INLS 285



School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Spring Semester 2014


Instructor:        Mohammad H. Jarrahi, Ph.D.

Class Meeting Times:  Tuesday & Thursday  12:30 to 1:45 pm

Office:              200 Manning Hall

Class Meeting Place:   208 Manning Hall

Office Phone:   919-962-8364

Office Hours:     Tuesday 2:00 to 3:15 pm or      

By Appointment



Prerequisite:  INLS 200


Textbook:       Organizational Behavior (Hitt, Colella, and Miller, 2011, 3rd Edition - ISBN: 0470528532)




The purpose of this course is to introduce you to some of the organizational and management issues that shape the role of information and knowledge in organizational contexts. It focuses on basic concepts in the way that information, people, and technology interact to influence organizational effectiveness.


INLS 285:




The course will comprise an overlapping cycle of reflection and action.  The actions will include exercises, case studies, and lots of readings.  The reflection will include class discussion, integrative essays, and group projects.  Students are expected to have read assigned readings prior to each class.


We will focus on some of the topics presented in a textbook that was adopted for the course. The book is available at UNC Student Stores.  You may be able to buy it for less, new or used, at online book stores.  In addition, a number of supplementary readings will be uploaded to the class Sakai site, so please download Adobe Reader if you have not already done so.


We will form and begin working in groups almost immediately.  With some variations, we will maintain these groups throughout most of the semester.  Your activities and behavior within these groups will illustrate many of the principles of organizational behavior that anchor the course.


You should regularly check the Sakai site for the course schedule and assigned readings for each class. Please Note: Course schedule may change.  The Sakai version will always represent the official and up-to-date syllabus.






Information in organizational contexts

The nature of knowledge

Knowledge management

Knowledge sharing and seeking in organizations

Guest lecture (knowledge management)




Personality and intelligence

Groups and teams in organizations

Organizational diversity

Organizational structure and design

Organizational culture

Work processes and practices

Organizational communication

Organizational decision making

Informal networks and communities of practice


IT uses and organizations  - Work system method

IT & strategy

Emerging IT: Social media

Guest lecture (Emerging IT)




In order to encourage participation in class activities, I have included an evaluation component for participation and involvement in class-time work.  With reference to learning goals, the evaluation will include a set of group projects as well as individual integrative essays.  Working on a system of 100 points total, different components will carry the following weights:


3 Integrative essays

30 points

Final exam

15 points

Group projects and presentations

30 points

Attendance / Participation / In-class Activities

25 points


100 points


Integrative essays: These are individual assignments, where you will be required to synthesize material from the textbook or other sources. Assignments will be described in detail in the assignment section of Sakai. These may involve analysis of a case or a movie based on organizational concepts that we are discussing.  These should be typed, double-spaced (Times New Roman 12 point font).


Final examination: This will be a take-home exam that comprehensively assesses different aspects of the course. The final exam is similar to the integrative essays in that it will require insights from your experiences during the semester and optimal application of organizational concepts. It therefore reduces the dependence on memorization.  You will be given enough time at the end of the semester to complete this assignment and it is due in the final examination period.


Group work: These include a few group projects that mostly result in PowerPoint presentations. You will work in groups to prepare presentations for the class. There will be no social loafing.  In the end, you will get an opportunity to evaluate your fellow group members, and likewise be evaluated by them.


Attendance and Participation: The structure of this course is meant to engage and stimulate you.  Your attendance and participation are therefore strongly encouraged, and will be rewarded.   This includes attending classes, contributing to class discussions and activities, and working within your group.  Your contribution will be judged not only on quantity, but quality and consistency as well. 


You are required to attend all but two of the classes; in other words, you can miss two classes without penalty.  Two points will be deducted for missing a third class and four points will be deducted for missing a fourth class, fifth class, etc. 




The numeric total that you have amassed during the semester will translate into a letter grade according to the following scheme:




What it means


95 >

Mastery of course content at the highest level of attainment that can reasonably be expected



A totally acceptable performance demonstrating an adequate level of attainment



A marginal performance in the required exercises demonstrating a minimal passing level


< 60

For whatever reasons, an unacceptable performance


There may be an extra credit component which is based on your group performance in class.




Because of the participatory nature of this course, you can only benefit if you are present and engaged.  Many of the activities involve group work, and group members will depend on your presence and contribution.  Therefore regular attendance and adequate preparation before class are essential to your individual success, and to that of the class as a whole. 


Any late assignment will incur a penalty of 25% of the grade for each day late.  If you have a recurring issue which causes you to repeatedly miss assignments, you will need to provide the relevant documentation from a medical practitioner, counselor, etc.  If you are experiencing a personal problem, disability, or lifestyle issue that will interfere with your attendance and performance throughout the semester, I encourage you to contact me as soon as possible.


As a common courtesy to us all, cell phones and other electronic devices should be on “silent” mode.  You should bring your laptops but they should only be used for class purposes (i.e., not for checking email, surfing the web, or working on other class assignments, etc.).  Please note that points may be deducted from your participation grade for disruptive behavior such as texting, and inappropriate use of laptops, etc.




Sakai will play a central role in this course. The readings, handouts, this syllabus, and all other electronic information about the course (including your grades) will appear on Sakai.  In addition, the assignments and essays should be submitted to Sakai.




The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has had a student-administered honor system and judicial system for over 100 years. Because academic honesty and the development and nurturing of trust and trustworthiness are important to all of us as individuals, and are encouraged and promoted by the honor system, this is a most significant University tradition. More information is available at


The system is the responsibility of students and is regulated and governed by them, but faculty share the responsibility and readily commit to its ideals. If you have questions about you responsibility under the honor code, please bring them to me or consult with the Office of the Dean of Students. The web site identified above contains all policies and procedures pertaining to the student honor system. We encourage your full participation and observance of this important aspect.




If you feel you may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, please contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Also, please contact UNC Disability Services at (919) 962-8300 or at the Student and Academic Services Buildings, located in Suite 2126, 450 Ridge Road, to formally coordinate accommodations and services.


In support of the University’s diversity goals and the mission of the School of Information and Library Science, SILS embraces diversity as an ethical and societal value. We broadly define diversity to include race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, religion, social class, age, sexual orientation and physical and learning ability. As an academic community committed to preparing our graduates to be leaders in an increasingly multicultural and global society we strive to:


The statement represents a commitment of resources to the development and maintenance of an academic environment that is open, representative, reflective and committed to the concepts of equity and fairness.