Managing People and Organizations:
Three Days Focused on Organization

Perspectives and concepts that provide a deeper understanding of organizational occurrences and inform managerial choices, decisions and actions were the topics of a three-day residency session of the Executive MBA Class of 2018. Executive MBA participant Magnus Wendt, Tetra Pak, and EFL instructor Nadja Sörgärde discuss the content, presentation and lessons of the organization module.

EFL’s Nadja Sörgärde

After almost one year in the EFL Executive MBA program, the class of 2018 is finishing up the Business Fundamentals part of the program. These ten basic courses cover subjects including leadership, business intelligence, management control and international marketing. The class just recently did the first of two organization modules.
“The main purpose of the modules is to deepen the participants’ understanding of organizational life and its implications on managerial work,” says EFL’s Nadja Sörgärde, who holds the course. “In particular it is the human aspect of work organization that is in focus. The modules draw on disciplines such as sociology, social psychology and anthropology.”

The main idea is that participants should take home in-depth knowledge of the area and get the chance to discuss challenges that they and other participants are currently facing. The value of working on actual cases is something Executive MBA class of 2018 participant Magnus Wendt finds especially rewarding. Magnus is otherwise Manager Project Management Office, Europe & Central Asia, at Tetra Pak.

Magnus Wendt, Manager Project Management Office, Europe & Central Asia, at Tetra Pak.

“The module is well planned and  organized. It is an interesting module that applies aspects of what we learned earlier in the program about managing and organizing companies but with a focus on people in the organization. As a manager and leader, I use several of the methods, concepts and theories that Nadja Sörgärde presented in my day-to-day work. Yet by grouping, categorizing, reflecting on and discussing the topic with program participants, I gained greater and more thorough knowledge of managing people and organizations. The real-life cases that participants had prepared provided an excellent basis for learning. We analyzed and discussed in small groups, shared our knowledge and experience, jointly proposed actions to take for improvement and drew conclusions.”

Just what do participants take home from the course? Magnus highlighted the valuable process of taking a step back and considering all possible perspectives to see more possibilities and identify possible risks.

“One thing I will take home from the course is the value of stopping and taking the extra time needed to analyze the situation from several possible perspectives when making strategically important decisions for the organization,” says Magnus. “The time allowed for a decision is often limited. As managers in these situations, we tend to invest our time in finding evidence that supports and promotes the decisions we believe are best for the organization and put considerably less time toward other options, which is natural. The importance of being aware of this, and challenging oneself to consider all possible perspectives as a way to see more possibilities and identify possible risks on multiple levels is something I believe will make the actual implementation of the decision go more smoothly and increase the probability of prioritizing correctly in the long term. Yet again, this confirms the idea that “management is not a science, but an art” that requires ongoing improvement and adaptation depending on the setting and situation.

Executive MBA – Class of 2018

One part of the module covered storytelling – and how it can be used as a management tool. Magnus believes he will use it more when working a change through the organization.
“This module gave me a greater understanding of how organizations are structured and how they interact with people, which helps me be more efficient as a manager. Storytelling is a tool I can use in major efforts to change company culture and behavior. I plan to use it to communicate the change projects I am currently working on.”


Executive MBA

An Executive MBA at EFL in partnership with the Lund University School of Economics and Management is an intensive part-time programme that takes place over 18 months. The program gives a powerful competence boost focusing on strategic management, business development and innovation – and will assist you in better understanding, explaining and taking command of the challenges you and your company faces. It is an opportunity to attain deeper knowledge of financial analysis and business financing for qualified decision-making, as well as an opportunity for personal development within the areas of business analysis and strategic leadership. A program with an immediate impact on you and your company! More information

The Course in Brief

Efforts to pursue leadership, change management, strategic implementation and management control do not always work out as intended. A common reason for the lack of correspondence between plan and outcome is a limited understanding of organizational practice – the focus of the two modules in Organization. In these modules, we dig into the social, political and cultural processes of organizational life. The perspectives and concepts introduced support a deeper understanding of organizational occurrences in order to inform managerial choices, decisions and actions.

Magnus’s Advice to Those Considering the Executive MBA Program

“Think through what you want to get out of the program and what is important to you. Compare your requirements with the information on the website or from EFL. If you need to know more, ask someone who has recently taken the program.

“Reach an agreement with your family and friends. Plan and set aside time for the program. Be disciplined.

“If you want to develop as a manager and reinforce your network of managers in other fields and industries, the Executive MBA Program will provide you with excellent opportunities for this, but it’s up to you to get what you want out of the program.”