37443 - Organisational Change and Design of Business Processes M

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Docente: Matteo Vignoli
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: ING-IND/35
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Engineering Management (cod. 0936)

Learning outcomes

Provide the theoretical basis and operational tools to analyze and design the main organizational processes. This course assumes the perspective of organizational change and integration of technological, organizational and managerial dimensions in the design and implementation of change projects.

Course contents

The Business Processes Design and Organizational Change concerns the application of social science, design science, and engineering science research and practice to the study and implementation of new organizational designs, including the integrated structuring, modelling, development, and deployment of technologies and operational processes. Business Processes Design and Organizational Change aims at pursuing organizational effectiveness through designed organizational changes by creating and developing a plan for an artifact (product, structure, system, or component) with a specific intent. To enable these changes we intervene on organizational processes by using a design thinking approach.

Three are the main questions we need to pose ourselves when dealing with business process engineering projects. First, who are the people in charge of business process engineering projects and how should they work productively together? Second, how do they get an understanding of an organization when they are asked to re-design its processes? Third, what are the tools they can use for organizational design?

This course is aimed at addressing these issues and at building the competences necessary to design and manage business process anche change projects in complex contexts (e.g., characterized by geographic distribution, cultural differences, work ambiguity). The course will thus focus on two key distinct, but intertwined, issues:

  1. Data collection and analysis methods for a deep understanding of organizations;

  2. Tools for organizational design.




The course aims at building students’ knowledge on:

  • the theoretical background and applied tools of process oriented organizational analysis and design;

  • the main process modeling and simulation tools and techniques.





  1. Data collection and analysis methods for a deep understanding of organizations

  • Observation
  • Interview
  • Qualitative data analysis techniques
  • Survey
  • Experiments


2. Tools for organizational design

Business Process Engineering

  • Research

  • Analysis

  • Synthesis

  • Realization

Meaning and nature of business processes

  • Functional structure and integration processes

  • Process structure and business analysis

  • Understanding and leading performance

Business Process Modelling, Simulation and Design

  • Three perspectives on business processes (operational, strategic, change)

  • Business Process Modelling (BPMN, SD, Agent)

  • Business Process Simulation (DES, SD, ABS)

  • Business Process Design (Business Design Thinking)

Change Design and Management



On the teaching web portal IOL, at http://iol.unibo.it/ on the webpage dedicated to this course students will find:

  • A collection of required articles and book chapters. The articles are scientific papers published in top organizational and engineering journals. We understand that reading scientific research from the original sources (instead of finding a summary in a text book or a slide) is challenging, but we strongly believe that it represents an important learning experience. On a related note, there is not a one-to-one mapping between the required readings and class lectures. This mismatch is intentionally designed!

  • Suggested readings. Additional readings are provided to those of you who would like to understand more of specific topics

  • Lectures’ slides;

  • Cases and exercises for class discussion (after class discussion);

  • Software for process mapping and simulation.

List of required articles and book chapters available on IOL 

  1. Madsbjerg, C., Rasmussen, M. B. (2014) An Anthropologist Walks into a Bar, Harvard Business Review

  2. Dorst, K., (2011) The Core of Design Thinking and its application, Design Studies 32, 521-532

  3. Liedtka, Jeanne. "Perspective: Linking design thinking with innovation outcomes through cognitive bias reduction." Journal of Product Innovation Management 32.6 (2015): 925-938.

  4. Bertolotti, F., Macrì, D. and Vignoli, M. (2019), "Strategic alignment matrix: Supporting management coordination in complex organizations", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 557-579

  5. Marshak, R. J. (1993). Managing the metaphors of change. Organizational dynamics, 22(1), 44-56.

  6. Appelbaum, S. H., Habashy, S., Malo, J. L., & Shafiq, H. (2012). Back to the future: revisiting Kotter's 1996 change model. Journal of Management Development.

  7. Anylogic in Three Days

Required textbooks

Lewrick, Link e Leifer (2018) “The Design Thinking Playbook”

Suggested readings

  • Elsbach, K. D., and Stigliani, I. "Design thinking and organizational culture: A review and framework for future research." Journal of Management 44.6 (2018): 2274-2306.

