Credits: 6

Schedule: 29.10.2019 - 03.12.2019

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Kirsi Eräranta

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

Email: kirsi.eraranta [at]; home page:

Teaching Period (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Period II (2018-2019), Töölö campus
Period II (2019-2020), Otaniemi campus

Learning Outcomes (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

After completing the course, students are able to
• Examine key concepts, frameworks and theories for understanding organizational change, change management and change communication
• Analyze and evaluate practices and processes of communication through which change is made sense of and managed in organizations
• Act as change agents by preparing, justifying and carrying out effective communication strategies for different contexts of organizational change

Content (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

This course is based on the assumption that change is the normal condition of organizational life and that an effective communication system is the key to successful change management in all organizations. It is designed to provide students with conceptual frameworks and practical tools they need to manage and communicate organizational and strategic change and to excel as change agents. The course focuses specifically on what the managers need to know about the processes and practices of communication through which top-down initiated change projects and emergent change processes can be managed and coordinated in organizations. Topics covered in the course include e.g. types of organizational change; resistance to change; change management models; and communication approaches and strategies for managing change.

Assessment Methods and Criteria (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

100% assignments

Elaboration of the evaluation criteria and methods, and acquainting students with the evaluation (applies in this implementation): 

1. Sessions (lectures, discussions, exercises, presentations) 8 x 3 h. Mandatory assignments on 29 Oct, 14 Nov, 21 Nov & 3 Dec.
2. Four response papers / individual work (10 % each, 40 % of course grade) 
3. Change management and communication plan / group work (25 % of course grade) 

4. Presentation of change management and communication plan / group work (15 % of course grade) 

5. Reflective journal and team work evaluation sheet / individual work (20 % of course grade) 

Grading 1-5. In order to pass the course, the student will have to gain a “pass” from all assignments. The assessment of assignments is based on rubrics (see Assignments). Students are acquainted with the evaluation and feedback methods in the first class meeting.

Workload (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Contact teaching 24 h
Independent work 136 h
Total 160 h (6 ECTS)

Study Material (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

A package of readings specified by the teacher.

Details on the course materials (applies in this implementation): 

Compulsory readings

Lewis, L. K. (2014). Organizational Change and Innovation. In Putnam, Linda L. and Mumby, Dennis K. (Eds), The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Communication: Advances in Theory, Research, and Methods. Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 503-524.

- Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review. March-April 1995, 59-67.

- Barrett, D. J. (2002). Change communication: using strategic employee communication to facilitate major change. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 7:4, 219-231.

- Stouten, J., Rousseau, D. M. and De Cremer, D. (2018). Successful organizational change: integrating the management practice and scholarly literatures. Academy of Management Annals 12:2, 752-788.

- Bisel, R. S. and Barge, J. K. (2011). Discursive positioning and planned change in organizations. Human Relations 64:2, 257–283. OR

-Lewis, L. K. and Russ, T. L. (2012). Soliciting and Using Input During Organizational Change Initiatives: What Are Practitioners Doing? Management Communication Quarterly 26:2, 267–294

-(1) Sonenshein, S. (2010) We’re changing—or are we? Untangling the role of progressive, regressive, and stability narratives during strategic 
change implementation. Academy of Management Journal 53:3, 477–512. OR

(2) Cornelissen, J. P., Holt, R., and Zundel, M. (2011). The Role of Analogy and Metaphor in the Framing and Legitimization of Strategic Change. Organization Studies 32:12, 1701–1716. AND

(2) Ford, J. D., Ford, L. W. and D’Amelio, A. (2008). Resistance to change: the rest of the story. Academy of Management Review 33:2, 362-377.

Recommended readings

Caldwell, R. (2003) Models of Change Agency: A fourfold Classification. British Journal of Management 14, 131-142. 

- Mantere, S., Schildt, H. A. and Sillince, J. A.A. (2012) Reversal of Strategic Change. Academy of Management Journal 55:1, 172-196.

- VanDeVen, A.H. &Poole, M.S.(1995) Explaining development and change in organizations. Academy of Management Review 2:3, 510-540. 

Substitutes for Courses (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

[Master's Program in Corporate Communication: The course on Managing Corporate Communication (75E00100) is not available anymore. Instead students take the course on Change Management and Communication (77E27000).]

Grading Scale (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 


Registration for Courses (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

via WebOodi

Further Information (valid 01.08.2018-31.07.2020): 

Priority list:
1. CC/MIB students
2. CC/MIB minor students
3. Other BIZ students
4. Other Aalto students

Attendance at the first lecture is mandatory.

Additional information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

All plagiarism and other violations against ethical standards will result in disciplinary action. For more details see Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity and Handling Thereof. Moreover, the principle is that each team makes sure that all team members contribute to the team work process and outcomes. If there is a problem with lack of contribution, please consult the teacher. In case all other team members agree, it is possible to give a particular team member a lower grade than the others, or fail him/her altogether. Please make use of this possibility, if necessary.

Details on the schedule (applies in this implementation): 

- Most Tuesday sessions (4) are held (at 14:15-17) in V001 / School of Business 
- Two Tuesday sessions (12 Nov & 3 Dec) are held (at 14:15-17) in Otakaari 4 (Mechanical Engineering 1) 215 or 216
- All Thursday workshops (2) start (at 14:15) in V001 / School of Business

Session / assignment
Tue 29 Oct
Introduction to the course
Practical info & forming teams (mandatory assignments)
Thu 31 Oct*DL Response paper 1
Lewis (2014). For Tuesday, read also Kotter (1995) and Barrett (2002) (need not to be included in RP1)
Tue 5 Nov
Change in organizations
Visitor: Salla Ketola, Vice President, Sales & Customer Experience, VR
Thu 7 Nov*DL Response paper 2
Stouten et al. (2018)
Tue 12 Nov
Managing change
Visitor: Jan Westö, Director, Miltton
Thu 14 Nov
Writing workshop
Written exercises + peer feedback (mandatory assignments)
Thu 14 Nov*DL Response paper 3
Choose either Bisel & Barge (2011) OR Lewis & Russ (2012). 
Tue 19 Nov
Communicating change
Visitor: Kia Haring, Vice President, Global Communications and Sustainability, Tieto
Thu 21 Nov 
Meeting workshop
Oral exercises & peer feedback (mandatory assignments)
Thu 21 Nov*DL Response paper 4
Choose either Sonenshein (2010) OR Cornelissen et al. (2011) AND Ford et al. (2008)
Tue 26 Nov
Making sense of change
Visitor: Aleksi Soini, Doctoral Candidate, Aalto University
Mon 2 Dec*DL Presentation slides
Tue 3 Dec
End of course
Group presentations (mandatory assignments)
Sun 8 Dec*DL Change management and communication plan
Fri 13 Dec*DL Reflective journal and group work evaluation sheet 


Registration and further information