SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Innovation and Organisational Change

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 2

The public sector has witnessed substantial change in recent years, and change looks set to continue. Such changes began about two decades ago and were marked by a desire to privatise and ‘roll back’ the public sector. Although these processes are continuing on a global scale, more recent changes have focused on improving the capabilities of the public sector, often in terms of capacity building, or institutional or sectoral development. This in turn has led to significant changes for individual public sector organisations. Many of these changes or reform programmes have recast public sector organisations as being smaller and decentralised, often with a short lifespan, and being opened up to ‘market forces’. Of course, many large-scale bureaucracies remain; but even here change is occurring. At the same time, new managerial processes associated, for example, with human resource management or management information systems have been introduced. This course is about how managers understand and implement innovation and organisational change, thereby helping them to fulfil their responsibilities.

This module provides an understanding of the management of public sector entities, especially including topics related to innovation and organisational change. The module will tackle issues such as, for example: How do public managers conceive their role in the contemporary pressures to deliver public services? How do innovations in the public sector happen and are implemented successfully? How can public managers effectively conduct change processes? Students will learn about these and other issues through a combination of lectures, case studies and class activities.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

  • Understand the particular challenges of managing public sector entities
  • Explain how the innovation process works and devise strategies for implementation
  • Develop the capacity to orchestrate and carry out organisational change
  • Critically appraise the role of culture, power, politics and leadership in public sector entities



This module consists of a 2-hour weekly lecture over 10 weeks of term plus a revision lecture in term 3 as preparation for the final examination. Students will be supplied with a syllabus with a breakdown week by week of required and additional reading. Reading materials are usually accessed electronically from the BLE and students should come to class prepared.


This module also has a weekly 1-hour tutorial where the questions posed by the tutor relevant to the lecture are explored and discussed by the students. Students also prepare and deliver a short presentation.

Total Workload:

Students on this module will have 3 taught hours each week. Additionally, adequate personal study time should be allocated for reading and class preparation.

Scope and syllabus

  1. The role of managers in innovation and change processes
  2. Organisational design and routines
  3. The innovation process
  4. Organisational change
  5. Organisational learning
  6. Organisational culture
  7. Power and organisational politics
  8. Leadership
  9. Managing organisational networks

Method of assessment

  1. A Portfolio of 2,500 words at 40%
  2. One essay of 2,500 words at 40%
  3. One 30 minute presentation at 20%

All elements except the presentation may be resubmitted


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules