Unit 17 Understanding and Leading Change

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The aim of this unit is to prepare students to anticipate, plan and deliver organisational change. In addition students will be able to predetermine appropriate and timely interventions required to maximise the benefits and minimise the risk of organisational change. On successful completion of this unit students will have developed sufficient knowledge and understanding of leadership in the context of organisational change to make an effective and immediate contribution to the way in which an organisation determines and responds to change drivers. Students will also be in a strong position to contribute to change initiatives as well as to consider the strategies required to change resistors.


Learning outcomes

LO1 Compare ways in which change impacts on an organisation’s strategy and operations

Change as a constant requirement:

  • What is change in a business context?
  • How does position and perception influence a view of change as negative or positive?

Types of organisational change:

  • To include structural and strategic, and people and processes.

Drivers of change:

  • Consideration of internal and external drivers which could be based on a PEST and/or SWOT analysis.

Dealing with change:

  • To include planned and emergent change, strategies for change and the Bohner and Arnold Change Impact Analysis

LO2 Evaluate the influences that drivers of change have on organisation behaviour

Change and the impact on organisational behaviour:

  • Considering the psychological impact of change on people.
  • How change impacts on team dynamics and how people are led and managed.

Recognising drivers of change:

  • Using analytical tools such as PEST and SWOT.
  • Selecting the most significant drivers in a given context.

Responding to drivers of change:

  • Using systems theory and continuous improvement models to predict and proactively plan for change.
  • Using the Burke-Litwen model to make the change process efficient and effective.

LO3 Determine how barriers to change influence leadership decision-making

Initiated or imposed change:

  • Deciding to be pre-emptive and proactive or responsive and reactive will be based on the situation and the nature/scope of the change.
  • Adaptive and constructive change.

Barriers and resistance to change:

  • Using a force field analysis to understand likely opposition and support for change in a contemporary context.
  • Schein’s organisational culture model, self-efficacy perceptions and situational resistance when determining barriers.

Leadership and decision-making:

  • Doing the right thing is important when dealing with change as change mostly affects people. Decisions should be considered with this in mind.

LO4 Apply a range of leadership approaches to a change initiative

Situational leadership:

  • The context of a task/activity/challenge determines the appropriate leadership style/approach.

Initiating change:

  • Where change is initiated then leaders have more control, more time and, therefore, more opportunity to select the best approach to apply.
  • When change is imposed then these opportunities are reduced or even negated.

Change theories, concepts and models:

  • The key theories, concepts and models, including Kotter’s 8-step Change model, Lewin’s change management model, change through strategic communication, change and movement through leadership, the principles of change leadership.


  • LEWIS, L. K. (2011) Organizational Change: Creating Change Through Strategic Communication. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • MEE-YAN, C-J. and HOLBECHE, L. (2015) Organizational Development: a Practitioner's Guide for OD and HR. London: Kogan Page.?


  • Journal of Change Management
  • Journal of Organisational Change Management
  • Leadership

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