Factors contributing to the successful implementation of planned change at a small, private, four-year institution in the mid -Atlantic area
The purpose of this grounded theory study was to develop a theory about what elements and/or processes, typically identified in strategic planning models as necessary components for second-order change implementation, are present in the successful implementation of planned change initiatives in the higher education environment. Corporate models for change provide the language for the study of strategic planning and implementation, but they do not take into account the unique environment of higher education. Business models do not address key factors in academia such as shared governance and a reverence for tradition that may be counter-intuitive to major change.
This study was conducted on the campus of a college in the mid-Atlantic area that was nationally recognized for successfully implementing significant, measurable change. Fifteen campus personnel participated in qualitative interviews focused on the enablers and barriers to change implementation at their institution. Propositions were developed as a result of the study, and a model for change implementation for higher education was created from the propositions. The model suggested three critical strategies for change: (a) planning for change is enabled by a sense of crisis, a shared understanding of the goals for change, and a set of measurable desired outcomes; (b) change leaders must build consensus, respect the culture, work through existing structures, and create a change vision consistent with the institutional identity; and (c) The change process should be highly inclusive, employ multiple modes of communication, and address opposition to the planned changes early in the process.
0745: Higher education