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2020/2021  KAN-CCMVV1680U  Managing Organizational Change and Development

English Title
Managing Organizational Change and Development

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Lise Justesen - Department of Organization (IOA)
  • Syed Salman Ahmad - Department of Organization (IOA)
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organisation
  • Business psychology
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 25-08-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
After completion of this course, students should be able to:
  • Demonstrate an ability to see and analyse a real-life business situation through the lens of the different perspectives covered in the course.
  • Demonstrate in particular an ability to appreciate complexity and to work with uncertainty and the power of paradox in the organizational change and development process.
  • Identify the need for change in an organization and assess change readiness as well as identify important contextual factors to be considered in designing change interventions.
  • Develop strategy for creating readiness for change and for dealing with resistance to change and for the evaluation and institutionalisation of change interventions.
Managing Organizational Change and Development:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration 48 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

To remain relevant, effective and achieve ever higher standards of development and effectiveness, organizations must adapt to increasingly complex and uncertain technological, economic, political and cultural changes. In addition, organizations need to have the ability to continuously monitor their own internal functioning and identify changes required to enhance this functioning. However, organizational change is a complex process that depends on numerous factors and research reveals that as many as 70% of change initiatives are not successful with the failure rate going up to 90% in the case of Mergers and Acquisitions This course explores the behavioural side of change and how changes in organizational structure, culture, systems and processes can facilitate organizational effectiveness. Change often involves resistance and this resistance is mainly psychological.  Therefore, it is imperative for managers to understand the behavioural dynamics of change and the important situational and motivational factors that need to be considered in any organizational change intervention, so that they may effectively implement and manage a change process. An important theme throughout the course would be managing complexity and harnessing the power of paradox and opposing forces in organising to create flexible, robust, and socially sustainable organisations.


The course will include the following topics:

  • Closed systems thinking, open systems thinking, planned change and its critique
  • Organizations as rational and natural systems - chaordic systems thinking
  • Managing opposing forces, paradoxes and complexity in the change process
  • Diagnosing organizations and change readiness
  • Assessing contextual factors in organizational change
  • Psychological safety, human motivation and change
  • Designing and implementing interventions
  • Managing readiness for change and resistance to change
  • Evaluating and institutionalising interventions
  • Change in organizational structure, culture, human process and strategy
  • Designing organizations for continuous change


The course’s development of personal competences:


The course is designed to equip participants with the basic knowledge and skills required for working in the area of organizational change and development. In this course, participants will:

  • Learn to apply knowledge of behavioural sciences in the change process.
  • Understand the process of diagnosing an organization, readiness for change and need assessment.
  • Gain insight into important contextual factors to be considered when designing a change process.
  • Practice designing and implementing organizational interventions in simulated contexts.
Description of the teaching methods
Participant Driven Learning: The course is designed by need to be interactive and hands-on as participants will need to internalize the knowledge, skills and competencies required to lead and manage change in their future managerial roles. The course will involve an online change management simulation where students will practice implementing and managing change in a simulated context. The course will also involve analyses of actual case studies of organizational change and development as well as other interactive and experiential activities. The participant-driven learning design of the course requires a significant amount of preparation for every class.

Learning through Assigned Groups: Since to be successful, any change process in an organization would necessarily involve other people, the class will be divided into study groups that will work together on simulations and case analyses. In addition to the learning from each other by working together on case studies, problems and simulations, group work will also give participants an opportunity to analyse their own experiences of working as a mini-organization applying the learning from the course as they move along. The study group will be seen as an organization established to achieve the task of furthering learning on the course. The course facilitator will be available as a consultant to all groups to reflect on issues that may emerge in working together and in achieving the group objective of learning.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will be working in study groups for the duration of the course. Each group will submit two assignments on the cases being covered in the course. These assignments consisting of a class presentation and a written submission will serve as a preparation for the case-based final exam. Students will receive oral feedback in class on the presentation and a written feedback on the written submission.
Student workload
Classroom time 33 hours
Exam time 48 hours
Class Preparation Time 101 hours
Assignments 24 hours
Expected literature


Articles, Cases & Simulation: A number of articles will be assigned for pre-class preparation and in-class discussion. Students will also need to purchase some case studies and an online simulation from Harvard Business School Publishing. A special link with discounted prices will be made available to students to make this purchase towards the beginning of the course.


Indicative List of Cases and Simulation:

Honda Motorcycles and Scooters

Prudential Financial

Whitbread PLC

Children's Hospital and Clinics

Duval County Public Schools

Acer Inc

Shinsei Bank

Motivated Reasoning and Leadership

Goldman Sachs


Change Management Simulation

Indicative List of Articles:


