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2018/2019  KAN-CSOLO1801U  Organizing Change

English Title
Organizing Change

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Autumn, First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Tor Hernes - Department of Organization (IOA)
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organization
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 21-06-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Discuss how identity provides a foundation for strategy and how it influences opportunities for organizations to achieve competitive advantage
  • Discuss how strategic processes may influence the construction of a new organizational identity and the organizational commitment to identity
  • Relate theories on strategy and identity to each other, and apply them in order to analyze issues of relevance to strategy, identity and organizational processes
  • Explain the dynamics of different processes of change and how they relate to continuity
  • Critically reflect on implications of the theories of organizing change for strategy and identity
  • Account for how theories in both courses can be used to understand the dynamics of organizational change and continuity and implications for managing and working in organizations
  • Explain the roles of narrative, action and commitment to organizing change, strategy and organizational identity
  • Explain how analytical and philosophical foundations connect to theories and methodologies for studying organizational change.
Course prerequisites
Organizing Change must be taken together with the course Strategy and Identity as they have a common exam
Strategy and Identity in Conjunction with Organizing Change:
Exam ECTS 15
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 Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 4-5
Size of written product Max. 15 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
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If a student does not pass the regular exam, the examiner of the ordinary exam decides whether a new, revised or the same project must be handed in by the submission date for the re-exam.

If a student is absent from the oral exam due to documented illness but has handed in the written group product she/he does not have to submit a new product for the re-take. However the group product must be uploaded once again on Digital Exam.

If a whole group fails the oral exam, they must hand in a revised product for the re-exam.
Description of the exam procedure

In the oral exam, the written report is used as basis for the discussion. The examination will cover both the report itself and the theory applied. 

Course content and structure

Change is a key word in business and management, and enables discussion of, for example, topics such as radical versus incremental change, disruption and the use of history (continuity) in processes of change. The overall aim of the course is to introduce the students to the dynamics of change in organizations. It illustrates how change is both a process of initiating and planning overall change and it is the gradual, day-to-day activities of changing. The course introduces the notion of organizational continuity to explain different types of change. Continuity is embedded in history, tradition, habit, routines, etc, and is here treated as a dynamic component of change, rather than its counterpart. The course takes a micro-level perspective of change, which means that it teaches how change is initiated, sustained and managed in inter-actions – sense-making processes among actors in the organization. Change will only take hold if it rooted in inter-actions and commitment to the actual narrative of change. Therefore, the course views organizing as the process of applying various means to create commitment among people towards organizational change narrative. Narrative is closely linked to strategy and identity, which are taught in the parallel Strategy and Identity Course. The course also explains how various types of framing of change processes influence the outcome of change.

Overlap with Strategy and Identity
This course overlaps with Strategy and Identity (SI) in several ways.  Both courses focus on theories and conceptual frameworks that elaborate the processes underpinning strategy, identity and organizing hereby stressing the active role of organizational actors. While SI focuses on how actors set the direction for the trajectory of the organization, OC focuses on the various mechanisms in maintaining and transforming organizations. Taken together the two courses will explain how strategies and identities are open to change and how organizing processes serve to hold them together. Finally, both courses will draw upon abductive methods as the foundation for the joint shared student projects.

Description of the teaching methods
Dialogue-based lectures and case discussions. A workshop will be held with Strategy and Identity and another joint session will feature practitioners from different types of organizations. And session where the students are introduced to process consultation to act as consultants to each others' group projects.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feed-back will be given to the group presentations in the class and during office hours.
Student workload
Teaching 33 hours
Preparation/reading/group work 123 hours
Exam 50 hours
Expected literature


Barry, Davis and Barry Elmes (1997) Strategy retold: Toward a narrative view of strategic discourse. Academy of Management Review 22(2):429-452.

Boje, David. M. (1991) The storytelling organization: A study of story performance in an office-supply firm. Administrative Science Quarterly 36(1):106–126.

Hernes, Tor, Edda Hendrup and Birgitte Schäffner (2015) Sensing the momentum. A process view of change in a multinational corporation. Journal of Change Management 15(2):117–141

Orlikowski, W. J. (1996). Improvising organizational transformation over time: A situated change perspective. Information Systems Research, 7, 63-92.

Tsoukas, H., & Chia, R. (2002). On organizational becoming: rethinking organizational change. Organization Science, 13(5), 567-582.

Weick, K. E., & Quinn, R. (1999). Organizational change and development. Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 361-386.

Last updated on 21-06-2018