mba 236 | Syllabus


Spring 2010                                                                                           Professor Jerry D. Estenson


College of Business Administration


MBA 236 - Special Topics - Leading Transformational Change in Complex Organizations Using Multiple Lens


OFFICE:                            Tahoe – 2048
OFFICE HOURS:               MW: 2:30 - 4:00 and by appointment              
OFFICE PHONE                Good Choice:  278-6781 (CSUS) 
EMAIL:                               Good Choice: (Campus)
                                          (Messages picked up on Monday and Wednesday)
                                          Best Choice (Other World)
                                          (Messages picked up seven days a week)

Required Text for all seminar participants:

Please read books in the order in which they appear on this list. Sequential reading will facilitate your participation in the class.



1. Andriopoulos, Constantine & Dawson, Patrick Soder, (2009). Managing Change, Creativity and Innovation. Thousand Oaks, CA
Jossey Bass.

2. Beach Roy Lee. (2006). Leadership and the Art of Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

3. Auletta, Ken. (2009). Googled: The End of the World as We Know It. New York: Penguin Press

4. Ricks, Thomas E. (2009). The Gamble: General David Petraeus and American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006 - 2008



Immett, Jeffrey, Govindaranjan, Vijay & Trimble, Chris. How GE disrupted itself. Harvard Business Review Reprint Number: R0910D


Case Studies:

Kanter, Rosabeth Moss. (October 7, 2009) IBM in the 21st Century: The Coming of the Globally Integrated Enterprise. HBR Case Number: 9-308-105



Burgleman, Leslie (May 19, 2008). The Renault - Nissan Alliance in 2008: Exploiting the Potential of a Novel Organizational Form. Stanford Graduate School of Business. Available through Harvard Business School Press. Case Number: SM-166


Self Created Case Study:

Goldman Sachs - From Chaos to Profitability



From the instructor's perspective organizations that are able to accomplish their purpose and consistently outperform their peers are those who can change out their engines while in flight. To perform this seemingly impossible feat requires significant leadership which entails a clear view of the organization's potential, a plan to get there and behaviors that support others along the journey. At the core of the leader's behavior is understanding their and the organization's strengths and weakness. To assist in understanding this complex process we will use many tools as reflected in the above list of readings.


You will be expected by course end to have mastered a number of techniques available to transform organizations and to understand leadership behaviors required to drive change. In addition you will have demonstrated the ability to analyze complex change initiatives to determine what factors contributed to their success or failure. All of this will be done in a high- paced intense learning environment. This environment is created to simulate the world in which you will operate as you move to more senior positions in organizations.


This approach to learning has proven highly successful in developing senior leaders and will provide an opportunity for you to decide if you are going to lead or become a technocrat. Organizations need people in both roles and it is important that you sort out at which end of the continuum you want to spend your energy and talent.


Attempting to learn and teach in this environment is challenging for both the instructor and the student. With that in mind we can expect difficulties and adjustments. How we handle these challenges will be part of our joint learning process.



During the seminar you will be introduced to the concepts and practice of leadership and organizational behavior through a collection of readings which we will translate into models used to explain human behavior in organizations. Through developing and apply models we can learn how possible leader actions may stimulate responses from followers. These perspectives provide different world-views, complete with assumptions about the nature of human kind, the role of organizations, and what should or should not be done by a leader. Several of these views will be in conflict. For instances viewing a leader as a Jazz musician is very different than a leader as military commander and viewing the leader as facilitator is very different from leader as NFL coach. These leadership metaphors will be developed as you progress through the readings, listen to the riveting lectures, participate in class discussions and conduct your analysis.



Goal One

Provide the opportunity to study different theories related to the art and practice of leading change. This process should stimulate new ways of thinking about leader and follower behaviors in organizations.

           Active involvement in class discussion of theories and demonstration of knowledge of concepts
           in observations papers. Ability to translate knowledge into a thoughtful analysis of a leader's

Goal Two

Provide leadership opportunities in class settings.

           Application of lessons learned in classroom to class assignments are an integral part of the
          process and should lead to transferring new knowledge to a work place.

Goal Three

Increase competencies necessary to handle complex leader-follower-organizational relationships by better understanding fundamental concepts of human behavior in an organization.

          Modify behavior at work, on teams, and in the classroom to reflect a contextually appropriate
          leadership style and appropriate use of your talent.


Mastery of Basic Leadership Concepts

You will be tested to insure that you have mastered the assigned material. You will be called upon in class to provide your perspective on various leadership theories and analysis of cases studied and readings. These are opportunities to demonstrate that you have mastered the language and fundamental concepts of leadership and imbedded human drives.

Mastery of Complex Tools Needed to Analyze Change

You will prepare case analysis of organizations in different sectors. You will critique the behavior or increasingly larger organizations and their efforts to transform themselves


Performance Metrics

Class Participation (10%)

You will be expected to come to class having read all pre-class assignments. You will be asked to present your views on the articles and any significant learning which resulted from the readings and case analysis. Higher grades will be given to students who consistently provide relevant and quality observations on readings and exercises, are willing to take on the role of leader or follower in class exercises, and are a willing participant in group discussions. In addition each candidate will be placed in the role of leader for a group activity. How effectively they perform the role of leader will have an impact on this metric.


