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Sloan School of Management

Leading Change in Complex Organizations

Organizational Change: Three Perspectives from John Van Maanen
May 11—15, 2020
5 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 9500
USD 1900 per day

How it works


The 21st century organization is enormously complex, difficult to understand, and even more difficult to manage. Effective managers must have a strong knowledge of the people in the organization and the tasks they perform. They must also have the skills to use that knowledge in practical and flexible ways.

Leading Change in Complex Organizations presents innovative perspectives on organizational challenges, offering proven tools and frameworks to address them. The issues examined in the program—ranging from digitization to dynamic work design to workplace meritocracy—apply across sectors, industries, regions, and technical domains.

This is a highly interactive program that draws managers and executives from around the world. As a participant in this program you will learn frameworks that are grounded in research and demonstrated through classroom conversations, exercises, group work, case studies and a software-based business simulation. The program is taught by world renowned MIT Sloan faculty as well as non-academic practitioners who demonstrate the application of course material.

In this program, you will acquire an understanding of:

  • Forces that are transforming traditional management goals and practices
  • Practical tools and techniques for galvanizing the organization around change
  • Innovative incentives that organizations can offer to attract, retain, and manage employees who do not respond to familiar workplace rewards or aspire to traditional careers
  • Diagnosing organizational cultures and the role they play in change projects
  • Frameworks for making strategic business decisions in light of digitization and data analytics
  • Principles and methods of dynamic work design
  • Critical success factors for implementing technological change in environments where failure rates are commonplace and few technologies seem to be implemented smoothly
  • And, in general, why great ideas don’t get implemented—and how to overcome the many barriers to change.

Sample Schedule — Subject to Change


  • 8:00AM - 9:00AM Registration and Breakfast
  • 9:00AM - 10:30AM Program Introductions and Welcome to MIT
  • 10:30AM - 11:00AM Break
  • 11:00AM - 12:15PM Group Exercise: Anticipated Program Takeaways
  • 12:15PM - 1:30PM Group Photo and Lunch
  • 1:30PM - 3:00PM Leading Change: Actions and Choices that Help Deliver Change
  • 3:00PM - 3:30PM Break
  • 3:30PM - 5:00PM Leading Change: Actions and Choices Part 2


  • 8:00AM - 8:30AM Breakfast
  • 8:30AM - 9:00AM Study Groups
  • 9:00AM - 10:30AM Three Perspectives on Leadership
  • 10:30AM - 11:00AM Break
  • 11:00AM - 12:30PM Three Perspectives on Leadership (cont'd)
  • 12:30PM - 1:30PM Networking Lunch
  • 1:30PM - 3:00PM Dynamic Work Design
  • 3:00PM - 3:30PM Break
  • 3:30PM - 5:00PM DWD in Action: Broad Institute Tour
  • 5:30PM - 7:00PM Networking Reception and Speaker Series: Building Value from the Digital Workplace


  • 8:00AM - 8:30AM Breakfast
  • 8:30AM - 9:00AM Study Groups
  • 9:30AM - 10:30AM IT and Digital Platforms
  • 10:30AM - 11:00AM Break
  • 11:00AM - 12:30PM IT and Digital Platforms (cont'd)
  • 12:30PM - 1:30PM Networking Lunch
  • 1:30PM - 3:00PM Motivation and Strategic Change
  • 3:00PM - 3:30PM Break
  • 3:30PM - 5:00PM Case Study on Change


  • 8:00AM - 8:30AM Breakfast
  • 8:30AM - 9:00AM Study Groups
  • 9:00AM - 10:30AM Networks and Power
  • 10:30AM - 11:00AM Break
  • 11:00AM - 12:30PM Networks and Power Cont'd
  • 12:30PM - 1:30PM Networking Lunch
  • 1:30PM - 3:00PM The Psychology of Getting Things Done
  • 3:00PM - 3:30PM Break
  • 3:30PM - 5:00PM Innovation and Change
  • 6:30PM - 8:30PM Group Dinner


  • 8:00AM - 8:30AM Breakfast
  • 8:30AM - 12:30PM The Change Process Simulation
  • 12:30PM - 1:00PM Closing and Certificates
  • 1:00PM - 1:30PM Grab and Go Lunch

Who should attend

This program is designed for general managers and senior functional managers who coordinate diverse groups and groups of diverse individuals. It can also benefit staff executives who manage training and education. The benefits of the program are reinforced when three or more managers from the same organization attend. Companies are encouraged to sponsor cross-functional team participation. Titles of past participants have included:

  • VP, Human Development
  • Executive Manager, Communications
  • Director, Organizational Learning
  • COO
  • Change Manager
  • EVP, Operations
  • Director, Corporate Strategy
  • Director of Organizational Development
  • Deputy Branch Chief
  • Director of Projects and Management Systems
  • Executive Director, Process Excellence
  • Manager, Organization and Methods
  • Manager, Strategic Human Resources
  • Organizational Development Specialist
  • Organizational Development and Training Lead
  • Programs and Business Development Manager
  • Senior Business Engineer
  • Executive Manager, HR


Roberto M. Fernandez is an organizational sociologist who currently serves as the head of MIT Sloan’s Behavioral and Policy Sciences area, and as co-director of its Ph.D. program in Economic Sociology. His executive teaching duties include the management of innovation, change, and human resources...
Jeanne W. Ross directs and conducts academic research that targets the challenges of senior level executives at CISR's more than eighty global sponsor companies. She studies how firms develop competitive advantage through the implementation and reuse of digitized platforms. Her work has appeared ...
John Van Maanen is the Erwin H. Schell Professor of Management and a Professor of Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He works within the fields of organization behavior and theory. Van Maanen            is an ethnographer of organizations ranging in type from police orga...
Sheila Dodge is the Senior Director of Operations and Development for the Genomics Platform at the Broad Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. She directs a team of more than150 scientists, engineers and laboratory technicians who develop and run DNA sequencing production processes. She oversees da...
Dr. Elsbeth Johnson is an expert in leadership, strategy and change. Having previously worked in investment banking, in business and in government, she now splits her time between academia and consulting. She teaches Organisational Behaviour on the Sloan and EMBA Programmes at LBS; Strategy and ...


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