NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Fall 2010

Instructor Details

Conte, Vincent



After class or by appointment

KMC 7-154


Course Meetings

TR, 9:30am to 10:45am

Tisch T-UC03

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

Over the past 100 years the political and economic environments, all over the world have become increasingly dynamic through communication, information sharing, social networking and globalization. Some of this change has been brought about through “disruptive technologies” like the Internet, but much of it has been fostered by increasing levels of economic development and education throughout the world.

We are moving into an era of organization which demands internal stability of processes and capability development while simultaneously dealing with strategic flexibility and constant business model revision. Whether we are considering a for-profit entity, an NGO, a religious/cultural institution, or a Government agency, the boundaries of organizations have blurred through outsourcing, alliances, virtual teams, volunteerism or flexible work arrangements.

Socially and economically we are experiencing the tensions of increased desire for individual and group independence balanced against exponentially expanding interdependence as an growing population deals with environmental sustainability and resource allocation. In the current context, Change takes on a new meaning! We are not dealing with interruptions to the status quo, rather we are awakening to a new set of ongoing paradigm shifts. In the words of Stafford Beers (1975)1 “Acceptable ideas are competent no more and competent ideas are not yet acceptable.”

Learning to be a leader in this context requires more than a management toolkit or a set of “best practices.” This course will explore a variety of cases illustrating different “lessons learned” dealing with the negative and beneficial byproducts of radical change in a wide range of economic, cultural and philosophical contexts. We will, test out different frameworks for diagnosing an organization╩╝s adaptability and demonstrate a programatic approach to managing to leading an organization toward more productive and satisfying change outcomes. The objectives of this course include:
1) honing each student╩╝s organizational diagnosis skills in a dynamic environment
2) develop a set of tools for mapping changes in strategy and defining the new capabilities required by that strategy and business models
3) develop useful approaches to designing and implementing organization change in response to reframing of strategy and business models
4) understanding the levers for leading change when we appreciate the organization as a “multi-mind” social system instead of a machine
5) each student needs to get in touch with his/her personal behavioral style and personality in dealing with change and uncertainty
6) each student will learn to work in teams to build and communicate change programs through group discussion, presentation decks and class presentations.


Course Outline

Class 1:
7-Sep Intro and Getting to know you
Reading: Course Pack "The Heart of Change." Cohen, Dan S.; Kotter, John P. Course Pack (16 pages). & Syllabus

Class 2:
9-Sep Organization Life-cycles and the reality of Change.
Reading: “Re-energizing the Mature Organization,” Beatty & Ulrich, Text pp. 44-58

Class 3:
14-Sep British Airways case: • What was life like in the old British Airways?
• What were the challenges to change?
• What were the Critical Success Factors in Transforming BA?
Case: “Changing the Culture at British Airways” and “B.A. Update” Text pp. 26-44

Class 4:
16-Sep Mobilizing for Change
Readings: “The Vision Thing (A)”, Todd Jick (text, p. 95-101)
"The Theory Behind the Practice: A Brief Introduction to the Adaptive Leadership Framework." Heifetz, Ronald; Grashow, Alexander; Linsky, Marty. Course Pack
(38 pages).

Class 5:
21-Sep Visionaries
• What impact will Galvin’s officer meeting speech will have?
• What should Galvin do next?What should others do?
• In what ways, if at all, is Galvin’s leadership philosophy and practice a model for “visionary leadership”?
Case: “Bob Galvin & Motorola” (A) Text pp.101-112

Class 6:
23-Sep Organization Diagnosis
Reading: "Diagnose the System: The First Step in Leading Adaptive Change." Heifetz, Grashow & Linsky, Marty. Course Pack (29 pages).

Class 7:
28-Sep Steering Change
• What is the impact of Calder’s view that mission directorates, the DA, and the White House as “customers”?
• How effective is Calder’s leadership and strategy?
• How should Calder make his case for adding more activities to the working capital fund at the August Exec. Board meeting?
Case: “Business Process Transformation at the CIA (A)” (KSG cases 1515.0 Course Pack

Class 8
30-Sep Organization Politics and Change
Reading: "Diagnose the Political Landscape: Understanding Political Relationships in the Organization Will Help You Lead Adaptive Change." Heifetz, Grashow, & Linsky. Course PackCase (22 pages).

