AGSM9271 Approaches to Change - 2023

Subject Code
Study Level
Commencing Term
Term 3
Total Units of Credit (UOC)
Delivery Mode
Online, Weekly
This course outline is provided in advance of offering to guide student course selection. Please note that while accurate at time of publication, changes may be required prior to the start of the teaching session. To view other versions, visit the archives .

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

Our broad aim in Approaches to Change is to help you strengthen your effectiveness as a change agent, defining 'change agent' very broadly as:

'a person who attempts to positively influence organisational change through his or her own actions and through influencing the actions of others'.

The course focuses on:

  • concepts, frameworks and theories that you can use to guide your thinking and practice as a change agent
  • tools and methods that you can use in critically important change processes such as:
    • diagnosing what needs to be changed
    • deciding on the best change to make
    • building the required level of commitment to support and enact the change
    • understanding and handling resistance.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

The central goals of the course are to encourage and enable you to:

  • critically examine the concepts, frameworks and theories that have previously influenced your approaches to leading and managing change
  • extend and enrich your repertoire of ideas and perspectives
  • analyse, evaluate and improve your own approaches to change and the approaches used in your organisation
  • expand your change agent toolkit and repertoire and develop the situational judgement to choose the best tools for particular challenges.

To support these goals, successive Units in the course include:

  • a range of concepts, frameworks and theories for understanding change and approaches to managing and leading change
  • a variety of tools that you can use in critically important activities such as diagnosis, decision-making, assessing readiness for change and building commitment for change.

The course has a strong focus on practical application. The online dialogues, videoconferences and written assessments provide many opportunities to apply the course concepts - to yourself and your own practice as a change agent, to approaches to change used in your organisation, and to organisational case studies.

Additional Course Details

3. Staff Contact Details

Position Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Facilitator in ChargeGeoffrey Mortimore

Facilitator in Charge

Each course has a Facilitator in Charge who is responsible for the academic leadership and overall academic integrity of the course. The Facilitator in Charge selects content and designs assessment tasks, and takes responsibility for specific academic and administrative issues related to the course. Facilitators in Charge oversee Facilitators and ensure that the ongoing standard of facilitation in the course is consistent with the quality requirements of the program.


The role of your Facilitator is to support and enhance the learning process by encouraging interaction among participants, providing direction in understanding the course content, assessing participant progress through the course and providing feedback on work submitted. Facilitators comprise academics and industry practitioners with relevant backgrounds.

4. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

Learning activities in different modes (when offered):

In both the Online Weekly and the Intensive deliveries of the course:

- an introductory videoconference will provide an opportunity to get to know other course participants and your Facilitator, and to clarify the assessment requirements and learning processes in the course.

In the Online Weekly delivery of the course:

- six week-long online dialogues and two additional videoconferences provide the main platforms for you to engage with other course participants and your Facilitator, as you explore and apply the ideas and tools in the course 

- the online dialogues offer opportunities to share your experiences as a change agent and your reflections on the challenges of organisational change, and to report about how you are applying what you are learning from the course in your work.

- your contributions to the online dialogues comprise the first assessment in the course.

In the Intensive delivery of the course:

- two non-consecutive weekends provide opportunities to apply the course concepts in a variety of participative activities and to work with your colleagues in the classroom to devise and implement ways of handling particular challenges in change management

- two online dialogues provide additional opportunities for you to share your reflections on the course

- your contributions to the Intensive weekends and to the two online dialogues comprise the first assessment in the course.

 In both modes of delivery, you will be encouraged to:

- continually apply course concepts to your work as a change agent, and to analyse and evaluate how change is led and managed in your organisation and other organisations

- use the action learning cycle to translate your reflections into action plans - either for your own development or for influencing the approaches others use to lead and manage change - and then to implement some of your plans during the course.

In both the Online Weekly and the Intensive deliveries of the course, there are three written assessments:

- The first provides an opportunity to examine your own approaches to change - in particular, your approaches to influencing and motivating others to change.

- In the second written assessment, you will analyse and evaluate some biases in organisational diagnosis and decision-making, suggest some hypotheses to explain the biases, and outline some measures to reduce or eliminate the biases.

- In the final written assessment, you will interview an experienced change agent about a change in which they played a significant managerial or leadership role and write an analysis and evaluation of their effectiveness.

These three assessments will enable you to practise and improve your skills in:

- diagnosis (identifying change issues that need to be addressed) and decision-making (deciding on changes to address the issues)

- analysing and evaluating approaches to change - your own and others'

- framing well-formulated plans for improved approaches - for your own development as a change agent, and for improved approaches to change in your organisation.