  • Kira, M. & van Eijnatten, F.M. (2008). Socially sustainable work organizations:
    a chaordic systems approach. Systems Research & Behavioral Science, Vol. 25
    (6), pp. 743-756.
  • Weick, K.E., Sutcliffe, K.M. & Obstfeld, D. (2005). Organizing and the Process
    of Sensemaking. Organization Science, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 409–421.
  • Kotter, J.P. (2007). Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard
    Business Review, Vol. 85, Issue 1, pp. 96-103.
  • Carr, A.N. & Lapp, C.A. (2009). Organization Theory and Organization
    Behavior: Through the Lens of Psychodynamics. International Journal of
    Organization Theory and Behaviour, Vol. 12 (3), pp. 381-405.
  • Beer, M. & Nohria, N. (2000). Cracking the Code of Change. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 78 Issue 3, pp. 133-141.
  • Smith, W.K. & Lewis, M.W. (2011). Toward a Theory of Paradox: A Dynamic
    Equilibrium Model of Organizing. Academy of Management Review, Vol. 36
    (2), pp. 381–403.
  • Atella, M. D. (1999). Case studies in the development of organizational
    hardiness: From theory to practice. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice
    and Research, Vol 51(2), 125-134.
  • Clancy, A., Vince, R. & Gabriel, Y. (2012). That Unwanted Feeling: A
    Psychodynamic Study of Disappointment in Organizations. British Journal of
    Management, Vol. 23, pp. 518–531.
  • Frazier, M. & Fainshmidt, Stav & Klinger, Ryan & Pezeshkan, Amir & Vracheva, Veselina. (2016). Psychological Safety: A Meta-Analytic Review And Extension. Personnel Psychology. 10.1111/peps.12183.
  • Beer, M. and Spector, B. (1993), Organizational Diagnosis: Its Role in
    Organizational Learning. Journal of Counseling & Development, 71: 642–650.
  • Edmondson, A.C. (1996). Three Faces of Eden: The Persistence of Competing
    Theories and Multiple Diagnoses in Organizational Intervention Research.
    Human Relations, Vol. 49 No. 5, pp. 571-595.
  • Gregory, B.T., Armenakis, A. A., Moates, K.N., Albritton, M.D., Harris, S.G.
    (2007). Achieving scientific rigor in organizational diagnosis: An application of
    the diagnostic funnel. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research,
    Vol 59(2), 79-90.
  • Armenakis, A.A. & Harris, S.G. (2009): Reflections: Our Journey in
    Organizational Change Research and Practice. Journal of Change
    Management, Vol. 9 (2), pp. 127-142.
  • Kotter, J.P., Schlesinger, L.A. (2008). Choosing Strategies for Change. Harvard
    Business Review, Vol. 86 Issue 7/8, pp. 130-139.
  • Tucker, A. L. and Edmondson, A. C. (2003). Why hospitals don't learn from
    failures: Organizational and psychological dynamics that inhibit system
    change. California Management Review, 45 (2), pp. 1-18.
  • Argyris, C. (1998). Empowerment: The Emperor's New Clothes. Harvard
    Business Review, Vol. 76 Issue 3, pp. 98-105.
  • Henderson, J. & McAdam, R. (1998): A more subjective approach to business
    improvement and organizational change evaluation. Total Quality
    Management, 9:4-5, 116-120.
  • Schein, E. (2003). On Dialogue, Culture, and Organizational Learning.
    Reflections. Vol. 4 Issue 4, p27-38.
  • Senge, P.M. & Sterman, J.D. (1992). Systems thinking and organizational learning: Acting locally and thinking globally in the organization of the future.
    European Journal of Operational Research, 59, pp. 137-150.
  • Ghoshal, S. & Gratton, L. (2002). Integrating the Enterprise. MIT Sloan
    Management Review. Vol. 44 Issue 1, pp. 31-38.
  • Engdahl, R.A. (2005). Organization Evolution: The Natural Change Model for
    Organizational Structure in Changing Times. Organization Development
    Journal, Vol 23(2), pp. 50-61.
  • Csaszar, F.A. (2012). Organizational structure as a determinant of
    performance: Evidence from mutual funds. Strategic Management Journal.
    Volume 33, Issue 6, pages 611–632.
  • Schein, E.H. (1990). Organizational culture. American Psychologist, Vol 45(2),
    pp. 109-119.
  • Boan, D.M. (2006). Cognitive-Behavior Modification and Organizational
    Culture. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research, Vol. 58 Issue 1,
  • Franken, A., Edwards, C. & Lambert, R. (2009). Executing Strategic Change:
    Understanding the Critical Management Elements that Lead to Success.
    California Management Review, Vol. 51 Issue 3, pp. 49-73.
  • Gilley, J.W., Morris, M.L., Waite, A.M., Coates, T. & Veliquette, A. (2010).
    Integrated Theoretical Model for Building Effective Teams. Advances in
    Developing Human Resources, Vol. 12 (1), pp. 7-28.
  • Kegan, R. & Lahey, L.L. (2001). The Real Reason People Won't Change.
    Harvard Business Review, Vol. 79 Issue 10, pp. 85-92.
  • French, R. B., & Simpson, P. (2010). The ‘work group’: Redressing the balance in Bion’s Experiences in groups. Human Relations, 63(12), 1859-1878.
  • Ryan, R.M. & Deci, E.L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.
  • Ruvolo, C.M., Petersen, S.A. & LeBoeuf, J.N.G. (2004). Leaders Are Made, Not Born: The Critical Role of a Developmental Framework to Facilitate an Organizational Culture of Development. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, Vol. 56 (1), pp. 10–19.
  • Salicru, S. (2019). A new model of leadership-as-practice development for consulting psychologists. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research. Advance online publication. http:/​/​dx.doi.org/​10.1037/​cpb0000142
  • Beer, M., Finnström, M., & Schrader, D. (2016). Why leadership training fails—And what to do about it. Harvard Business Review, 94, 50–57.
  • Brown, S.L. & Eisenhardt, K.M. (2001). The art of continuous change in M.P.E.
    Cunha & K. Kamoche (Ed) Organizational Improvisation. Taylor & Francis, UK.
  • Huy, Q.N. & Mintzberg, H. (2003). The Rhythm of Change. MIT Sloan
    Management Review, 44(4): 79-84.
  • Weick, K.E. Quinn, R.E. (1999). Organizational change and development.
    Annual Review of Psychology, Vol 50, Issue 1, pp. 361-386.
  • Rivkin, J.W. & Siggelkow, N. (2003). Balancing Search and Stability:
    Interdependencies among Elements of Organizational Design. Management
    Science. Vol. 49 Issue 3, p290-311.
  • Eisenhardt, K. M., & Brown, S. L. (1998). Competing on the edge: Strategy as structured chaos. Long Range Planning: International Journal Of Strategic Management, 31(5), 786-789.
Last updated on 25-08-2020