5-Oct Designing Interventions for Change
Reading: "Design Effective Interventions: Mobilizing People to Tackle an Adaptive Challenge." Heifetz, Grashow & Linsky, Marty. Course Pack (18 pages).
Team Project Outline Due

Class 10:
7-Oct Strategy Implementation as Change
Reading: “Mapping your Strategy” Kaplan & Norton (posted to Blackboard”

Class 11:
12-Oct Wellcome, Israel
Text pp. 311-321

Class 12:
14-Oct Social Change and Organizations
"The Challenge of Drastically Changing Times: The Urban League Adjusts to a Post-Civil Rights Landscape." Course Pack Case No. 1634.0. (21 pages).

Class 13
19-Oct Human Motivation and Change
Reading: "Diagnose the Adaptive Challenge: Understanding the Human Dimensions of Change." Heifetz, Grashow, & Linsky. Course Pack Case (29 pages).

Class 14:
21-Oct Consulting “White Board Session”
First Consulting Proposal Due

23-Oct Peter Browning/Continental “White Cap”
Text pp. 166-174

Class 16:
28-Oct Team Work Time Work in your teams and I will Coach

Class 17:
30-Oct Restructuring to Change will be posted on Blackboard

Class 18:
2-Nov Culture Change at Seagrams
Text pp. 220-228

Class 19:
4-Nov LG Culture Change Course Packet

Class 20:
9-Nov Revolution at Oticon A/S
Text pp. 268-280

Class 21:
11-Nov Sustaining Change
Reading: “Why Change Programs Don’t Produce Change,” M. Beer, R. Eisenstat, and B. Spector (text, pp. 229-241) “Cracking the Code of Change,” Michael
Beer and Nitin Nohria (text, pp. 483-493)

16-Nov Zongshen Industries
Course Packet

Class 23:
18-Nov Change and Learning
Reading: “The Enduring Skills of Change Leaders,” Rosabeth Moss Kanter (text, pp. 429-435)

Class 24:
23-Nov Team Work Time Work in your teams to finalize
presentations. I will Coach!
Second Consulting Proposal Due

25:-Nov Thanksgiving Holiday

Class 25:
30-Nov Team Presentation 1

Class 26:
2-Dec Team Presentation 2

Class 27:
7-Dec Team Presentation 3

Class 28:
9-Dec Team Presentation 4

Class 29:
14-Dec Wrap up and Review
Team Projects Due


Required Course Materials

Jick, Todd, D. and Peiperl, Maury (2002), Managing Change: Cases and Concepts, 2nd Edition, McGraw Hill/Irwin.

Course Packet:
The readings will be available at the NYU Main Bookstore (18 Washington Place) When you buy the Course Packet you will get an access code# which allows you to get the material electronically through the website http://www.xanedu.com. Create your student login profile which will allow you to view and/or download the files in pdf format.


Assessment Components

Your grade is based on your contributions to the class. The purpose is to evaluate your performance and to provide feedback on your ability to develop, utilize, and share ideas related to the concepts and cases. Your final grade will be based on the following components. All course requirements must be completed to pass this course. Specific assignments and grading are described below:

Class Attendance and Participation .......................... 25%
Consulting Project Proposal #1 ................................ 20%
Consulting Project Proposal #2 ................................ 20%
Team Project ............................................................. 35%

