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

Managing People, Managing Teams, and Leading Change (Wintersemester 2020/2021)

Dozent: PhD Ulf Schäfer

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 2
  • ECTS: 3
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 01.10.2020-20.11.2020
  • Lehrform: Blockseminar
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Englisch
  • Maximale Teilnehmerzahl: 20

Studiengänge & Module

IT-Systems Engineering MA
  • Management und Leitung
Data Engineering MA
Digital Health MA
Cybersecurity MA


Informationen im Hinblick auf die aktuelle Corona-Krise: Das Seminar wird nun doch auf ein digitales Format umgestellt und snychron zu den unten angegebenen Zeiten über Zoom durchgefürt. (Stand: 20.11.2020)

Course content and learning objectives

The seminar covers crucial issues of managing and leading in organizational contexts. The in total full three classroom days will each focus on a specific cluster. 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 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. 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
  • Understanding individual needs and preferences
  • Managing others and exploring leadership styles
  • Understanding social groups
  • Why teams outperform individuals – and why they don’t
  • The psychology of persuasion
  • Dynamics and patterns in change processes
  • Understanding and leading adaptive change
  • Influencing others


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

Course Etiquette

In your own interest and of your fellow students, please try to observe the following courtesy rules (adding and not replacing any specifics set for by HPI):

  1. Arrive in class on time; do not leave early.
  2. Keep your mobiles and laptops off; do not use wireless network emailing in class.
  3. Minimize wandering in and out of the classroom.
  4. Participate fully in class.
  5. Pull your weight in group/joint work. Do not free-ride on your peers!
  6. Hand in assignments on time.


Students who participate on site are kindly asked to bring a laptop and a headset (incl. microphone).


  • Hogg & Vaughan, Social Psychology, 8th Ed.
  • (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)
  • 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.
  • De Vries, M. F. K. (2006). The leadership mystique: Leading behavior in the human enterprise. Pearson Education.

Lern- und Lehrformen

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%
    • Follow-up on classroom sessions / group presentation: 40%



  • Friday 11 Dec 2020 9.30 am - 5.30 pm
  • Saturday 12 Dec 2020 9.30 am - 1 pm
  • Friday 22 Jan 2021 9.30 am - 5.30 pm
  • Saturday 23 Jan 2021 9.30 am - 1 pm

The course will be held online via Zoom. The course instructor will send you the meeting details by e-mail.