Igniting Change in Business

Module description

This module equips you with the skills to “ignite change” in your current and/or future organisation by understanding what motivates individuals in an organisational setting, helping you acquire people management skills to lead and manage change and helping you consider the ethics of change you will be promoting in the organisation. This module will take you through key aspects of managing organisations so that you can promote and initiate change. Opportunities for “igniting change” are showcased and discussed through three integrated masterclasses delivered by experts in their field.

Internationalisation: the module will use international material and discussions will include case studies from around the world. One session will be devoted to managing culture and the influence that national culture has on organisational culture.

Employability: the module will help you to better understand the complexities of managing people in organisations, giving you practical skills for doing so.

Sustainability: the module will consider organisations in light of both their own sustainability as organisations and their contributions to environmental and social sustainability, demonstrating how the three are conjoined.

Corporate Engagement: external speakers and practitioners will contribute to three Masterclasses, showcasing opportunities in the digital economy, social entrepreneurship and the circular economy.

Research in Teaching: the module builds on models and theories in the change management field while the Masterclasses will build on practitioners’ research and expertise.

Full module specification

Module title:Igniting Change in Business
Module code:MBAM911
Module level:M
Academic year:2015/6
Module lecturers:
  • Mr Morgan Witzel - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:

2+4+2+2 days

Module aims

Organisations have been described as socio-technical systems; that is, they have a technical side which takes the form of organisational structure, framework, reporting channel and so on, and they have a social side, consisting of their culture, values and beliefs. Managing for Change requires managers and leaders to master both. Leading and managing change will take you through the fundamentals of managing change in organisations, from considering the ethical aspects of change through to motivating individuals and understanding group psychology to mastering such essential tools as the employer brand. This module will help you both better understand how and why organisations function as they do, and be more comfortable at managing them in order to implement strategies and reach objectives.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. explain the nature of organisations and how they are managed
  • 2. identify different approaches and perspectives to organisational analysis
  • 3. explain and evaluate the drivers of organisational performance
  • 4. understand the ethical implications of managing change, and the ethical responsibilities of leaders and managers relating to change
  • 5. explain and evaluate the role of people, structures, culture, group behaviour, motivation, knowledge, power and control on organisational success
  • 6. understand how to lead organisations to successful change

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 7. compare different schools of thought in relation to organisation studies and aspects of human resource management
  • 8. critically articulate how different organisational perspectives imply different approaches to organisational practice
  • 9. be critical of organisational management theory and practice

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. demonstrate effective skills in independent study, group work and written communication
  • 11. demonstrate effective skills in open-mind enquiry, critical analysis and reflection
  • 12. evidence an entrepreneurial mindset while designing innovative solutions to problem solving

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities56Lectures, Interactive workshop,
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities14Simulation
Guided independent study80Reading, personal research exercise, writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Face-to-face or email discussions with students Variable according to student1-11Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group report202500 words3, 10-11Written feedback
Group assignment303000 words10-12Written feedback
Individual assignment503000 words1-2, 4-6, 7-11Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Individual assignment and group assignmentIndividual assignment 3000 words1 - 126 weeks from briefing

Syllabus plan

The module starts with a two-day strategy simulation at the start of Term 2 to help you consolidate your learning of core business functions in Term 1 before exploring in detail the issues related with change management in organisations over a period of 8 days spread over Terms 2 and 3

Pre-Module (2 days): Strategy Simulation

Days One to Four: Leading & Managing Change

Session 1 - Motivation; why do people work? what motivates them? what are the motivational barriers to change, and how can they be overcome?

Session 2 - Group dynamics, power and role theory - what roles must a change agent play?

Session 3 - Organisational structures; why are they necessary? how do they change and evolve?

Session 4 - Organisational culture, how it can inhibit change as well as being used to drive it, techniques for cultural change

Session 5 - Communications and knowledge, the employer brand; how the employer brand can be a force for change

Session 6 - Leadership, leaders and managers as catalysts for change

Session 7 - What do you want to change and why? identifying elements of change, change management theory

Session 8 – Exercise in change management, followed by discussion of assignment

Days Five & Six: Ethical Aspects of Change

Session 1 - Perspectives on ethics including deontology, consequentialism, virtue ethics, environmental ethics and economics and ethics

Session 2 - Ethics and change: ethical issues associated with the management and leadership of change

Session 3 - Introduction to ethical decision making tools

Session 4 - Exercise in ethical decision making using the tools learned in the morning - concluding discussion on ethics

Days Seven and Eight: Leveraging Opportunities in…

The final two days consist in Masterclasses aimed at showcasing opportunities in key sectors. In 2015/16 Masterclasses will focus on opportunities in the digital economy, the circular economy and social entrepreneurship. All Masterclasses are delivered by academics and practitioners expert in their field and will help you appreciate the benefits that can be gained by yourself or your organisation by tapping into such opportunities:

  • Leveraging opportunities in the digital economy will retrace the growth of the app economy, helping you appreciate the existence of enabling technologies that give rise to new business models and equipping you with the tools to build an e-business.
  • Leveraging opportunities in social entrepreneurship will explore the evolving meaning and value of social entrepreneurship through a blend of theory and practical case studies and provide you with the opportunity to consider your own future as a social entrepreneur
  • Leveraging opportunities in the circular economy will help you develop a mindset and the tools to successfully navigate the circular economy framework. The Masterclass encompasses a wide range of material with much of it developing from emerging work in areas such as complexity economics, regenerative design, social sciences, and from restorative business practitioners. As part of the course you will undertake a ‘Design and Development Plan’ focused on implementing a restorative process into an organisation.

While you can only select one Masterclass, you will be able to integrate your learning from key MBA modules (e.g. Emerging Business Models, The Entrepreneurial Mindset, New Venture Creation) to develop your MBA project in one of the areas showcased by the Masterclasses.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Burchell, J (ed.) (2008) The Corporate Social Responsibility Reader, London, Routledge.

Crane, A. and Matten, D (2004) Business Ethics: a European Perspective, Oxford, OUP.

Fisher, C. and Lovell, A. (2009) Business Ethics and Values: Individual Corporate and International Perspectives. Pearson.

Keasey, K., Thompson, S. and Wright, M. (2005) Corporate Governance: Accountability, Enterprise and International Comparison, Chichester, John Wiley and Sons Ltd. (on order for Library).

Mallin, C (2010) Corporate Governance, 3rd edition, Oxford, OUP.

Fincham R and P Rhodes (2005) Principles of Organisational Behaviour, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Handy, C (1993) Understanding Organizations, Penguin, 4th Edition

Senge, P et al (2008) The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations are Working Together to Create a Sustainable World, Nicholas Brealey. 

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (eds) (2013) ‘A New Dynamic: Effective Business In A Circular Economy’. Ellen MacArthur Foundation Publishing

Nicholls, A. (2006). ‘Social Entrepreneurship: New Models of Sustainable Social Change’. OUP, Oxford.



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