Change is a necessary manifestation of everyday existence. Eventually, all aspects of life experience some form of change. Often, change happens instantaneously and is hard to plan for, other times it is possible to plan effectively for change (Cameron & Green, 2015). Change management is, therefore, an understanding of what change is, how it takes place and lay out appropriate plans to deal with elements of change (Cameron & Green, 2015). Although the change may be spontaneous, understanding how it takes place enables a smooth transition.
In recent years, managers and management teams in both the business and education sectors have come to embrace change as an essential part of success (Hechanova, & Cementina-Olpoc, 2013). Therefore, leaders that are able to embrace change and blend it with everyday operations are highly beneficial to an organization. Learning is a dynamic and continuous process. Therefore, by embracing the change management, an educational institution can ensure the quality of education for its learners (Mader, Scott & Abdul Razak, 2013). These changes are in terms of technologies, teaching practices, government and institution policies, and the introduction of new curricula. Understanding the elements of change helps an organization to prepare for future uncertainties, predict future trends and keep up with current changes.
Managing change helps an educational organization to prepare for future uncertainties (Hechanova, & Cementina-Olpoc, 2013). Change can happen without warning and become too difficult to cope with. Therefore, leaders of educational institutions must have the ability to foresee change and plan for a transition process that will enable the organization adapt. (Hechanova, & Cementina-Olpoc, 2013). For instance, if the government decides to introduce a new curriculum making music a compulsory subject, it is imprudent to start teaching final year students lessons in music as they are nearing completion. Instead, the institution can create a system whereby the music sessions are broken down into several components and distributed throughout the duration of the course.
Effective change management strategies help an institution to make predictions of future trends. With effective policies, an institution's management can analyze and understand trends in the organization enabling the leadership to foresee a shift and plan for it (Bradley, 2016). For instance, in an institution of higher learning, the science department consists of a merger between chemical analysts and biochemists. However, publications and forums in these departments are consistently calling for a separation into independent departmental units. The leadership should view this as a change waiting to happen and lay down smooth transition strategies to ensure a flawless shift from a single department to independent units. Staff training, equipment and facilities, a transition team and other necessary tools of changes should be made available to spearhead the process (Alas, Sharifi, & Sun, 2015)
Change management ensures that institutions keep up with current trends in technology and teaching practices. Modern day teaching has evolved significantly. From chalkboards and whiteboards to tablets and screen projections, libraries to the worldwide web, and lecture theatres to e-conferences, the changes are evident (Bradley, 2016). Institutions of learning should strive to adapt and blend these new practices into their teaching and learning techniques to maintain student interests and ensure that information reaches the students through channels with which they are familiar. Furthermore, gauging student's outcomes and integrating their opinions into the change management process, enables the leadership to understand student needs and plan effectively.
The Change Management Process
The change management process is divided into four phases; vision creation, execution of the vision, the transition, and sustenance of the change process.
Vision creation: This forms a critical stage of the change management process. The leadership team develops a clear vision of the change and carries out situational analysis and assessment of the department or the institution as a whole, to gauge its preparedness for the change process. The vision is created in conjunction with the department heads and staff to ensure that they are a part of the process (Gerth, 2013).
Execution. This stage involves the actual implementations of the vision. It is a holistic process involving the leadership, staff and students. The execution process follows a clearly laid down implementation plan with set objectives and strategies of achieving these set goals (Gerth, 2013).
Transition. This stage ensures that the change process goes on with little hindrances. An efficient transition process maintains staff morale and reduces the duration of the transition process (Gerth, 2013).
Sustenance of the process: Once the transition process is completed successfully, the management team will need to set up safeguards to ensure that the benefits of the change are sustained (Gerth, 2013).
University of Saskatchewan
The education sector in Canada at one time faced a crisis. The University of Saskatchewan is a clear illustration of the crisis. The administrations attempt at restructuring, efficiency improvement, reduction of redundancies in administration and lower institutional budget led instead to failed policies and resignation of leadership staff (Borysenko, 2014).
In January 2013, the president of the University of Saskatchewan initiated a program dubbed TransformUS. This program was a strategy to improve academic and administrative functions with a targeted budget reduction of approximately 44 million dollars. One of the changes that the president intended to implement was to move the school of public health from its current location to the College of Medicine (Borysenko, 2014). This move was to take place even after Robert Buckingham, the Director of the School of Public Health, raised concerns about the likely impact of the move on their accreditation. In May 2014, Robert Buckingham wrote a letter describing a meeting with the Universitys leadership in 2013 where the President made authoritarian statements.
