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2013/2014  KAN-SOL_OS24  Managing organizational change

English Title
Managing organizational change

Course information

Language English
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Spring, Third Quarter
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Tor Hernes - Department of Organization (IOA)
Course secretary: Mette Ellekrog (mbe.ioa@cbs.dk)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organization
Last updated on 13-05-2014
Learning objectives
At the exam the student should be able to:
  • Account for and discuss the strength and weaknesses of selected theories of change and innovation, and their foundations
  • Explain how the dynamics of processes of innovation and change relate to power, learning to argue why certain theories apply to certain actions
  • Describe complex real-life management challenges related to change and innovation and explain how relevant actions support the implementation of innovation and change
  • Reflect on the consequences of applying different research methods related to the study of innovation and change
Managing organizational change:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 5 students in the group
The oral exam is individual and based on the group project.
Ordinary exam takes place in March/April.
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
For a single student max. 10 pages
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Spring Term and April
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If a student is ill during the oral exam, he/she will be able to re-use the project at the make-up exam. If the student was ill during the writing of the project and did not contribute to the project, the make-up/re-exam project can be written individually or in groups (provided the other students are taking the make-up/re-exam). If the student did not pass the regular exam, the examiner decides whether a new or revised project, must be handed in to a new deadline specified by the line secretariat. Reexam takes place in May.
Course content and structure

The aim of this course is to develop students’ competencies to analyze real-life management challenges of implementing organizational change and innovation processes. Focus is on micro-level processes and how relations are managed to achieve and sustain change and innovation in organizations. Organizational change is seen as taking place in different forms and levels in the organisation, including, for example, setting up or re-structuring organizational units, introducing new technologies or moving into new markets. Similarly, innovation may take different forms, including new products, technologies, services or ways of organizing. Students will analyse specific processes of change or innovation and prepare plans or strategies of how change could be implemented in an organizational setting when considering the various political, technological, cultural and individual factors at play. Their analyses will be rooted in the theoretical literature of the course and the methodologies will be based stories and narratives as tools for analyzing and sustaining the processes they study.
Rather than take a hierarchical view of management it works from management as a relational phenomenon emerging from social practice through processes whereby certain actors are ascribed the right to redefine reality. Whereas management is often associated with the concept of hierarchy ascribing management to a number of people or groups to whom it is left to define reality, the course explores how organizational change and innovation processes emerge from collective redefinitions of a shared reality. The course helps students develop understanding of how political, cultural, technological and individual factors combine in processes of innovation and change and in particular how change and innovation are triggered and maintained through micro level processes.
The course analyzes managerial strategy making as a staged activity from different perspectives and looks at how managers emerge as ‘strategic actors’ in processes of change and innovation. Additionally the development of ‘self-management’ is analyzed and focuses directed toward what is happening to organizing when work becomes temporary and distributed, thereby rendering managerial and organizational boundaries too ambiguous.
The course draws upon notions such as socio-technical translation, learning, power, sense-making, staging and narratives as theoretical concepts. The main methodological concept used is narratives and stories. In the methods part the course introduces students to core elements of qualitative analysis: research objectives, research design, data collection, data analysis and reporting. The course covers a variety of techniques and helps students make choices about which techniques to use in different situations. Students are guided through the process of conducting qualitative research step by step and get to experiment with application in class.
The course is designed to combine lectures, dialogue, student presentations, games, supervision of mini-projects based on empirical data as well as workshops where the projects are discussed. In the early phase of the course the students will be invited to choose subject and the empirical field of the mini-project. Mini-projects will be conducted by groups of 4-5 students.
Overlapping with Leadership
The course has a natural complementarity with the other courses on the SOL programme, by being a more practical extension of the other courses while connecting to similar theories. Whereas the main aims of the other courses are to provide analytical tools for analysing organizations, this course follows the tools in action. The methodology of the course will also enable more interactive group work than what is the case with most of the other courses. In some respects it has a natural overlap with the course “Leadership”, but emphasizes less the actual leadership and leader dimension.

Teaching methods
Narrative methods, interviews and engaged scholarship.
Expected literature

Andrew H. Van de Ven & D.E. Polley-& Raghu Garud & Sankaran Venkataraman (2008): “The innovation Journey”, Oxford University Press,
B. Csarniawska-Joerges (2008): “Narratives in Social Sciences Research”, Sage
Thomas W Lee (1998): “Using Qualitative Methods in Organizational Research, Sage 

Supplementary literature will be announced

Last updated on 13-05-2014