Understanding Organisational Change

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
08 August 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSC N60012 Human Resource Management,
MSC N60024 Human Resource Management,
MSC N21712 Organisational Change Management,
MSC N21724 Organisational Change Management

Module description

This module is designed to encourage students to think and reflect upon the nature of change in organisations. In particular, the module will consider many of the key aspects in preparing for, implementing, and evaluating a variety of types and aspects of organisational changes.

Building upon an awareness of key theories and debates students will explore the process and consequences of introducing change in organizations while recognizing the complexity inherent in changing organizations.

The emphasis of the module is providing the analytical skills to understand the broad principles underlying the key stages in a change process that could be then applied to a range of different types of changes within organizations. The course is not driven by providing recipes but more realizing the value of critical analytical and reasoning skills that can be applied to the practicalities of different organizational change interventions.

Module aims

The aim of this module is:

  • To enable students to appreciate and analyse organisational change and how this can best be understood and managed.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand change management theories and approaches and how these impact organisations and their environment.

  2. Appreciate the levers and complexities of organisational change and the barriers which organisations face in achieving and sustaining change.

  3. Critically analyse the psychology of change and the reactions of organisational members.

  4. Discuss various techniques and practices which managers can employ to enable employees to have a meaningful voice in organisational decision-making.

Module information

Indicative syllabus content

  • Introduction and Drivers of Change: This session will introduce the module programme and the organisational change. We will begin the module by giving an overview of what we mean by change in organisations and considering why organisations seek to change.

  • Theories and models of change: Planned change and Organisational Development: In this lecture we will take a look at some of the different models of change. We will focus on approaches to planned change and various proposed frameworks for understanding the stages of change. We will understand the organisation development perspective.

  • Theories and models of change: Emergent change and complex systems: In this lecture we will take a look at some of the alternative models of change. We will focus on approaches of emergent change where change is viewed as a continuous process. We will discuss what it means to consider a system-level approach to change and how this is enhanced by complexity.

  • Leading change: This week we will consider what it means to 'lead' change, who should do this and how they might influence others. We will explore the influence of leadership styles on achieving organisational change by creating vision and shared understanding.

  • Middle managers enabling change: This week we will consider the role of key individuals in the change management process. Moving on from traditional leaders we consider the supporting cast: change agents, project management teams, middle managers, front line champions, and how their influence is also crucial in achieving successful change.

  • Reactions and readiness to change: In this session we will consider the implications of change for employees and consider both positive and negative reactions to change and how these can be managed. We will debate the question of whether resistance to change is inevitable and necessary.

  • Communicating and interpreting change: In this session we will consider how change is communicated. By whom, when, and how should change be presented to employees and what should (and shouldn't) they be told. We will discuss how change might be interpreted by organisational members.

  • Changing culture: This lecture will consider the necessary conditions needed to achieve wholesale culture change within organisations. We will explore how to identify and understand an organisation's culture and how this presents both an obstacle and a resource for change.

  • Organisational learning: We begin to round up the module by considering how organisational learning can enable change in organisations. How can learning be effectively captured and used to inform future organisational activity?

  • Institutionalizing and embedding change: We will conclude the module by recapping some of the themes from the previous weeks and considering how these practices can help to embed change into an organisation

Learning and teaching methods

No information available.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   2,500 Word Case Study Analysis  12/12/2023  100% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Anthony Holt, email:
Mr Anthony Holt



External examiner

Dr Sheena Vachhani
University of Bristol
Reader (Associate Professor) in Work and Organization Studies
Available via Moodle
Of 17 hours, 17 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Business School

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