Governance and Change Management in Modern Food Systems (Offered for the last time in the academic year 2019-20)

Course content

The course "governance and change management in modern food systems" will address the dynamics and complexity of contemporary food systems partly by focusing on the governmental and governance aspects of major changes and transitions, partly by introducing and discussing the many other actors and stakeholders who are part of the system and have influence on different parts and on different levels. Methodologically, the module builds upon the course “actor mapping in food networks” and continues the insights on actor approaches by focusing on more collective actors and power aspects. The course aims at giving the students insight into the regulatory, structural and organizational aspects of food systems to understand, interpret and act in relation to major changes in public or private food arenas. Through theoretical insights into governance theory, organizational theory, political process theory and through presentation of regulatory, legal or practical issues of the contemporary food systems the students will be able navigate more competently in a change oriented perspective. Food regulatory regimes are multidisciplinary or trans-disciplinary to some extent, complex and consist of a variety of actors and stakeholders, more or less interrelated.


MSc Programme in Integrated Food Studies

Learning outcome

Knowledge and understanding

  • Should know the structures, agents and roles and aspects in public and private food systems.
  • Should understand the theories of policy processes, institutional dynamics and governance.
  • Should know the dominating food systems and their actors
  • Should have knowledge of change management and innovation theory related to public and private food systems.
  • Should have knowledge and understanding in planning and influencing public and private food sys-tems development.
  • Should have knowledge of food policy related theory.



  • Should have skills in analyzing societal and institutional issues of relevance for the development of new food related policies or strategies.
  • Can apply relevant theoretical frameworks and methodologies to analyze policy governance
  • Should be able to work with change management and innovation strategies.



  • Should be able to understand structural (institutional) aspects in different food systems.
  • Should be able to identify food chain challenges both in relation to common food systems and in relation to individual consumption.
  • Should be able to reflect the key concepts of the theories presented.
  • Should be able to discuss cases where policy processes and radical change or innovation in food systems must be uncovered and assessed with the use of feasible theories.
  • Should be able to structure and present a food systems policy topic within the framework of at scientific article

Lectures and two two-day intense workshops combined with a project work.

See Absalon for a list of course litterature.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 7 days
Academic essay (fully referenced) where students apply relevant theories and
methodologies relating to governance and change management in complex
food systems.
To be handed in Friday in block week 8
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Exam Preparation
  • 8
  • Preparation
  • 46
  • Lectures
  • 46
  • Project work
  • 37
  • English
  • 137,5