Organizational Change Leadership Program Design

Program Design

The outcome of the program is “change agency” efficacy; in other words, upon graduation students are competent agents of change. Throughout their studies, students build practical change leadership skills by carrying out hands-on consulting engagements at three levels of the organization. Students learn how to assess and develop productive individuals, how to evaluate and develop effective groups, and how to diagnose and develop successful organizations. In addition to practicing consulting skills, students develop deep understandings in key knowledge areas directly linked to the management and leadership of change. They study seminal and contemporary readings in the leadership, learning, strategy, culture, and change literatures. Finally, underlying the program is an orientation on globalization, a perspective that takes a broader, more critical view of experience, knowledge, and learning. Students seek to understand the links between their own lives and those of people throughout the world as they master the knowledge and skills necessary to be helpful agents of change who value tolerance, solidarity, equality, justice, inclusion, co-operation and non-violence.

A Diverse Network
Upon admission to the program, students become part of a growing community of professionals working in a variety of organizations and industries whose primary intention is leading effective change.

Project-based Learning
Throughout the program, students build change agency expertise by carrying out real-world consulting projects with organizations external to the university.

Evidence-based Change Leadership
Students practice organizational change leadership through the use of science based principles and knowledge, valid and relevant organizational facts, and critical thinking.

Immediate Knowledge and Skill Applicability
Students study organizational change theory, concepts, models, and best practices in the classroom and apply them the next day in their workplaces.

Pertinent Knowledge Areas
Students build strong foundations in knowledge areas germane to their on-the-job challenges: organizational change, leadership, culture, learning, group dynamics, and organization diagnosis and consulting.

Distinguished Guest Speakers
Students interact with prominent local and national scholars, consultants, and organizational leaders to practice present-day methods for leading effective change.

Program Format
The program offers a flexible format in which students complete the degree at their own pace over a 2 to 4-year period.

Course Delivery
Courses are delivered through online, hybrid, and face-to-face formats to meet the needs of students who juggle multiple commitments while pursuing an advanced degree.

Two Locations
Classes are offered at our main campus in Kalamazoo and at WMU Grand Rapids offering working professionals flexibility in entering and completing the program.

Community Membership
Joining the OCL program provides students with immediate access to a community of researchers and practitioners committed to expanding and deepening knowledge of organizational change.

Applied Capstone Project

The Applied Capstone Project (ACP) is an action research project designed to increase an individual’s capacity to lead effective organizational change. A requirement for successfully completing the degree, students identify a need for change, either within their own organization or with a client organization, and carry out an actual consulting engagement. Students master the role of the change agent and key skills of organizational consulting including: entry, diagnosis, action planning, implementation, evaluation, and termination. In addition, students become skilled at the principles of action research, a skillset that will become an essential component of their practice as a change agent. All consultations are required to be theory-based, empirically-driven, and to adhere to established applied research protocols. Throughout the ACP process students receive skilled change leadership coaching from program faculty.