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Change Management and Leadership


Admission requirements

MPA students enrolled in the specialization Public Management


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 change management and leadership. 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

  • Can explain the relevance of organizational change in the public sector, and its central aspects.

  • Can describe the characteristics of central change management approaches and leadership theories.

  • Can explain how the particular context of public organizations influences change management and leadership.

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

  • Has developed the ability to stay informed about current leadership developments and trends through online resources and networks.

  • Is able to formulate and effectively communicate a change vision in an organizational setting.


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

The course will be taught through weekly seminars, supplemented by work groups. Teaching methods are presentations, discussions, simulations and a group project involving the analysis of a real life organizational change process.

Course Load

Seminar hours: 6x2 and 1x3 = 15 hours
Work groups: 3x2 = 6 hours
Groupwork on assignment: 10 hours
Assignment and self study: 109 hours
Total: 140 hours

Assessment method

Written exam (70%) and group assignment (30%). Students will be permitted to retake an examination if they have used the first attempt.


Blackboard will used and is available at the start of the course.

Reading list

Articles available through the university library will be announced in the syllabus.


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 there.


Dr. Joris van der Voet
office hours by appointment