Master of Health Studies (MHST) 621

Coaching and Leading: The Human Side of Organizational Change


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Delivery Mode: Paced/home-study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies


Change within organizations has become the norm. Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher, said, "You can't step twice into the same river." Sometimes as the changes bombard you from all sides it feels as if you will be swept away in that very river! Think of your own organization. How many changes did you deal with today?

The answer to that question probably surprised you! We are confronted daily with changes in our organization. Many times we juggle planning for a change, initiating a second change, facilitating a third, while we "cement in" yet another change. At the same time we are coaching, leading, and guiding those who have been traumatized by one or all of these changes, calming the fearful, reassuring the confused and disheartened, and "unsticking" the resistant. As organizational leaders we set off to work each day with the vision of transforming the "swamps" in our organization to a virtual "oasis"! No wonder we often go home with our heads spinning! How do we take care of ourselves in this world of chaos and confusion while helping those in our organizations to thrive? Throughout this course and hopefully together, we will uncover some answers to these questions.

There are skills and strategies that you already use successfully to coach and lead change. Begin to think of some of these and prepare to share your expertise with all of us. By working together we will have a more meaningful learning experience.

Course Goals

By the conclusion of this course students will be able to:

  1. evaluate the multi-dimensional nature of organizational change,
  2. explain political, economic, technological, and sociocultural influences on organizational change,
  3. appraise the influence of overt and covert aspects of organizational life on change,
  4. apply hard and soft systems models of organizational change to real-life case situations,
  5. summarize key trends that may prompt micro and macro level organizational change in the future, and
  6. debate the influence of ethics on organizational change.

Course Materials

Course Textbook

Senior, B., & Swailes, S. (2010). Organizational change (4th ed.). Essex, UK: Pearson.

Online Materials

Course readings are located online and are accessible through individual Web addresses (URLs) - I also encourage you to find and read one extra article each week. Please share the addresses with the rest of the class during discussion

Course Outline

NURS 621 consists of the following 10 units

  • Unit 1: Orientation and Overview: Organizations and Their Changing Environments
  • Unit 2: Types of Change
  • Unit 3: Organizational Structure, Design and Change
  • Unit 4: Culture and Organizational Change
  • Unit 5: Politics and Organizational Change
  • Unit 6: Leadership and Organizational Change
  • Unit 7: Hard Systems Models of Change
  • Unit 8: Soft Systems Models for Change
  • Unit 9: Collaborative Group Projects
  • Unit 10: Future Directions and Challenges

Assessment Structure

In the MHS and MN:Gen programs, students must achieve an overall program GPA of 2.7 ( B- or 70 percent), to graduate. The minimum passing grade requirement for each MHS and MN:Gen course is C- (60 percent).

The following course activities will contribute to your course grade, with the percentage weighting of each activity as follows:

Case Study Document 20%
Case Study Analysis 40%
Group Presentation 30%
Participation 10%
Total 100%

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

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Last updated November 2, 2010

Updated April 28 2016 by Student & Academic Services