Course Descriptions

Course Catalog for FORMAL ORGANIZATIONS
FORG 180
College
An interdisciplinary analysis of selective liberal-arts colleges and kindred universities. Topics include rankings, admissions, diversity, athletics, social life, governance, and payoff. The course has a seminar format. The seminar serves as an introductory case study in formal organizations.
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 201
Formal Organizations and Market Behavior
This course will consider the likely behavior within Formal Organizations using the benchmark of economic thinking and market mechanisms. The course will discuss the role of prices, property, and profit and loss in a market economy, and it will ponder to what extent such arrangements might be applied within firms. It will discuss potential problems of organization when concerns for opportunity cost, economic calculation, or entrepreneurial thinking are lacking. Students will read classic and modern economic texts and then read business case studies to explore when and where the lessons of economics might apply.
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 210
Internship with Weekly Seminar
A standard half credit Internship to be determined by the faculty sponsor/instructor and student. This will be combined with a weekly, half credit seminar with theme to be determined by sponsor/instructor. Students need to submit a completed internship contract form to Career Development. Students will not be enrolled until the contract has been approved.
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 220
Prototypes and Models of Formal Organizations
An exploration of the origins and growth of the basic types of formal organizations. Particular attention is given to the historical appearance of patterns of human action and the creation of organizations to maximize their effectiveness, the development of property rights and their adaptation to changing conditions, and practices and procedures devised to deal with limited information and uncertainty. There will be numerous case studies of the creation and performance of formal organizations such as financial markets and rules for land usage. This course is central to the Formal Organizations minor and strongly recommended for those anticipating completing the minor.
1.00 units, Lecture
FORG 225
Players, Organizations, and Markets
An introduction to the social science of sports. We will focus on motivations and behaviors in sports organizations and markets. We will compare and contrast college, professional, individual, team, and international sports. Specific topics are stakeholders (agents, athletes, fans, clubs, leagues, media, owners, and sponsors), governance (rules and informal honor codes), and dysfunctions (bias, corruption, discrimination, and doping). An overarching topic is: What are sports for? We will review answers from economics, sociology, and psychology, and develop our own. The course has a seminar format. Students will lead classes with presentations about assigned materials and debates about policy issues; for example, pay-for-play for college athletes, performance-enhancing drugs, and Title IX. There will be guest visits by experts from the field.
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 272
Mafia
In contemporary societies there is an intimate contest between two kinds of social order: The rule of law and criminal organization. A remarkable instance may be found in the workings and metamorphoses of the Mafia. From its origins in Sicily, an agrarian society on the periphery of Europe, the Mafia has acquired intercontinental dimensions and a grip on high politics and finance capital. This shadowy phenomenon has been approached and explained in very different ways by historians, anthropologists, sociologists, economists, and political scientists. It has also been the subject of literature and film. We shall discuss outstanding examples of each approach and treatment. The purposes of the course are to make sense of the Mafia, to explore a basic problem of social order and to compare the different styles of reasoning and representation that characterize the various disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Course requirements: seminar reports, several short papers, and full attendance and participation. (Listed as both LACS 272 and ITAL 272.)
1.00 units, Lecture
FORG 291
Entrepreneurship and Markets
The course evaluates the role and nature of entrepreneurship and the market process, and contemporary public policy issues concerning business culture and the entrepreneur in modern society. A variety of theories of market competition and the significance of the entrepreneur are developed and contrasted in terms of innovation, uncertainty, market coordination, and economic growth and development. Market and political entrepreneurship are contrasted, and the topics of social corporate responsibility, insider trading, the environment, and the global economy are discussed in detail. Historical and institutional examples are drawn upon throughout the course.
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 302
Seminar in Entrepreneurship
An examination of the scholarship of creating value in the economy. There will discussions of the primary literature and case studies which include non-profits and governments as well as private enterprises. There will also be visits by several successful entrepreneurs. Each student will participate in creating a business plan that combines elements of the theory with a proposal for innovation. The seminar is intended to be helpful to a student of any major which is anticipating creative projects after graduation. Limited to juniors or seniors. There are no prerequisites as to courses but almost all students will have basic economics. Discuss this with the instructor if you are uncertain of your preparation. This seminar fulfills the track for an emphasis in entrepreneurship which is an option in the Formal Organizations Minor. Each student should bring a suggested entrepreneurial project.
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 309
Matching
An introduction to qualitative analysis of matching in society. Matches are pairings, exchanges, and allocations where a person must choose a match, and also be chosen. Matching is a crucial part of life. We will examine the roles of formal organizations, markets, social norms, and signaling behaviors in matching. We will study a wide array of examples: assortative mating (dating and marriage), jobs, college admissions, adoption, visas, kidney exchanges, medical residencies, judicial clerkships, college bowl games, dormitory room allocation, and software matching (Uber, Airbnb).
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 310
Theory and Philosophy of Markets
Why are some nations rich and some nations poor? Why are some brimming with entrepreneurship and economic activity and others are not? To what extent or when should markets be considered immoral or moral? Building off of the economic ideas of the first famous economist, Adam Smith, this course will discuss the potential importance, or pitfalls, of institutions, private property rights, and contracts for economic innovation.The course will focus on the formal and informal organizations that underpin and help support exchange. Students will also focus on writing a case study of a formal or informal organization designed to advance economic activity. The course will be reading-intensive and discussion-based.
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 315
Prohibitions
This seminar tackles two questions: Why do we outlaw some consensual behaviors by adults? And should we? Our common work will focus on prohibitions against lifestyles, markets,international migration, and making and taking life. Topics in contested lifestyles are recreational drug use and free marriage.Topics in contested markets are sex, adoption, organs for transplantation, secrecy (blackmail), and wagering on political predictions. Topics in contested ways of making and taking life are genetic engineering, abortion, and assisted suicide. Students will conduct policy debates about various prohibitions. We will devote several weeks towards the end of the semester to individual (or small-group) research projects by students. The research projects may be about topics we have covered or about other prohibitions.
1.00 units, Seminar
FORG 399
Formal Organizations Independent Study
Obtain regisration form fromt the Registrar's Office.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study