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2023/2024  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 70
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Jacob Steffen Bentholm - Department of Business Humanities and Law (BHL)
  • Michael Pedersen - Department of Business Humanities and Law (BHL)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organisation
  • Project and change management
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 15-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Identify, analyze and synthesize concrete problems, issues and rationalities within strategic change management by adapting and applying critically the concepts, theories, methods, and models from the course.
  • Reflect upon the various perspectives of managing change in the use as well as critically reflect upon the contextual consequences of the chosen dominant perspective.
  • Link strategic thinking, planned 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.
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, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
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
Release of assignment Subject chosen by students themselves, see guidelines if any
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 Autumn and Spring
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.
Description of the exam procedure

The oral group exam will take point of departure in the written product and a short student driven presentation containing possible talking points, critical reflections and new insights.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

In this course, we will critically explore different perspectives of how to work strategically with managing the complexity of organizational change and its many possible models and aspects. Furthermore, we will dive into the countless challenges and paradoxes that change agents and organizations face when trying to change strategies, organizations and behavior alike. 


The methodological approach of the course is based on theory discussions, group work and cases of organizational change. Starting out by understanding the original planned and experimental approach to change, followed by its main successor the generic instrumental approach, we will learn how they each can benefit to organizational change. We will supplement this by exploring what cannot be captured in these main views by bringing in multiple perspectives from e.g. resource theory, organizational development, sense-making, power and complexity theory to give a more nuanced picture of change management, its important challenges – and possible workarounds. Furthermore, we will raise the change management approach from a pure planning and project oriented approach to a strategic discipline.


The course contains a high degree of theoretical reflections as well as relevance for practice using cases, real life stories, process simulations, visits from practitioners and discussions. The course is intensive and requires commitment and willingness from the students to enter into exploring and discussing different angels to organizational problems and cases in the light of the literature - and to accept that two changes often do not look or act alike.

The course’s development of personal competences:
The course focuses on both widening a concrete toolbox and supporting strategic competencies in analyzing change initiatives, its paradoxes and different perspectives. This to develop a reflective and context sensitive change practitioner. However, it also provides inter-personal competencies through its collaborative form and focus as well as individual development.


Description of the teaching methods
Lectures, Games, Discussions, Student Presentations & Group Work
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback happens mainly via student presentations, cases, 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

Both mandatory and suggested readings are listed below

  • Main Book for overview: "Managing Organizational Change - A Multiple Perspective Approach" 2021, Palmer, Dunford & Buchanan 4.edition.

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

  • 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)
  • Burnes, Bernard (2020) “The Origins of Lewin’s Three-Step Model of Change”.  The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 2020, Vol. 56(1) 32–59
  • 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 
  • 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). (suggested reading)
  • 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) (Suggested reading)
  • 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. (10 pages)
  • Palmer, I. & Dunford, R. (2008) ”Organizational Change and the Importance of Embedded Assumptions” British Journal of Management, Vol. 19, S20–S32 (suggested reading)

  • Scarlett, Hilary (2019) Neuroscience for Organizational Change, Second edition, Kogan Page Limited (extracts).

  • 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. 

  • 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)
  • Snowden, David J.; Boone, Mary E. (2007) "Cynefin" “A Leader's Framework for Decision Making” Harvard Business Review. Nov2007, Vol. 85 Issue 11, p68-76. 9p.
  • Snowden, David (2001) “Narrative patterns - the perils and possibilities of using story in organisations” Knowledge Management, Ark Group
  • 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.(suggested reading)
  • 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 (2007) “Drop your Tools: On Reconfiguring Management Education” Journal of management education, 2007-02, Vol.31 (1)
  • Weick, K.E. Quinn, R.E. (1999). Organizational change and development. Annual Review of Psychology, Vol 50, Issue 1, pp. 361-386. (suggested reading)
  • 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 (suggested reading)


Last updated on 15-02-2023