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2020/2021  KAN-CCMVV1652U  Strategic Change Management

English Title
Strategic Change Management

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter, Third Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 100
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Jacob Steffen Bentholm - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
  • Michael Pedersen - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organisation
  • Project and change management
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 05-10-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Identify, analyze and synthesize concrete problems, issues and rationalities within strategic change management by applying the concepts, theories, methods, and models from the course.
  • Reflect upon the various change management perspectives, which are discussed as well as critically reflect upon the consequences of choosing one perspective as a dominant perspective (The critical meta-view).
  • Link strategic, planning based, and interpersonal aspects of managing organizational change
Course prerequisites
It is a prerequisite for this course that the student has knowledge of organizational theory at bachelor level. Students who have completed the elective "Strategisk forandringsledelse" cannot take this course.
Strategic Change Management:
Exam ECTS 7,5
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 Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-4
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
Definition of number of pages:
Groups of
2 students 10 pages max.
3 students 15 pages max
(4 students 20 pages max)

Note that the exam is a group exam. If you are not able to find a group yourself, you have to address the course coordinator.

Students who wish to have an individual exam might be able to write a term paper in the course. Please see the cand.merc. rules for term papers for more information.
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Spring and Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Re-take exam is to be based on the same report as the ordinary 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.

* if a whole group fails the oral exam they must hand in a revised product for the re-take.

* if one student in the group fails the oral exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have the oral exam on the basis of the same product or if he/she has to hand in a revised product for the re- take.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

In this course, we will explore different strategy and leadership rationalities in how to work strategically with managing organizational change and its many models and perspectives. We will emphasize and discuss organizational factors, paradoxes and issues to be included or to be aware of regarding the use of e.g. generic change management approaches.


The methodological approach of the course is based on theory discussions, group work and cases of change. Starting with a generic instrumental and planned approach, we will learn what it can bring of added value to organizational change. We will supplement this by exploring what cannot be captured in this view by bringing in perspectives from e.g. resource theory, organizational development, social science and complexity theory to give a more nuanced picture of change management and its important challenges. Furthermore, we will raise the change management approach from a planning approach to a strategic discipline.

The course contains a high degree of theoretical reflections as well as practice relevance through the use of cases, process simulations and discussions. The course is intensive and requires real commitment and willingness from the students to enter into exploring and discussing different rationalities and real life cases in the light of the literature - and to accept that 2 changes often do not look or act alike.

The course’s development of personal competences:
The course focuses on strategic competencies in analyzing change initiatives, its paradoxes and different perspectives. However, it also provides inter-personal competencies through its collaborative form and focus as well as individual development.

Description of the teaching methods
Lectures & Group Work
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback happens mainly via student presentations, student to student group work and in-class discussions.

A voluntary feedback and Q&A session is normally arranged after class in the end of the quarter.
Student workload
Preparation 72 hours
Teachings 30 hours
Exam 104 hours
Expected literature
  • Main Book: "Managing Organizational Change - A Multiple Perspective Approach" 2017, Palmer, Dunford & Buchanan, 3.edition.

  • Batilana et.al. (2013) “The Network Secrets of Great Change Agents” July–August 2013 Harvard Business review. Suggested reading.

  • Burnes, Bernard. (2004a) “Kurt Lewin and the planned approach to change: a re-appraisal.” Journal of Management Studies. Vol. 41, No. 6: 972-1002. (30 pages)
  • Chia, Robert. (1999) “A ‘Rhizomic’ Model of Organizational Change and Transformation: Perspective from a Metaphysics of Change.” British Journal of Management. Vol. 10: 209- 227. (20 pages)
  • Conger, Jay A. (2000) “Effective Change Begins at the Top.” In Beer & Nohria, Breaking the Code of Change. Harvard Business School Press. (20 pages)
  • Ford et al (2008) "Resistance - the rest of the story" Academy of Management Review. Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 2008) pp. 362-377.
  • Ford & Ford (2009) ”Decoding Resistance to Change” April 2009 | Harvard Business Review - Suggested Reading

  • Gino, F & Staats, B (2015) "Why Organizations Don't Learn"  Harvard Business Review November 2015 (Suggested)
  • Hart, Stuart L. 1992. "An Integrative Framework for Strategy-Making Processes." Academy of Management Review 17: 327-351 (24 pages)
  • Huy, Quy Nguyen. 2011. "How Middle Managers' Group-Focus Emotions and Social Identities Influence Strategy Implementation." Strategic Management Journal 32 (13): 1387-1410 (23 pages).
  • Huy, Quy Nguyen & Henry Mintzberg (2003). “The Rhythm of Change.” MIT Sloan Management Review. Vol. 44, no. 4: 79-84. (5 pages)
  • Huy, Quy Nguyen. (2001) “Time, Temporal Capability, and Planned Change.” Academy of Management Review. Vol. 26, No. 4: 601-623. (20 pages)
  • Kotter, John (2012) "The Big idea Accelerate!" November 2012 Harvard Business Review

  • Kotter , John (1995 / 2007) "Leading Change - Why Transformations Efforts Fail" March-April 1995 HBR

  • Nahapiet, Janine and Sumantra Ghoshal. (1998) “Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and the Organizational Advantage.” Academy of Management Review. Vol. 23, No. 2: 242-266. (25 pages)
  • Ouchi, T., & Wilkins, A. (1985) “Organizational Culture.” Annual Review of Sociology. Vol. 11: 457-483. (30 pages) (suggested reading)
  • Palmer, I. & Dunford, R. (2008) ”Organizational Change and the Importance of Embedded Assumptions” British Journal of Management, Vol. 19, S20–S32

  • Schein, E. (2003) “Five traps for consulting psychologists. Or, how I learned to take culture seriously”. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 55(2): 75-83. Suggested reading

  • Shaw, Patricia. (1997) “Intervening in the Shadow Systems of Organizations – Consulting from a Complexity Perspective.” Journal of Organizational Change Management. Vol. 10, No. 2: 235-250. (15 pages)
  • Stacey, Ralph. (2003a) “Organizations as Complex Responsive Processes of Relating.” Journal of Innovative Management. Vol. 8, No. 2, Winter 2002/2003. (20 pages)
  • Stacey, R.D (2007): Strategic Management and Organizational Dynamics: The Challenge of Complexity (to Ways of Thinking About Organisations). Chapter 10: Responsive processes thinking, Financial Times/ Prentice Hall, s. 242-267.
  • Steven H. Appelbaum, Sally Habashy, Jean-Luc Malo, Hisham Shafiq, (2012),"Back to the future: revisiting Kotter's 1996 change model", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 31 Iss: 8 pp. 764 – 782 Suggested reading
  • Weick, Karl E. (2000) ”Emergent change as a Universal in Organizations.” In Beer & Nohria, Breaking the Code of Change. Harvard Business School Press. (20 pages)
  • Weick, K.E. Quinn, R.E. (1999). Organizational change and development. Annual Review of Psychology, Vol 50, Issue 1, pp. 361-386.
  • Woodman, R.W, (2014) "The Science of Organizational Change and the Art of Changing Organizations" The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 2014, Vol. 50(4) 463– 477


Last updated on 05-10-2020