Org Change in the Classroom: A ruse

organizational-change-timizzer1-1024x8181The mid course evaluation or any other feedback from students (such as the culture artifact hunt) can be used as a jumping off point for an exercise on organizational change. All you need to do is take their suggestions to a logical conclusion and tell them that you are changing the assignments and/or grading structure. This, of course, is small potatoes compared to real strategic change. However, even if you pick fairly moderate changes, students will typically protest. Then you can discuss the influence tactics used to thwart the proposed change. It can be great fun to play with their heads (but be sure to let them know it was only an exercise)! You might think it unwise to intentionally anger your students as part of an exercise. However, this is a lesson they won’t forget and, if you debrief carefully, they will see why the lesson is so important. Here is an example of the types of changes I announce:

  • Added assignment (to emphasize a new topic they want). Include a few additional readings and a case — hopefully that add up to an expensive additional coursepack (> $10).
  • Change the teams to emphasize diversity, skills, or to increase their inventory of available skills.
  • Change the grading weights (e.g., less emphasis on class participation is guaranteed to make the more vocal people voice their concerns).
  • Add a comprehensive exam (out of concern that the additional studying is needed for them to integrate the materials).

Contributed by Russ Coff

4 thoughts on “Org Change in the Classroom: A ruse

  1. Note that you may need to go out on a limb to tick them off sufficiently. Last year they reacted too politely (“that’s fine, we’ll go along”) but were seething inside. This year, I took it to a new level. I knew they wanted to see more global content in the MBA program so my intervention included: a) an extra 8am class session on global strategy, b) a new global case team writeup, c) added HBS case/reading packet for $12, d) extra credit for teams that had an international member, and e) participation point penalty for poor classroom etiquette (tardiness, disruptions, etc.). It worked much better this year…

  2. Pingback: Org Change Videos | Carpenter Strategy Toolbox

  3. Pingback: Corporate Culture Artifact Hunt |

  4. Pingback: Small Change in the Classroom | Carpenter Strategy Toolbox

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