Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

The Effects of an Institutional Unification within a College of Business

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

The Effects of an Institutional Unification within a College of Business

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Mergers or unifications are the formal union of two or more organizations into a single organization usually designed to deliver a more effective operation to meet external challenges and opportunities. (Harmon and Harmon, 2008). Corporate and higher education mergers are similar. In the case of higher education, strategic mergers are described as strategies of 'merging colleges for mutual growth' (Martin and Samels, 1994; Harman and Harman, 2008). Unifications and mergers have become a familiar alternative for the survival of higher education institutions with recent funding cutbacks and rising competition. Merging and closing smaller campuses are methods being employed by university systems, as the competition for resources becomes more challenging. In the era of global competition, merged institutions can be more efficient and economical but this is not guaranteed, and complications such as the loss of jobs and merging existing institutional cultures must be considered in the merger (Portnoi & Bagley, 2015).

The opportunity to examine the effect on stakeholders in a requisite merger is the topic of this paper. The subjects are two regional campuses in a Midwestern state university system specifically the merger of the two Colleges of Business. The institutions are both teaching undergraduate and graduate business programs. The Colleges of Business are both accredited but by different accrediting bodies.

While inside the same university system, there are significant differences in the culture and size of the two institutions. One is a large urban campus with approximately 9,000 students serving a very diverse student body that includes a significant international student population. The other is a smaller campus of approximately 3,000 students in a rural setting with less diversity in the student body.

The decision to merge these two institutions has generated substantial concerns and some resistance among the stakeholders. These institutions have existed separately for decades despite their close proximity of 30 miles in the region. The differences in size and location have created two very different campus cultures. The colleges approach course scheduling and curriculum from different perspectives and each campus has developed their own student clubs and athletics system. There are many challenges in trying to unify them into one new institution. Each College of Business has its own Dean and faculty structures with similar but not identical policy and procedures for academic matters. The plan to merge them has presented a unique opportunity to examine thoughts and concerns pre and post-merger and examine what thoughts and attitudes change over the two year time period for the merger. This paper reports the results from the first year pre-merger survey.

RESEARCH QUESTION

This study poses a research question regarding the merger with four hypotheses for evaluation. The stakeholders defined as the population for the study are students, faculty, staff, and administrators in College of Business at both campuses. Mergers can produce the touted cost reduction and efficiencies; mergers can alternatively create significant governance problems due to differing academic cultures, and conflicting models of faculty rights or rules of progression for rank, and seniority which can bog down a merger process (Martin & Samels, 2002).

The research question resulting from the merger described in the introduction is "Are there positive impacts from the merger of two regional campuses Colleges of Business on their stakeholders?" The four hypotheses from this question tested in the study are:

H1 The merger will have a positive effect on administrators in the College of Business.

H2 The merger will have a positive effect on professional staff in the College of Business.

H3 The merger will have a positive effect on faculty in the College of Business. …

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