Understanding and effectively leading institutional change are central concerns for most of today's academic leaders, be they presidents, provosts, deans, student affairs professionals, or faculty. Institutional change has become an expected session at national association meetings and a familiar topic within the corridors of most, if not all, campus buildings. A number of well-articulated pressures are pushing institutional leaders to think more intentionally about making changes to better respond to a changing environment and to improve the quality of their institutions. Conventional wisdom about leading change abounds, such as the need for widespread involvement, thorough communication, and leadership. However, the new popularity of change as a topic has not rendered institutional change more deeply understood or more easily implemented.
Adrianna Kezar, a higher education faculty member at the University of Maryland, College Park, tackles the complex topic of institutional change in this monograph, Understanding and Facilitating Organizational Change in the 21st Century: Recent Research and Conceptualizations. She synthesizes a wide range of scholarly research on organizational behavior and change from inside and outside higher education, with the intent of identifying a set of principles that can deepen our understanding of the change process in higher education. This monograph is grounded in the assumption that institutional change is facilitated by better understanding the process of change from multiple perspectives. A comprehensive and nuanced understanding needs to draw upon a diverse literature, with its varying sets of assumptions, and requires a familiarity with the unique organizational characteristics of academic institutions.