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Virtual Reality for Change Management Intervention: The University of Sydney Business School

Virtual Reality for Change Management Intervention: The University of Sydney Business School

At the University of Sydney, our primary goal was to provide MBA students with an immersive learning experience that demonstrates how VR could be used to help people understand and address organizational complexities, particularly in relation to egocentric behavior. Our aim was to drive change following the Kotter model, a widely recognized change management framework that businesses use to influence and implement organizational change from within.




Student participation and utilization of VR hardware and application.

Agreed that VR is an effective tool for learning new skills and concepts.

Acknowledged the potential of VR for facilitating organizational change.


The University of Sydney Business School boasts an international reputation for its outstanding offerings in business and management education. Recognized as part of the top 1% of global business schools, the institution holds the prestigious triple crown accreditation from AACSB, AMBA, and EQUIS. Associate Professor Diane van den Broek, an esteemed interdisciplinary researcher, leads the MPO program. Diane’s work focuses on transforming policy structures to improve the conditions of marginalized workers, which informs her commitment to inquiry-based learning. This dedication is reflected in the MPO program, that is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of organizational culture, power dynamics, influence, and diversity in the face of evolving global trends.

To enhance the student experience further, the University of Sydney Business School collaborated with Dealplay to introduce a VR immersive learning experience into the MPO program. This module aimed to create an engaging and dynamic learning environment that closely simulates real-world organizational challenges.

Change Management Intervention

A crucial component of the MPO program requires students to devise a change management intervention using the Kotter Framework to tackle a specific organizational challenge. The Kotter Framework, developed by Professor John P. Kotter of Harvard Business School, provides a systematic approach for addressing organizational change.

In this context, VR technology was introduced as a unique platform for implementing change management interventions. Its immersive and interactive capabilities offer a safe and controlled environment where individuals can familiarize themselves with new organizational processes, structures, or behaviors in real-time. This immersive experience mitigates the fear and resistance commonly associated with change, facilitating the acceptance of complex changes that are often challenging to visualize or comprehend using traditional methods.

Virtual Reality for Change Management Intervention: The University of Sydney Business School

Managing Egocentric Behavior

To provide students with a realistic VR staged intervention in a corporate environment, the University of Sydney Business School collaborated with Dealplay to develop multiple simulations, replicating examples of egocentric behavior in group settings. Egocentric behavior, known to hinder innovation, cause resistance to change, and impede open communication within teams, was the focus of the VR Experience. The simulation featured four scenarios showcasing various manifestations of egocentric behavior, such as indifference, dominating conversations, self-centeredness, and excessive concern about others' opinions. Experienced from the perspective of a manager conducting a team meeting, the objective was to address the promotion of one team member to director and discuss the impact of the change in role on the rest of the team.

The creation of the VR experience involved several phases of implementation and planning. During the concept development phase, the requirements of the MPO program and the specific learning outcomes related to managing egocentric behavior were carefully examined. Key concepts were identified and explored, laying the foundation for the instructional design of the VR experience. An assessment criteria diagnostic was conducted to align the VR immersive learning with existing pedagogy and assessment criteria, resulting in recommendations for an effective blended learning experience based on the analysis of existing learning materials.

In the prototyping stage, low-fidelity versions of the VR module were created and tested with the University. Feedback from testing phase was incorporated to enhance the user experience and ensure the module effectively addressed the desired learning outcomes.


The revised implementation plan involved students forming groups of seven, with two students at a time rotating through the VR experience, while the remaining students discussed real-world instances of egocentric behavior. After all members completed both activities, they shared insights within their groups and aligned their observations with Kotter's Organizational Change model. Finally, a class-wide discussion was conducted to promote knowledge sharing and a deeper understanding of the topic.

A feedback survey yielded valuable suggestions for further enhancing the VR experience. Participants enthusiastically recognized the tremendous potential of the technology and emphasized that the current version was just the beginning. They expressed a strong desire to leverage the interactive nature of VR to create immersive and captivating experiences. Furthermore, the feedback highlighted the value of incorporating additional gamification features within VR to facilitate organizational change, underscoring its potential effectiveness as a promising avenue for exploration. The insights from the survey provide valuable guidance in refining the VR module and maximizing its impact in the realms of education and organizational transformation.

The utilization of the VR immersive learning received an average rating of 86%, indicating its effectiveness as a tool for learning new skills or concepts. Notably, 65% of respondents acknowledged the potential of VR as a tool for facilitating organizational change. 

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This case study highlights the pivotal role of VR technology in enhancing the learning experience in the field of organizational change management. The immersive VR module, focusing on the management of egocentric behavior, provided an engaging and interactive platform for students to apply their theoretical knowledge in a simulated real-world environment. This innovative approach to learning equips students not only with essential managerial skills but also prepares them to navigate the complexities of organizational change.

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