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    Organisational Development and Change


    Special Track Int. Human Resources Management

    Follow-up / Interfaces:

    HR Policies and Tools


    Pre-reading and preparation tasks


    Lecture, case studies, individual tasks,
    plenum discussions, E-learning platform


    Written exam

    ECTS points:



    Dr. Katrin Winkler

    Aims and objectives:

    The only constant element in today’s economic world is change. It is not only the most frequent phenomenon in organisations, but it is also the most difficult as many change efforts in organisations fail. The change goals, e.g. to increase the effectiveness of processes or systems or to create synergies are frequently unmet even though on paper the efforts look very interesting and effective. The endeavour fail, not due to the plans or nicely set presentations but because the human factor has not been taken into consideration. The high complexity of change processes and the multiple challenges need the implementation of long-term holistic concepts and a strong commitment of managers and leaders within the organisation. Organisational development and change management are core elements of today’s management job descriptions. This module aims at creating an understanding of change and organisational development processes. Based on case studies which address multiple perspectives of organisational change, the topics will be reflected from a theoretical and practical point of view. Special attention will be given to the role of leadership in the context of change management and organisational development.

    General learning objectives:

    Graduates are capable of managing the behavioural changes of their stakeholders based on their knowledge on human communication and change management.
    Graduates are convinced that trying first to analyse a business problem, than to apply theoretical concepts and bench-marked ideas to develop a problem solution, and finally implementing the solution in a change oriented manner is the key approach for any kind of business & management task.

    Detailed learning outcomes:

    • Reflect on the need for change in the current economic climate
    • Gain a general understanding of organisational change and development concepts
    • Develop an understanding of possible change instruments and their field of use
    • Reflect on different leadership styles and their importance in a change process
    • Apply change concepts to a real case example and transfer this knowledge to their own working environment

    Course textbook: 

    Provided handouts, especially collection of articles (“Reader”), pre-reading material. 


    1. Basics of organisational development and change 

    • Introduction to organisational development and change
    • Typical cases for change and organisational development
    • Transforming organisations: Why companies fail 
    • Organisational development and change in the context of mergers and acquisitions 
    • The role of leadership 

    2. Managing change 

    • Theoretical framework on organisational development and change
    • The psychology of change – Creating acceptance
    • Enhancing the sustainability of the change project – implementation strategies 

    3. Shaping the organisation during mergers and acquisitions 

    • The case for mergers and acquisitions
    • Communication strategies and tools 
    • Success factors of change concepts in the context of mergers and acquisitions 

    4. Leadership and change 

    • The role of leadership in change processes
    • Communicating the vision
    • Empowering employees 

    5. Change management tools and instruments

    • Overview on multiple tools and instruments which support change processes in organisations 

    6. Creating a learning organisation

    • Needs for a learning organisation 
    • Knowledge management as a basis for the development of a learning organisation 
    • Individual and organisational learning processes 

    7. Organisational culture and change processes 

    • The concept of culture – what is a company culture
    • The influence of organisational culture on change processes
    • Values and norms within organisations 

    Recommended supplemental readings: 

    John, P. Kotter (1996). Leading Change. Harvard: Harvard Business School Press. 

    Peter. M. Senge. (2006). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation. Crown Business.