According to Robert Buckingham, the president made a public announcement threatening the tenure of anyone who disagreed with the program. As a result, Buckingham was relieved of his duty as the head of the School of Public Health, stripped of his tenure and prevented from entering the Campus. Buckingham was later reinstated to his previous position after the leadership admitted its blunder. This reinstatement was soon followed by the Presidents resignation (Borysenko, 2014).
The incident at the University of Saskatchewan is an illustration of a well thought of change process that was poorly implemented. The failure was not entirely in the process itself but also on the leadership (Lozano, Ceulemans, & Seatter, 2015). The objective of the change was to prioritize programs and reduce budgets, which was, in fact, an achievable target. However, the leadership's failure was on the implementation. Furthermore, the president failed to make the change process holistic involving the students and staff (Borysenko, 2014). The president portrayed the program as having the sole aim of reducing the institution's budget notwithstanding the opposition on the ground. Without the proper backing, the change process was bound for failure.
Adult Education in Slovenia
In Slovenia, research was carried out to examine the change process in adult education organizations. The study was carried out using interviews and questionnaires sent to managers of the institutions (Martincic, 2010). The research was to answer the following issues;
Strategic changes implemented over the last five years
The procedure for implementing the changes
Staff leadership during change implementation
The organizational structure within the institution
The Slovenian adult education institutions underwent the change process mainly due to self-initiated objectives. That is to say, the change was not influenced by internal regulations or government legislations. Rather, the changes were motivated by an urge to keep up with current trends, improve quality and ensure competitiveness (Martincic, R. (2010). These changes mostly involved updated curricula and new, better teaching methods. The increase in enrollment in some schools meant that these institutions had to adapt their policies and programs to cater for the new market. Furthermore, the improvement in the adult education scene in Slovenia was also a determinant in the organizations change process (Hechanova & Cementina-Olpoc, 2013).
The success of the change process in Slovenian adult education centers is attributed to the leadership of these organization (Hechanova & Cementina-Olpoc, 2013). The managers initiated the change processes and involved a selected team of staff members who were to assist in spearheading the change process. In the initial stages of the change process, the selection of the staff to lead the transition team is important. The Slovenian adult education institutions considered individuals who possessed the right expertise in the selected field (Martinic, 2010). In addition to that, these people had to be people who viewed the change process as a challenge worth taking on.
Naturally, human beings are not always entirely for change. At one point or another, there has to be some form of resistance. In the Slovenian adult education, there was resistance in the most established institutions. However, the smaller institutions experienced less resistance. In smaller adult education centers, the staff viewed themselves as a small group that have worked together for a considerable period, therefore, making it less difficult to communicate ideas. On the other hand, the more established institutions faced resistance mostly due to the fact that the adult education was just a single department amongst many. Therefore, communicating change proposals between the department and the other departments attending too much younger pupils is especially challenging. Perception of adult education amongst teachers in most education centers also hindered change efforts (Martinic, 2010). For most of these teachers, adult education was not a form of education and did not arouse any interest in them. This perception forced the transition team to work with each and every single teacher to explain the benefits of the change process (Martinic, 2010).
In the Slovenian education scene, the change process is highly motivated by the educational culture. This culture is a combination of values, style of leadership, and the organizational structure (Martinic, 2010). Therefore, a change process should not take an authoritative route, rather, it should embrace a softer approach by taking into account the organizational structure, the staffs perception of change, and have an adequate motivator for any success in the change process. Lastly, the openness and flexibility of the leadership are also crucial in the change management process (Bradley, 2016).
Change Management in Primary Schools in Turkey.
This case study is based on a study that was conducted in Turkish primary schools. The objective of the study was to determine the needs that compelled the schools to opt for change, and the process that the principals of the selected schools followed during the change process and their experiences (Altunay, Arli, & Yalcinkaya, 2012). The schools sampled were from a combination of primary schools that had received an award for Total Quality management and those that had not. The study area was from four provinces; Buca, Gaziemir, Karsiyaka, and Bornova between 2009 and 2010. The s...
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