GRA 2425 Change Management

Responsible for the course
Jon Erland Lervik, Arne Carlsen

Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who would profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience of it. Thus it arises that on every opportunity for attacking the reformer, his opponents do so with the zeal of partisans, the others only defend him halfheartedly, so that between them he runs great danger.”
From The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli

The course aims to equip students to better manage organizational change by learning of underlying theories and perspectives as well as gaining skills and attitudes. Through the course, students shall be able to critically assess recipes, templates and models of change that are circulated by consultants and management theorists. The students will also be exposed to a series of cases that are controversial and ambiguous, thus well suited to develop judgment from. The course draws on literature from social psychology, organizational sociology, culture studies, action research as well as applied management studies of organization design, organization development and change management.

Learning outcome
The student should learn to work in and manage change processes, and be able to:

  1. Critically assess and use theories, methods and recipes for managing change
  2. Develop and implement systematic plans of action that carefully sets out and sequences the various stages of deliberate change processes.
  3. Recognize emergent and unintended change processes so as to be able to strengthen, modify, scale up or otherwise reap the benefits of them.
  4. Understand ethical issues, dynamics of power and the intrinsic motivation that can drive or stifle change
  5. Live with change processes that can take on different characters at different times..

GRA 2205 Organizational Behaviour or eq.

Compulsory reading

Collection of articles:
The course syllabus is based on a mix of academic and practitioner articles made available through itslearning

During the course there may be hand-outs and other material on additional topics relevant for the course and the examination

Recommended reading
Beer, Michael, Nitin Nohria, eds. 2000. Breaking the code of change. Harvard Business School
Burke, W. Warner. 2013. Organization change : theory and practice. 4th ed. Sage

Course outline
Foundations & roots: Why change management?
Barriers to change
Participative change
Emergent change
Psychology of change
Cultural change
Networks of change
Power in change
Positive change
Dynamics of large scale change

Computer-based tools
Itslearning, PowerPoint

Learning process and workload
The course will be a combination of lectures, case discussions, student presentations, simulations and other interactive learning elements.

This is a course that emphasizes action learning and students´ active involvement. Class participation is mandatory, and active involvement in class discussions is required for students to fully benefit from the course. Minimum expectations are that assigned cases, articles and book chapters are read thoroughly prior to each lecture, so that students are well prepared for small group discussions or theoretically informed case analyses.

A central learning element of the course is the term paper project which will be conducted in small groups of maximum 3 students. The term paper (70% of grade) should empirically analyze an event of major organizational change event/process in a public, private or non-profit organization.

It is the students' responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included on the course homepage/It's learning or text book.

The course grade will be based on the following activities and weights:
30% - Classwork (participation, presentations, contributions to class discussions)
70% - Term paper - Individually or in groups of up to three students on the termpaper
To get a final grade in the course, students need to complete and achieve a passing grade in all parts of the evaluation.

In this course class attendence is mandatory. Absences can result in a lower score. Specific information regarding student evaluation beyond the information given in the course description will be provided in class. This information may be relevant for requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several elements of the overall evaluation.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam elements) and one final exam code. Each exam element will be graded using points on a scale (e.g. 0-100). The elements will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades on the course site in It’s learning.

Examination code(s)
GRA 24251 continuous assessment accounts for 100% of the final grade in the course GRA 2425.

Examination support materials
Examination support materials at written examiniations are explained under examination information in the student portal @bi. Please note use of calculator and dictionary in the section on support materials.

Re-sit examination
It is only possible to retake an examination when the course is next taught.
The assessment in some courses is based on more than one exam code.
Where this is the case, you may retake only the assessed components of one of these exam codes.
Where this is not the case, all of the assessed components of the course must be retaken.
All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee.

Additional information
Honour Code
Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and they are encouraged and promoted by the honor system. This is a most significant university tradition. The honor system is the responsibility of students. As faculty, we share the commitment to the ideals of the honor system.

At no time should notes or papers or personal consultations based on previous semesters of this course be used. As part of the honor code papers handed in as part of the course is, at the discretion of the professor, scanned for plagiarism. We are using Safe Assignment in Black Board for this purpose. Any violation of the honor code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures on cheating. These issues are a serious matter to everyone associated with the program. They are at the heart of the Honor Code and academic integrity. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honor code, please ask.