Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI

Managing People, Managing Teams, and Leading Change (Wintersemester 2022/2023)

Lecturer: PhD Ulf Schäfer

General Information

  • Weekly Hours: 2
  • Credits: 3
  • Graded: yes
  • Enrolment Deadline: 01.10.2022 - 31.10.2022
  • Examination time §9 (4) BAMA-O: 27.03.2023
  • Teaching Form: Block seminar
  • Enrolment Type: Compulsory Elective Module
  • Course Language: English
  • Maximum number of participants: 20

Programs, Module Groups & Modules

IT-Systems Engineering MA
  • Professional Skills
    • HPI-PSK-ML Management und Leitung
Data Engineering MA
Digital Health MA
Cybersecurity MA
Software Systems Engineering MA


Course content and learning objectives

The seminar covers crucial issues of managing and leading in organizational contexts. Each of the three classroom days will cover a specific topic. First, we focus on managing people: we will discuss challenges associated with the idea of “getting things done through others”. Second, we look at the social aspect of organizational life: we discuss the social identity approach to understand how groups influence and change individual members’ thoughts and behaviours. We specifically look at decision making in groups, investigating phenomena such as social loafing, groupthink, and polarization in groups; knowledge about these phenomena and their “inner workings” may help to understand when work in groups and teams is beneficial—or when it may be detrimental to objectives and outcomes. Last, we look at dealing with change as the key discipline of organizational leaders: we will explore patterns and dynamics typical for change processes. We specifically look at adaptive change (as juxtaposed to mere technical change) that requires human beings to change their own behaviour.

The course will aim at the following learning objectives:

  • Students familiarize themselves with key terminology, tools, concepts, and theory relating to managing and leading people and teams in organizations;
  • Via a deeper understanding of the human side of organizational life, students are enabled to realistically assess challenges of developing and implementing technology in organizational contexts;
  • Students have access to tools and frameworks that help them assess themselves as organizational managers and leaders – and kick-start their development in becoming reflective practitioners.

Core themes addressed are:

  • Authorizing leadership
  • Managing others
  • Exploring leadership styles
  • Understanding social groups
  • When teams outperform individuals (and when they don’t)
  • The psychology of persuasion
  • Dynamics and patterns in change processes
  • Understanding and leading adaptive change


  • Participants should be comfortable communicating in English
  • Commitment to preparing assigned material prior to classroom sessions to ensure own learning and the learning of peers
  • Commitment to deepen understanding of covered topic through assignments following classroom sessions


  • (Mandatory and recommended) pre-session and post-session reading assignments will be communicated via the detailed course syllabus; the following are general reading recommendations (we will typically only cover individual chapters in this seminar).
  • Hogg. M. & Vaughan, G (2017), Social Psychology: An introduction, 8th Ed.
  • Forsyth, D. R. (2018). Group dynamics. Cengage Learning.
  • Haslam, S. A. (2004). Psychology in organizations. Sage.
  • Heifetz, R., & Linsky, M. (2017). Leadership on the line, with a new preface: Staying alive through the dangers of change. Harvard Business Press.
  • Kets de Vries, M. F. (2006). The leadership mystique: Leading behavior in the human enterprise. Pearson Education.


This course has not been designed as a merely intellectual exercise, but to build upon and integrate your ideas, expertise, and experiences. Classroom sessions will focus on experiential formats, case study discussions, exercises and (thought) experiments. Mini lectures – presenting tools and models overwhelmingly rooted in rigorous academic research – will complement interactive elements. Participants are expected to deepen their understanding of the themes discussed via engaging with mandatory (and recommended) literature.  Slides and other resources will be analyzed in class (and distributed electronically after class), while mandatory readings will be prepared individually prior to class. In addition to our sessions in-class, further mandatory readings will be assigned.


  • Preparation of classroom sessions
    • Read assigned cases and articles, prepare assignments
  • Classroom sessions
    • Active and constructive participation in classroom discussions
  • Follow-up on classroom sessions / group presentation
    • Read assigned articles / chapters
    • Presentation of work on a selected theme (e.g. discussion of a case related to one of the themes covered in the course); written documentation
  • Gewichtung der Leistungen / weigthing
    • Preparation of classroom sessions: 30%
    • Classroom sessions: 30%
    • Group presentations (online): 40%



  • 14.01.2023, Raum H-2.57/58
  • 28.01.2023, Raum F-E.06
  • 11.02.2023, Raum H-2.57/58

jeweils 9:30-17:30 Uhr