Learning partner or study group

You are strongly encouraged to seek out a learning partner or study group. A learning partner or study group can add a great deal of value to your learning in the course.

In forming your learning partnership/study group, it will be helpful to read the introductions that members of the class post in the online classroom. Once you have selected a learning partner/study group, spend some time discussing your learning goals for the partnership/group and the ways in which you will be working together, as well as the timing and location of your meetings.

Course Structure


Unit 1 sets the scene by outlining a framework for understanding the variety of processes involved in organisational change. We look at some distinctions between different types of change and at the different roles that change agents can play in organisational change. The Unit concludes with an examination of the reasons for the high failure rates in change programs.

Section 1: Influencing change

Unit 2 outlines some theories about the factors that influence human behaviour and discusses the implications of these theories for the change agent. In Unit 3, we look at the sources of power and the influencing methods that a change agent might use to bring about change.

Section 2: Perspectives on change

In this section, we examine some perspectives and theories that have significantly influenced thinking and practice about organisational change and how best to lead and manage it.

Unit 4 outlines the strategic perspective and the systems-thinking approach to understanding organisational change. In Unit 5, we explore a variety of perspectives on change and how a change agent could operate with multiple theories and perspectives.

Section 3: Diagnosis and prescription

Units 6 and 7 outline methods and tools for diagnosing the core change issues that need to be addressed, and for deciding on the best change to address these issues.

Section 4: Creating momentum for change

In Unit 8, we examine a variety of approaches to building commitment to change and, in Unit 9, ways of understanding resistance to change and constructively responding to it.

Unit 10 reviews some models of change leadership.

6. Course Resources

Course materials

The course materials comprise the Course Outline, the Assessment Details document, and 10 Units, each of which has one or more associated readings.

Each Unit comprises outlines of a range of topics, with exercises and readings. The outlines and readings provide concepts, frameworks and theories to help you reflect on your practice as a change agent and the approaches to change used in organisations, and to devise plans to improve your effectiveness as a change agent. The exercises in the Units encourage you to continually apply the course ideas to yourself and to your work as a change agent, and to explore their practical implications for your development. All course materials are posted in your Moodle online classroom, where you will also find other resources, e.g. guidance about writing assessments and details of assessment criteria.

Your Class Facilitator

Your Class Facilitator will support your learning by:

  • conducting videoconferences
  • facilitating the online and intensive classes (according to the mode of delivery)
  • facilitating online dialogues
  • giving guidance about course content and assessment requirements
  • providing feedback on the assessments that you complete during the course
  • assessing your progress through the course.

7. Course Evaluation & Development

Continual Course Improvement

AGSM courses are reviewed each time they run, with updated course outlines and assessment tasks developed.

Additionally, the data collected in the myExperience survey provides anonymous feedback from students on the quality of course content and materials, class facilitation, student support services and the program in general. This student feedback is considered during all course revisions.

Student Response

Respondents to the myExperience survey appreciated the course's emphasis on practical application, i.e. applying course concepts to improve approaches to change, both their own and approaches used in their organisation. Many respondents found the online dialogues an engaging way to broaden perspectives and pick up ideas about how develop more effective approaches.

Some respondents commented that:

  • the dialogues were difficult to navigate because of the volume of contributions
  • it was challenging to start a thread on a topic of their choice early in the dialogue week
  • guidance about writing the assessments was sometimes overlong and overdetailed
  • the number of concepts, theories and frameworks covered in the course was daunting.

Response to Student Feedback

In the Term 3, 2023 presentation of the course, the above feedback will be addressed as follows:

  • A different online dialogue format will be trialled as a way of making the dialogues easier to navigate
  • Early advice will be given about how to manage one's studies week by week to ensure that it is possible to make an early start in each online dialogue
  • The guidance about preparing assessments will be shortened and simplified
  • Stronger advice will be given to course participants to read selectively and to focus on the elements of the course that are the most relevant to their challenges in managing and leading change and to their development goals.