Class Attendance and Participation (25%)
Class attendance is mandatory and part of your grade. Absences may be excused only in the case of documented serious illness, family emergency, religious observance, or civic obligation. If you will miss class for religious observance or civic obligation, you must inform me no later than the second week of class. Recruiting activities are not acceptable reasons for class absence.
I am less interested in controlling your behavior than preserving the quality of the classroom experience. If I am not satisfying your need to learn, I welcome questions and feedback. I have dealt with many demanding students and clients and I respect their desire to get the most out of my knowledge and experience. After all, our relationship is based on your need to learn. Faculty cynicism and student pragmatism have eroded the student/teacher relationship to the point where many on both ends of the relationship just do the minimum and stick to the rules and neither group is satisfied, nor are the values of real education served.
I find it difficult when students file in and out unpredictably, but I also realize that some of you deal with transportation issues, roommate issues and some of you are parents and spouses and have family scheduling conflicts. I strive to create an atmosphere where it is possible to present a quality lecture, group exercise or learning simulation every class. We share responsibility for making it work for us all, including me. But this shouldn’t be about my fragile ego or your playing out your psychological needs on me. You know what works, so do I, let’s just make it work! I intend to get to know you as a person over the next few weeks and it will be obvious who is fostering a positive relationship in class and who if any prefer theatrical entrances and exits over class harmony and cooperation.
We come to the class experience with a wide variety of expectations and points of view. My job is to provide leadership in creating a class culture which optimizes the learning experience while treating each other with the respect and dignity you deserve. I want to create a healthy atmosphere which is based on neither fear nor permissiveness. We will discuss power, human motivation and change throughout the course. We will use our understanding to create a great experience.
To get credit for attending a class, you should arrive on time and stay to the end of the class period. If you have to arrive late or leave early because of a work obligation or persistent schedule conflict please let me know in advance and perhaps we can work something out. Chronically arriving late or leaving class early will have an impact on your grade.
The critical success factor for creating optimal learning is “mindfulness” and “engagement.” We will explore those “emerging properties” throughout the course and your ability to manifest them in your in-class behavior will be a key criterion for your success.

The best way to demonstrate positive participation includes the following behaviors:
1. complete all readings, assignments, and case analyses for each session before coming to class.
2. contribute in a meaningful way to class discussion of these materials both in quality (thoughtfulness of comments and questions) and quantity (frequency of comments and questions). No need to worry about over-doing it, I will moderate to give everyone adequate air-time.
3. The readings are often complex and deal with a variety of issues that are unrelated to this course. You should ask questions to hone your understanding and make sure you really “get it.” If you want to earn an “A” in the 2 proposal writing samples or the team project, you will have to demonstrate a subtle and integrated understanding of the concepts presented in lectures and the case theory.
4. Your personal opinion is not valued except to the extent that you back it up with courserelevant examples and references. Refer to the readings, cases and research to demonstrate or clarify a point. This discipline is not an academic exercise as much as it is a discipline which will make you more influential and respected in business. Some day you may be powerful enough to command respect because of who you are but in today’s world even the Godfather, the Pope and President Obama need to persuade not just command.
5. I don’t know what you know until you openly express it. If you’re brilliant but don’t manifest your learning by share your ideas, I’ll just assume that “nobody’s home.”

A peer evaluation at the end of group activities will be factored into your participation grade. I will circulate a questionnaire asking your group to evaluate the role you played and the quality of your participation in that exercise. I have worked with teams where all the participants were highly motivated and performed in a quality way. This was obvious to me and to the whole class and their overall performance was rewarded. The opposite was also true at times and the results were adjusted accordingly.


Consulting Proposals (40%)
Change Management professionals often lead Organization Design and Development (OD&D) projects as internal or external consultants. Part of the learning experience for this course is to put you in the “co-pilot” seat in organization change effort. Since consulting is a project based activity, we will talk about project design and delivery. The first step in any OD&D project is to define the nature of the project. Usually there is a Diagnosis phase of the project followed by Recommendations, Implementation Planning and finally Implementation.
Each student will be expected to prepare two (2) Consulting Proposals, each based on one of the 10 cases assigned this semester. Your proposals should be between 3 and 5 pages, singlespaced, 1 inch margin, 12-point font, and must be submitted in hard copy on the dates specified..
You are to assume the role of a consultant to the organization and address your memo to the key player (CEO or Department Head) described in the case. The proposal should focus on the diagnosis of the business problem and recommendations for change. For example, if the organization needs to change its strategy to create a new product line or cater to a different customer segment, what kind of change is involved? Which employees will be affected? What are the change drivers that will determine the success of the change? How should the change be implemented? The proposal is a high-level and holistic document, there is no time or space to get into minute detail. However, there should be enough meat in the proposal for a client to take concrete action.
Since the person receiving your proposal is a key insider, you do not need to summarize the information in the case itself, but you may refer to key clues that convince you to take a specific course of action.
You may integrate material from any of the cases, from class discussions, from your own previous experience and intuition, and from theory developed for this and other classes. All cases listed in the syllabus are accompanied with thought questions. You should use the issues raised in these questions as a starting point, but you are not limited to these questions in your own analysis.
This assignment will be graded with respect to the degree of insight and strategy in your recommendations, the degree of relevance to managerial practice, and the degree to which you present a balanced perspective.

