Managing Change

This module information is representative of what is included in the module in a given year. Details of actual reading, lectures and coursework may vary year to year and will be available at the beginning of the semester.

Module Co-ordinator

Professor Bernard Burnes





Credit value


Contact hours

25 hours


Assessment is 100% coursework

The main objective of this module is to enable students to understand, plan and achieve organisational change successfully. The received wisdom in much of the business world is that change has to be fast, large-scale and transformational if organisations are to survive. However, there is also evidence that many successful organisations take a much slower and more cautious approach to change. In addition, the failure rate of change initiatives is claimed to be around 70%. It follows from this that managing organisational change is one of the most problematic tasks leaders undertake, and that the ability to do so is a key attribute of successful leaders and successful organisations. This module will examine the changing nature of organisations and the challenges they face. It review the main approaches to managing change and show how these relate to the types of changes that organisations are undertaking, especially in terms of individual, group and organisational behaviour.

Module Aims

The main objectives of the module are to provide the student with an understanding of:

• the main issues involved in organisational change;
• the main models of, and approaches to, organisational change;
• the main issues involved in planning and implementing organisational change;
• change from the perspectives of the different parties involved;
• how to change their own and other people’s behaviour.

At the end of the module, students should be able to:

• understand both the theory and practice of organisational change;
• appreciate the benefits and limitations of the various approaches to organisational change;
• analyse case studies of organisational change;
• understand the ethical issues involved in change.
• plan and implement change projects.



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