Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI

Leading People, Teams, and Change (Sommersemester 2024)

Lecturer: Dr. Ulf Schäfer

General Information

  • Weekly Hours: 2
  • Credits: 3
  • Graded: yes
  • Enrolment Deadline: 01.04.2024 - 15.04.2024
  • Examination time §9 (4) BAMA-O: 12.05.2024
  • 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
Data Engineering MA
Digital Health MA
Cybersecurity MA
Software Systems Engineering MA
  • Professional Skills
    • HPI-PSK-ML Management and Leadership


Course content and learning objectives

The seminar covers crucial issues of managing and leading in organizational contexts. First, we focus on leading people and discuss challenges associated with “getting things done through others”. Second, we look at the social aspect of organizational life and 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 and 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.

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, teams, and change 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
  • Leading others
  • Exploring leadership styles
  • Understanding social groups
  • When teams outperform individuals (and when they don’t)
  • Dynamics and patterns in change processes
  • Understanding and shaping organizational culture


  • 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 (28%): Read assigned cases and articles, prepare (four) short assignments (see questions in the detailed session description*)
  • Individual assignment (36%): After the classroom phase, each student will need to provide an analysis of culture of an organization they have experience with (see assignment specifications at the end of the detailed session descriptions*)
  • Group project (36%): Presentation of work on a group project assignment (online); documentation of presentation (see assignment specifications at the end of the detailed session descriptions*)

*detailed session description is made available after the end of the enrollment period


27.04.2024 online (13.00 - 16.30 h)

10.05./11.05.2024 09.30 - 17.30 h each
12.05.2024 09.30 - 13.00 h

Room: H-2.57/58

Contact: Ulf.Schaefer.e(at)esmt.org