Consulting Proposal #1 due October 21 (15%) – use one of the first five cases discussed on or before October 14. Expected length will be 3-5 pages, single-spaced, with standard margins and fonts, and must be submitted on. You can use powerpoint slides if you like but be sure that the exhibits are self explanatory.

Consulting Proposal #2 due November 23 (25%) – use one of the remaining five cases as your target organization. Same guidelines as the first proposal, but obviously you have learned more and should demonstrate that.

Team Project (35%)
The team project is designed to help you study a real-life situation in an organization of your choice using the concepts and themes from this course. You can choose a private, government, or non-profit organization as your target organization. You will form into small groups (4-6 students).
Outline due October 9 – Each team should submit a one-page outline indicating:
a) members of your team
b) name and description (industry, location, income/budget, # employees, etc.) of the target organization that you have chosen to study,
c) brief description of the change process that you will be exploring, and
d) the data sources which you expect to use.

Presentation – Your team will conduct an oral presentation of your project during one of the last class sessions (Nov 30 through Dec 9). Your team will summarize the change process, present your analysis of the situation, and provide recommendations for management to successfully implement and sustain the change effort. Your team will be consultants to the organization, and your classmates will assume the role of the client management team. They can ask questions and challenge your assumptions and recommendations based on the facts you present about the target organization or the theory we have learned.

Report – one document will be submitted in hard copy form for each team, it should be approximately 20 to 25 pages, double-spaced, standard type and margins. Part 1 is limited to 10 pages, and Part 2 is limited to 15 pages. Your team project report must be submitted in hard copy form at the beginning of the last class on December 14.

Part 1 – written as a case (10 pages), should describe rather than analyze/recommend. Model this part on the cases that you will be reading for class throughout the semester, having similar format and content. Write a case description of some large-scale organizational change about which you are able to get significant information. This can include: merger, acquisition, downsizing, new strategic direction, globalization, public image catastrophe[BP, Toyota, Facebook, Goldman Sachs], macro economic change, political/legal shift etc.) or some other type of organizational change.
You can select a private, government, or non-profit organization. You can select an organization with which one or more team members are personally familiar. If you do not have an organization in mind, please contact me as soon as possible.
You will need to be able to collect considerable information about the organization so that you can create a complete case. At least part of the information must be firsthand, so your team must interview at least one leader and one employee from the organization. You may also collect information from newspaper reports, trade journals, materials available from Lexis/Nexis, or other sources of extensive information.
You will be required to demonstrate fairly comprehensive knowledge of the organization in order to write the case.

Part 2 – an in-depth analysis, with implications for change and recommendations for management interventions, of your case (10 - 15 pages). This part should be modeled after your two Consulting Proposals for the semester, which include an analysis section and a recommendations section. In your analysis, apply the concepts learned in class to your team’s case. In your recommendations, provide strategic, feasible, and thoughtful actions for management. Your team should address these types of questions, including but not limited to:
• Based on your learning related to this class, how would you diagnose what is really going on in the organization studied?
• How well do the organization leaders/members understand what the issues really are?
• How ready is the organization to change in terms of awareness, motivation, flexibility and skill?
• Given the context of the change (social, political, economic, customer need) how big a change is required to move the organization to a productive and effective mode of existence?

Analyze the particular approach to change used. Why did the organization take one particular approach to change (e.g., downsize) rather than other possible ones (e.g., creating a learning organization)? How effectively was the particular change attempt carried out?
• How was resistance to change manifested? How effectively was it addressed?
• What were the objectives of the change effort? How successful was the change effort given its objectives?
• What role did luck or timing play in the success or failure of the change effort?
• How might the organization have used some of the materials and learnings from this class to increase the success of the change effort?
• What would be your consulting strategy in working with the organization?
• What recommendations would you make to the organization on how to be more effective in implementing and/or sustaining changes going forward?

This assignment will be graded with respect to the degree of comprehensiveness and knowledge of the case, the degree of insight in your analysis, the degree of strategy in your recommendations, the degree of relevance to managerial practice, and the degree to which you present a balanced perspective.

Assignment Deadlines
Late assignments will incur a grade penalty unless due to documented serious illness or family emergency. I will make exceptions for religious observance or civic obligation only when the assignment cannot reasonably be completed prior to the due date and when you make arrangements for late submission with me no later than the second week of class.


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


Printer Friendly Version