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Soc 151: Formal Organizations Fall 2022
Course Paper
In this paper, your assignment will be to apply the paradigms of organizations as rational systems, natural systems, and open systems to one of the following television shows: “The Office”
“Abbott Elementary”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
I am assuming that many of you have seen some of, if not all of, these shows, and that you can figure out ways to watch them without spending any money. If you cannot find a way to do this, or if you have a very strong reason for preferring to write about a different show, you will need to get permission from your TA to do so.
The goal of this paper to take what you have learned from this class and apply that knowledge to a realm of your life where we normally don’t think about such things. Note, that while a solid discussion of the show itself is important, it is less important than your accurate and detailed application of course material.
The Paper Components:
For each of the three ways of looking at organizations: as open systems, natural systems, and rational systems, you will do the following:
1. Define the system.
a. What does it mean to say that an organization is a rational system, or an open
system, or a natural system?
b. In this section you will need to explain the paradigm as if you were teaching it to
one of your friends who is not in this class. Explanations should…
i. …be straight forward and clearly organized
ii. …discuss at least three of the class readings and how they contribute to understanding organizations as rational systems, or open systems, or …natural systems.
iii. …include in-text citations: (Authors last name(s) and page number, including any material taken from lecture. Lecture citations should use the following format (Rotondi, DATE, LECTURE TITLE)
2. Choose scenes from these shows and explain how they exemplify the corresponding system.
a. You must choose three different scenes. They can be chosen from one show, two shows or one from each of the three shows. It is up to you.
b. Explanations should…
i. …focus solely on a scene and not a whole episode, or season, or show.
ii. …be descriptive enough for the reader to be able to understand the scene without having seen it
iii. …directly connect the events in the scene with the content from the course.
iv. …involve applying the three readings (as well as relevant concepts and theorists) to the scene.
In the end, your TA will ask themselves the following: “did the student describe the scene in a way that I understand it; and more importantly, did the student show me that they understand the different systems in a comprehensive and detailed way.”
Students will sometimes use quantity when the paper asks for quality, do not do this. For instance, do not simply list a large number of terms and names of theorists without explaining how they apply in a thoughtful way.
How you structure the paper is up to you, but I strongly suggest that you share your ideas about the paper with your TA and even ask for guidance on structure, since they will be grading it.
Paper requirements
• The paper is worth 25% of your total course grade
• The paper will be double spaced, type-written, using 12-point Times New Roman font with 1 inch margins.
• The paper will be 7-15 pages in length.
• The paper is due at some point before 11:59pm on Sunday, November 20th.
• Paper must be submitted as a WORD (.doc) document. The submission link is in the Week 8 Module.
• Late papers will be docked 20% for each late day (every 24 hours) starting at 12:01 on November 21st.
• Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If we find that your paper is not SOLELY your own work, you will receive 0% on the paper, a fail for the class grade, and referred to the Student Judiciary Committee.
• Both in text citations and Works cited page are requires. American Sociological Association format required. Works Cited Page does not count as part of page total.
RUBRIC
THE SHOWS
Did student use some or all of the shows required?
If not, did they obtain approval to use a different show?
Were the three scenes from these shows described with enough detail that you understood the scene without having seen it?
Possible Pts
1
9
THE RATIONAL SYSTEM
Did the student explain the system in a clear way for a naïve reader? 12 Did the student use at least three different readings or theorists/scholars? 3 Was the use of the three readings/scholars comprehensive enough to support the explanation of the system?
APPLICATION
Was the link between the television scene and the rational system appropriate, accurate, and with enough application of course material to make sense?
Was the link between the television scene and the natural system appropriate, accurate, and with enough application of course material to make sense?
Was the link between the television scene and the open system appropriate, accurate, and with enough application of course material to make sense?
12
15 15 15
OTHER STUFF
Were Citations ASA formatted? 2 Was the paper easy to read and organized well? 4 Grammar issues? 2
100

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