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Leadership of Organizational Change

Page history last edited by David Touve 14 years, 6 months ago

Leadership of Organizational Change

Submitted by: Ellen R. Auster

Suggested text: Auster, Wylie & Valente. 2005. Strategic Organizational Change: Building Change Capabilities in Your Organization. Palgrave Macmillan



Course Overview


Competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced, complex business environment demands that our organizations be change capable – agile, innovative, and alert. Yet, leading change is extremely difficult and more than 2/3 of change efforts fail.


This course offers an action-oriented approach that will help ensure that the change efforts you lead beat these odds. It provides tools, concepts and frameworks that will enable you to both navigate the current change challenges you face and build the long-run change capabilities your organization needs for ongoing adaptation and evolution.


Drawing on leading perspectives on change such as RBV, complexity, appreciative inquiry, diffusion and stakeholder views, this course adopts a multi-lens approach that addresses critical dimensions of change including:


  • leveraging the external environment
  • building the future
  • readying the organization
  • working with the politics of change
  • supporting the emotions of change
  • planning the implementation details
  • fostering creativity
  • inspiring continuous learning and evolution


This course is experientially based, with an emphasis on applying course learnings to cases and to the change challenges you want to tackle within your organizations.


  • "Prepare" a case:  means read the case, think about the questions listed, and be ready to discuss in class.
  • "Read": means read and understand key ideas, concepts, theories, frameworks, practices, etc.
  • "Skim": means scan content, look at charts and have a working familiarity with key ideas, concepts, theories, and frameworks.
  • “FYI” : means optional and for your information


Overview: Strategic Organizational Change


Case:   Webster Corporation Case


No class prep for class 1 but you may want to start thinking about your Individual Change Projects.  Decide whether you want to do a RCA (retrospective change analysis) or a CAP (change action plan) and what change challenge you’ll focus on.  (See p. 4 of this syllabus for a description of the RCA and CAP  and see the one page brief at the end of this syllabus that needs to be filled out for class 2).  This project will also be discussed in more detail in Class 1.


Skim:   “How Successful Leaders Think”, Harvard Business Review, June 2007: 60-67


FYI:     “The New Rules”, Fortune Magazine, July 24th, 2006: 70-87

How to Have an Honest Conversation About Your Business Strategy”, Harvard Business Review, Feb. 2004: 82-89



Session 2: Using External and Internal Diagnoses to Build the Future  


Case:    Read and prepare the Medtek Case



1.    What are the key external pressures and forces Medtek faces?

2.    What is Medtek's strategy?

3.    Why is Medtek having difficulty achieving its strategy?

4.    What are some of the changes you might suggest to improve their internal systems, structures, and processes?


Skim:    Strategic Organizational Change, E. Auster et al, 2005, Chapters 1-4

The Innovation Value Chain”, Harvard Business Review, June 2007: 121-130

    “Off-Sites That Work”, Harvard Business Review, June 2006: 117-126


FYI:    “Growth as a Process”, Harvard Business Review, June 2006: 60-70

    “Scanning the Periphery”, Harvard Business Review, November 2005: 135-148



Session 3: Getting Ready and Working with the Politics and Emotions of Change


Case:     Read and prepare the National Bank Case A and Case B



1.    What are Frost’s objectives?

2.    How successful was Frost in achieving his objectives?

3.    What criteria should be used in evaluating the effectiveness of a change effort?

4.    What will be the long-term impact of these changes?

5.    What (if anything) should Frost have done differently?


Skim:    Strategic Organizational Change, E. Auster et al, 2005, Chapters 5-7


FYI:    “Change Through Persuasion”, Harvard Business Review, Feb. 2005:104-112

    “Your Company’s Secret Change Agents”, Harvard Business Review, May 2005: 72-81



Session 4: Planning the Details and Fostering Creativity and Spontaneity


Skim:    Strategic Organizational Change, E. Auster et al, 2005, Chapters 8-9

    “Innovation: The Classic Traps”, Harvard Business Review: Nov. 2006: 73-83


FYI:    “The Five Messages Leaders Must Manage”, Harvard Business Review, May 2006:114-123



Session 5: Inspiring Continuous Learning and Evolution and Course Wrap-up


Skim:    Strategic Organizational Change, E. Auster et al, 2005, Chapter 10

The Wisdom of Deliberate Mistakes”, Harvard Business Review, June 2006: 109-115

 “Selection Bias and the Perils of Benchmarking”, Harvard Business Review, April 2005: 114-119

Five Steps to Creating a Global Knowledge Sharing System: Sieman’s ShareNet”, Academy of Management Executive, May 2005: 9-23


FYI:    “Leading Change When Business is Good”, Harvard Business Review, Dec. 2004: 60-68



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