  • Flower F. J. (2009) Designing Questions to be good measures. In F. J. Flower Survey Research Design, Thousand Oakes (CA): Sage Publications, pp. 87-113.

  • Dong, A. Lovallo, D. and Mounarath, R. "The effect of abductive reasoning on concept selection decisions." Design studies 37 (2015): 37-58.

  • Brown T. (2009) Change by Design: How Design Thinking Can Transform Organizations and Inspire Innovation, Harperbusiness

  • Liedtka, J. Ogilvie, T. (2011) Designing for growth: A design thinking tool kit for managers, Columbia University Press

  • Martin, R. (2009) “The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage” Harvard Business Press

  • Laloux, F. (2014) “Reinventing Organizations” Nelson Parker

  • Tabrizi, B. (2007) “Rapid Transformation”, Harvard Business School Press

  • Gassmann, O. Frnkenberger, K. and Csik, M. (2014) “The Business Model Navigator” FT Publishing

  • Kumar, V. (2012) “101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization”, John Wiley & Sons Inc

Teaching methods

Class hours will be filled with theory lectures, invited talks delivered by professionals from different fields and companies, case discussions, simulations, and laboratory sessions. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in all class sessions and activities.

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend Module 1, 2 online, while Module 3 on health and safety is to be attended in class. Information about Module 3 attendance schedule is available on the website of your degree programme

Class attendance is expected and will be taken at every class. Additionally, it is important that you arrive on time, ready to learn and participate. Two are the main activities that attendants will be asked to perform during the course: a project work in a team and an individual take home exam.

a. Team project

Attendants will be divided into projects teams to conduct a project work. Working on a joint project is the best way to learn about how to build and manage a great team and how to conduct, in practice, a business process design and change project. Former students relate that working with their team in this class taught them a lot about themselves and others. However, some teams are more challenging than others. While this is good because you will learn more, it also can create frustration.

Professors will form the project teams. Each team will be in charge of conducting a business process design and change project. Specifically, it will be assigned to an organization facing a specific challenge and will apply the concepts and techniques learned during the course in order to drive a change process within the organization.

Each team will be assigned a mentor, i.e. a professional with experience in organizational processes and design thinking. Each team will produce 4 deliverables.

The teams will be responsible for organizing with the organization's contact persons for the planned meetings and any further meetings deemed necessary to carry out the project. Meetings can be held at the organization's premises, if available and suitable, or at the University's premises, in agreement with the teacher.

b. Take home paper

In addition to team project work, individual attendants will be asked to deliver a take home paper discussing the individual experience on the project. Each student will prepare a discussion, based on both practical and theoretical knowledge acquired during the course. 

The two activities just described (team project and take home paper) are mainly conducted out of class hours. Given that each course credit implies 10 hours of class activities and 15 hours of out of class independent work, we designed the course workload so that the out of class activities would cover a total of 90 hours. We encourage attendant students to keep track of their time in a journal and to review the log both individually and within their teams and to discuss it with the professors in order to allocate the correct effort to the different activities.

Assessment methods

In addition to the team efforts of project deliverables and the individual work on the take home paper, at the end of the course the students will undergo an oral examination. In order to participate in the oral examination students need to score more than 18/30 on the two evaluated project deliverables and the take home paper. The oral exam will focus mainly on a discussion about the team project. During the oral examination a student needs to show that he/she masters, also from a theoretical standpoint, the topics and materials that are presented in this syllabus.

The final individual evaluation will be based on:

  • Team project 50% (team evaluation)

  • Take home paper 20% (individual evaluation)

  • Oral exam 30% (individual evaluation)

  • Class participation 5% (individual bonus)

Teaching tools

Simulation lessons will require the use of a laptop with Anylogic Personal Learning Edition installed.

Office hours

See the website of Matteo Vignoli


Good health and well-being Quality education Decent work and economic growth Industry, innovation and infrastructure

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.