Instructor's Expectation;

Each candidate will attend class prepared to participate in discussions and contribute to their team. They will conduct themselves in a professional manner demonstrating respect for other seminar members. They will not attempt to control discussions but will make thoughtful contributions that assist group learning.

Individual Master (20 %)


Individual Papers:

At the onset of the course each candidate will prepare a short paper which contains three key elements:
1. What they view as the most significant issue facing an organization today. They are free to pick the organization
2. What do they determine to be the core issues contributing to the problem
3. What course of action would they propose the organization take to address the issue
At the end of the course each candidate will prepare the same paper on the same organization.


Instructor Expectation:

During the semester you will develop a higher skill set in recognizing organizational issues and preparation of recommendations.


Are you actually doing the reading:

At the conclusion of each block of basic knowledge (readings) you will be given a short multiple choice exam based on the material.


Instructor's Expectation:

Each candidate will have read the assigned material and have mastered the key concepts to the extent that they will receive a score of 90% or higher on each examination

Team Analysis and Recommendation of Assigned Case Studies (30%)

The class will be divided into study teams. The teams will be responsible for preparing a written analysis and a 15 minute seminar on their evaluation of the case and their recommendation/observations. The structure of the seminar can take any form the group decides but must cover as a minimum: key factors affecting the organization's environment, an issue definition, analysis of root cause, options and recommendation/major observation.


Instructor's Expectations:

Each team will prepare a well written paper and seminar using models contained in course texts, academic material or publicly available material on the organization under study. The paper will contain all elements discussed above and should not exceed five pages in length. Delivery of the material during the seminar will be left up to the team. As part of the presentation each team will prepare a one page briefing paper for the entire class. The paper will be handed out at the start of the presentation. Each team's presentation will be graded by the instructor and the class. The written analysis will constitute 70% of the value of the project and the presentation will make up 30%.


Team Analysis of Assigned Organizations (40%)

You will again be broken into action teams to evaluate the actions of leaders in Google and the United States Military National Command structure. Your team will analyze the data provided in the books and present a written analysis of the organizations in a manner similar to the approach used in the in case studies. Again your team will be asked to present your analysis and recommendation to the entire class and provide the instructor with a written copy. The same point distribution between paper and presentation will be used.


Instructor Expectations:

Your team will have mastered the skill of case analysis, problem statement development, alternative creation, and presentation of a thoughtful support recommendation. The result will be a tightly crafted written analysis which will not exceed five (5) pages in length. You will also be skilled in presenting a tightly crafted analysis, problem statement, set of alternatives and recommendation/observation to your peers.


Additional Instructor Expectation:
Dazzle them with your brilliance.



Activity Point per activity Total Points
Class Participation 100 starting point. You will lose points as you miss classes or failure to connect brain and mouth during class discussions 100
Individual Activities Your view of an organization paper. 40 points for each paper 80
  Are you doing the reading check points? Three exams 40 each exam 120
Case Studies Three case studies 100 points per study 300
Major Organization Change Study Two organizations: Google and United States Military. 200 points per study 400
Total Points   1000



The following course guide is provided to help focus our learning activities. The instructor reserves to right to modify the sequence or content to match the flow of the seminar.

Date/Week Readings Topic Activity

Week One

January 25


Chapter 1
Managing Change, Creativity and Innovation Course Overview
Teaching philosophy
First writing assignment
Discussion on levels of analysis
Chapter activities

Week Two

February 1 Monday

Chapter 2, 3, 4
Change Process
Management History
Creative Economy

Week Three

February 8

Chapter 5, 6, 7
The individual
The Group
The Leader
Exam One

Week Four

February 15

Chapter 8, 9, 10
Internal Systems
The Organization

Week Five

February 22

Chapter 11, 12
Conclusion of discussions on organizational creativity
Exam Two

Week Six

March 1

1, 2, 3
Leader Behaviors  

Week Seven

March 8

4, 5, 6, 7
Leader Behaviors Exam Three

Week Eight

March 15

G.E. Article
IBM Case
Change from CEO perspective
Organizational Analysis and Presentation
Start work on IBM case

Week Nine

March 22

IBM Case
Nissan Case
Changing a Global Organization: A unique approach
Present IBM case
Start work on Nissan case
March 29 - April 4

Week Ten

April 5

Nissan case
Goldman Saks case
  Present Nissan case
Start work on Goldman Saks

Week Eleven

April 12

Goldman Saks case
Google Book

Changing an organization in a troubled industry

Present Goldman Saks
Start work on Google analysis

Week Twelve

April 19

Google From start up to adult organization Work on Google analysis

Week Thirteen

April 26

  Present Google
Start work on Gamble

Week Fourteen

May 3

Changing an organization while fighting a war Work on Gamble analysis

Week Fifteen

May 10

  Present Gamble
Turn in final organizational analysis paper

Finals Week
Date of final to be determined. Exact date and place will be announced in class.



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