8. Course Schedule

Week Activity Topic Detail/Engagement Assessment Task
Week 1 Videoconference; Dialogue 1Unit 1 Change management and change agents

Videoconference 1 (recorded for those who are unable to attend)




Assessment 1 : Participation in online dialogues
Week 2 -Unit 2 Theories of human behaviour
Week 3 Dialogue 2Unit 3 Power and influence in organisational change
Assessment 1 : Participation in online dialogues
Week 4 -Units 4 Perspectives on change
Week 5 Dialogue 3Unit 5 Working with multiple perspectives

Assessment 2 is due on Monday 9 October 2023 by 3pm Sydney time

Assessment 1 : Participation in online dialogues
Assessment 2 : Action learning reviews
Week 6 VideoconferenceUnit 6 Diagnosis

Videoconference 2 (recorded for those who are unable to attend)

Week 7 Dialogue 4Unit 7 Deciding on the best change to make
Assessment 1 : Participation in online dialogues
Week 8 -Unit 8 Building commitment to change
Week 9 Dialogue 5Unit 9 Resistance to change

Assessment 3 is due on Monday 6 November 2023 by 3pm Sydney time

Assessment 1 : Participation in online dialogues
Assessment 3 : De-biasing diagnosis and decision-making
Week 10 Videoconference; Dialogue 6Unit 10 Change leadership

Videoconference 3 (recorded for those who are unable to attend)

Assessment 1 : Participation in online dialogues
Week 11 -
Week 12 -

Assessment 4 is due on Monday 27 November 2023 by 3pm Sydney time

Assessment 4 : Analysis and evaluation of a change agent's approaches to change

9. Policies and Support

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Business School places knowledge and capabilities at the core of its curriculum via seven Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs). These PLOs are systematically embedded and developed across the duration of all coursework programs in the Business School.

PLOs embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program. They articulate what you should know and be able to do upon successful completion of your degree.

Upon graduation, you should have a high level of specialised business knowledge and capacity for responsible business thinking, underpinned by ethical professional practice. You should be able to harness, manage and communicate business information effectively and work collaboratively with others. You should be an experienced problem-solver and critical thinker, with a global perspective, cultural competence and the potential for innovative leadership.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as required by the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

PLO 1: Business knowledge

Students will make informed and effective selection and application of knowledge in a discipline or profession, in the contexts of local and global business.

PLO 2: Problem solving

Students will define and address business problems, and propose effective evidence-based solutions, through the application of rigorous analysis and critical thinking.

PLO 3: Business communication

Students will harness, manage and communicate business information effectively using multiple forms of communication across different channels.

PLO 4: Teamwork

Students will interact and collaborate effectively with others to achieve a common business purpose or fulfil a common business project, and reflect critically on the process and the outcomes.

PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Students will develop and be committed to responsible business thinking and approaches, which are underpinned by ethical professional practice and sustainability considerations.

PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

Students will be aware of business systems in the wider world and actively committed to recognise and respect the cultural norms, beliefs and values of others, and will apply this knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments.

PLO 7: Leadership development

Students will develop the capacity to take initiative, encourage forward thinking and bring about innovation, while effectively influencing others to achieve desired results.

These PLOs relate to undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.  Separate PLOs for honours and postgraduate research programs are included under 'Related Documents'.

Business School course outlines provide detailed information for students on how the course learning outcomes, learning activities, and assessment/s contribute to the development of Program Learning Outcomes.



UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence
  • PLO 7: Leadership development

Professionals capable of ethical, self-directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice

Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • PLO 1: Business knowledge
  • PLO 2: Problem solving
  • PLO 3: Business communication
  • PLO 4: Teamwork
  • PLO 5: Responsible business practice
  • PLO 6: Global and cultural competence

While our programs are designed to provide coverage of all PLOs and graduate capabilities, they also provide you with a great deal of choice and flexibility.  The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against the seven PLOs and four graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You can use a portfolio as evidence in employment applications as well as a reference for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.


UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz:


The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at:

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: For information on student conduct see:

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

​Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website.


It is expected that you will spend at least ten to twelve hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of twenty to twenty four hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload


Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Student Support and Resources

​The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School EQS Consultation Program
The Consultation Program offers academic writing, literacy and numeracy consultations, study skills, exam preparation for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, individual and group consultations. 
Level 1, Room 1035, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 4508

Communication Resources
The Business School Communication and Academic Support programs provide online modules, communication workshops and additional online resources to assist you in developing your academic writing.

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning & Careers Hub
The UNSW Learning & Careers Hub provides academic skills and careers support services—including workshops, individual consultations and a range of online resources—for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
02 9385 2060

Student Support Advisors
Student Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
02 9385 4734

International Student Support
The International Student Experience Unit (ISEU) is the first point of contact for international students. ISEU staff are always here to help with personalised advice and information about all aspects of university life and life in Australia.
Advisors can support you with your student visa, health and wellbeing, making friends, accommodation and academic performance.
02 9385 4734

Equitable Learning Services
Equitable Learning Services (formerly Disability Support Services) is a free and confidential service that provides practical support to ensure that your health condition doesn't adversely affect your studies. Register with the service to receive educational adjustments.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
02 9385 5418

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
02 9385 1333