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2021/2022  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 18-06-2021

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. 15 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Duration 72 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
The re-exam will be in the same format as the main exam, i.e., a case-based assignment but it will consist of a different problem and different questions from those given for the main exam.
Description of the exam procedure

The exam will be a 72 hour take home case-based assignment. Students will be expected to apply their understanding of theoretical models and research in the area of organizational change and development in the analyses of a business case and development of solutions to the problems therein. They will also be expected to critically examine relevant models, theories and practices relevant to the problem at hand as illustrated in the business case. The case for the exam will be one of the cases from the course syllabus.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

To remain relevant, effective and achieve higher standards of development, 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 uncertainty, opposites, 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 and dealing with rapid 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 and its readiness for change.
  • 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 activities. The participant-driven learning design of the course requires a significant amount of preparation for every class.

Learning through Assigned Groups: 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 can 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.

Pre-recorded video lectures on theory: The theory of the course will be presented in short video lectures that will be available to students before each session. These lectures will serve as a supplement to the readings - expanding and unfolding the theory of the course. In this way, students can come well-prepared to engage in application of the theory in analysis of cases in the classroom. Students will also be able to refer back to the lectures on theory anytime they wish throughout the course allowing for a better integration of various theoretical perspectives over the duration of the course.
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. All students will have access to this feedback, so that they can learn from it and use it in writing their exam assignment.
Student workload
Classroom time 33 hours
Exam time 72 hours
Class Preparation Time 101 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


Harvard Change Management Simulation

Indicative List of Articles:

  • Argyris, C. (1998). Empowerment: The Emperor's New Clothes. Harvard
    Business Review, Vol. 76 Issue 3, pp. 98-105.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Barends, E., Janssen, B., ten Have, W., & ten Have, S. (2014). Effects of Change Interventions: What Kind of Evidence Do We Really Have? Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 50(1), 5–27.
  • Beer, M. & Nohria, N. (2000). Cracking the Code of Change. Harvard Business Review, Vol. 78 Issue 3, pp. 133-141.
  • Beer, M. and Spector, B. (1993), Organizational Diagnosis: Its Role in
    Organizational Learning. Journal of Counseling & Development, 71: 642–650.
  • Beer, M., Finnström, M., & Schrader, D. (2016). Why leadership training fails—And what to do about it. Harvard Business Review, 94, 50–57.
  • Boan, D.M. (2006). Cognitive-Behavior Modification and Organizational
    Culture. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice & Research, Vol. 58 Issue 1,
  • 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.
  • Burnes, B. (2015). Understanding Resistance to Change – Building on Coch and French. Journal of Change Management, 15(2), 92–116.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Drzensky, F., Egold, N., & van Dick, R. (2012). Ready for a Change? A Longitudinal Study of Antecedents, Consequences and Contingencies of Readiness for Change. Journal of Change Management, 12(1), 95–111.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Elijah X. M. Wee, Taylor, M. S., & Wee, E. X. M. (2018). Attention to change: A multilevel theory on the process of emergent continuous organizational change. Journal of Applied Psychology, 103(1), 1–13.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • French, R. B., & Simpson, P. (2010). The ‘work group’: Redressing the balance in Bion’s Experiences in groups. Human Relations, 63(12), 1859-1878.
  • Furst, S. A., & Cable, D. M. (2008). Employee resistance to organizational change: Managerial influence tactics and leader-member exchange. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(2), 453–462.
  • Ghoshal, S. & Gratton, L. (2002). Integrating the Enterprise. MIT Sloan
    Management Review. Vol. 44 Issue 1, pp. 31-38.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Henderson, J. & McAdam, R. (1998): A more subjective approach to business
    improvement and organizational change evaluation. Total Quality
    Management, 9:4-5, 116-120.
  • Huy, Q.N. & Mintzberg, H. (2003). The Rhythm of Change. MIT Sloan
    Management Review, 44(4): 79-84.
  • Kegan, R. & Lahey, L.L. (2001). The Real Reason People Won't Change.
    Harvard Business Review, Vol. 79 Issue 10, pp. 85-92.
  • 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.
  • Kotter, J.P. (2007). Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard
    Business Review, Vol. 85, Issue 1, pp. 96-103.
  • Kotter, J. P. (2014). Capturing the Opportunities and Avoiding the Threats of Rapid Change. Leader to Leader, 2014(74), 32–37.
  • Kotter, J.P., Schlesinger, L.A. (2008). Choosing Strategies for Change. Harvard
    Business Review, Vol. 86 Issue 7/8, pp. 130-139.
  • Putnam, L. L., Fairhurst, G. T., & Banghart, S. (2016). Contradictions, dialectics, and paradoxes in organizations: A constitutive approach. The Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 65–171.
  • Rivkin, J.W. & Siggelkow, N. (2003). Balancing Search and Stability:
    Interdependencies among Elements of Organizational Design. Management
    Science. Vol. 49 Issue 3, p290-311.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sadeh, L. J., & Zilber, T. B. (2019). Bringing “Together”: Emotions and Power in Organizational Responses to Institutional Complexity. Academy of Management Journal, 62(5), 1413–1443.
  • 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
  • Schad, J., Lewis, M. W., Raisch, S., & Smith, W. K. (2016). Paradox research in management science: Looking back to move forward. The Academy of Management Annals, 10(1), 5–64.
  • Schein, E. (2003). On Dialogue, Culture, and Organizational Learning.
    Reflections. Vol. 4 Issue 4, p27-38.
  • Schein, E.H. (1990). Organizational culture. American Psychologist, Vol 45(2),
    pp. 109-119.
  • Schweiger, S., Stouten, H., & Bleijenbergh, I. L. (2018). A System Dynamics Model of Resistance to Organizational Change: The Role of Participatory Strategies. Systems Research & Behavioral Science, 35(6), 658–674.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Waeger, D., & Weber, K. (2019). Institutional Complexity and Organizational Change: An Open Polity Perspective. Academy of Management Review, 44(2), 336–359.
  • Weick, K.E. Quinn, R.E. (1999). Organizational change and development.
    Annual Review of Psychology, Vol 50, Issue 1, pp. 361-386.
  • Weick, K.E., Sutcliffe, K.M. & Obstfeld, D. (2005). Organizing and the Process
    of Sensemaking. Organization Science, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 409–421.
  • Winiecki, D. J. (2010). Rational, natural, and open: Organizational system typologies and their relevance for performance improvement professionals. Performance Improvement, 49(5), 35–41. 
  • Woodman, R. W. (2014). The Science of Organizational Change and the Art of Changing Organizations. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 50(4), 463–477.
  • Vos, J. F. J., & Rupert, J. (2018). Change agent’s contribution to recipients’ resistance to change: A two-sided story. European Management Journal, 36(4), 453–462.
Last updated on 18-06-2021