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Change Management and Leadership*



Public sector organizations are often stereotyped as being bureaucratic and incapable of change. In practice, their organizational environment continuously requires public organizations to implement organizational change, for example in response to new policies, managerial reforms, technological innovations and the financial crisis. This course aims to connect the practical issue of organizational change in the public sector with the state of the art research on organizational change. Change management is concerned with the successful implementation of deliberate changes in organizations. Leadership is generally considered to be a crucial factor during organizational change, and concerns the activities and behavior of individuals in bringing about organizational change. This course will focus on the difficulties inherent to organizational change in public organizations, and will outline the central change management approaches and leadership theories. Special attention is given to how the particular environmental and organizational characteristics of public organizations determine the appropriateness of effectiveness of change management and leadership in the public sector.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, the student:

  • Understands the relevance of organizational change in the public sector, and its central aspects;

  • Is able to identify barriers to organizational change, such as resistance to change, as well as their origins and consequences;

  • Is familiar with the central approaches to change management and leadership theories, and the conceptual differences between the two;

  • Has a conceptual understanding of how the particular characteristics of public organizations determine the application of change management;

  • Is able to apply the key concepts of this course in a systematic analysis of an organizational change process in a public organization.



Mode of instruction

The course will be taught through seminars. Teaching methods are presentations, discussions and a research project involving the analysis of a real life organizational change process.

Course Load

Total study load is 140 hours, of which contact hours: 3 hrs. per week x 7 weeks = 21 hrs. Self-study hours: 119 preparing for classes, studying literature, completing assignments, etc.

Assessment method

Exam (70%) and end-term paper (30%)

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have taken the first sit and have a mark lower than 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam
Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


The blackboard page will contain all information for the course and will be made available at the beginning of the course.

Reading list

The reading material will only consist of articles. The articles that will be required reading will be communicated through blackboard.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.

Dr. Joris van der Voet
Meetings by appointment