scores (not older than two years)
  • Documents from an educational institution on the successful completion of a bachelor's degree
  • Positive English grading on the annual certificate preceding the school leaving certificate or on the school leaving certificate issued by a school within the EU, the EEA or Switzerland
  • Language Center of the University of Innsbruck - successfully completed course English Advanced Level III (B2)
Applicants from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, or USA

Applicants who are native speakers from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, UK or USA, are exempt from the requirement of submitting the results of an English test


Für weitere Informationen besuchen Sie bitte die Seite der Studienabteilung: Sprachnachweise


After successful completion of the program the degree "Master of Science" (MSc) is awarded.



Two years – nine modules – one master thesis

The program is offered in a way to allow completion within two years.

The program 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.

Three types of knowledge

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

Core program – Compulsory Modules

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

First semester

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.

Second semester

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

  • HRM & Organization ↓

    Students shall acquire knowledge on practices and processes of human resource management (HRM) in organizations and the various forms of organizing, designing and developing personnel and HR work in contemporary organizations. Students develop the competence to analyze HR practices based on various perspectives from the social sciences.

  • 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.

  • One elective Module


The following options are offered:

  • Ethics in Organizations ↓

    Students shall be able to identify and evaluate ethical practices in organizations. They shall know the difference between morality and ethics and will be able to identify the possibilities and limitations of responsible decisions in organizations.

    Non-Profit, Culture and 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 which means of governance, management and control can be utilised to manage non-profit organizations and organizations in the field of culture.

  • Gender, Work and Organization ↓

    Students shall be able to understand and use different theories in the context of gender and organisation. They can identify and analyse problems deriving from gendered organisations.

  • Open Organizations & Organizing Openness ↓

    Students shall be able to identify and evaluate different phenomena of organizational openness. They shall be able to clarify the relation of “openness” to related theoretical concepts and understand how “organizing openness” is embedded in philosophical understandings of “open society” more broadly.

Third semester

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.

  • One elective module


Students can choose one of the following options:

  • Managing Employment Relations: Current issues ↓

    Students shall acquire advanced knowledge in studying current issues in managing the employment relation.

  • Corporate Communication and Governance ↓

    Students shall know the role of stakeholder management for the development of organizations and they shall acquire knowledge about different forms of governance in organizations. Concepts of governance and governmentality are discussed with regard to economic, social and political implications.

  • 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
    • 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.

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.


The winter-term runs from October 1st to January 31sr , summer-term from March 1st to June 30th. The introductory module, which is a precondition for all other modules, is only offered in the winter-term. This means, the start of the program is only possible in winter-term. 

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