Understanding and Facilitating Organizational Change in the 21st Century: Recent Research and Conceptualizations

By Adrianna J. Kezar | Go to book overview

Research-Based Principles
of Change

ONE STATIC MANAGEMENT MODEL cannot provide all that is needed to manage the numerous changes that are currently underway in the external environment” (Thor, Scarafiotti, and Helminshi, 1998, p. 65).

The dynamics of change in higher education institutions are complex, and generalizations about change processes are risky. “In fact, the first and foremost fundamental proposition we can stress about change in these settings is so simple as to seem banal and deflating: It all depends” (Hearn, 1996, p. 145).

Hearn (1996) argues in his article entitled Transforming U.S. Higher Education that several propositions can be made about change: (1) a political model is important, and even if the participant does not want to use this model, it is naïve not to be aware of the politics that are so prevalent within these institutions; (2) a cultural model is key, and effective change efforts must be integrated successfully into the existing institutional culture and climate; (3) organizations are resource-dependent, and efforts that are not in accord with critical sources of funding, prestige, and personnel are unlikely to succeed; and last, (4) disruption and accretion are both needed. He is one of the few authors who has tried to summarize and apply research about change in higher education and present it to leaders for use on campus. I will attempt the same in this article, having reviewed a larger literature base. The research-based principles described herein are based on the cumulative knowledge of more than thirty years' research. These principles are drawn directly from the meta-analysis conducted in article five, in which theories or models of change have been applied to higher education. In this article, I offer an interpretation of their power to help understand and facilitate change in higher

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