An exploration of transformation at an institution of higher education using Anstey's conceptual framework
KeywordsUniversities and colleges -- Mergers -- South Africa -- Port Elizabeth
Educational change -- South Africa -- Port Elizabeth
Transformative learning -- South Africa -- Port Elizabeth
Higher education and state -- South Africa
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AbstractIn this study an exploration was conducted of change and transformation at an institution of higher education in South Africa using Anstey’s conceptual framework. This framework incorporated the work of major change theorists as well as the balanced scorecard of Kaplan and Norton. A quantitative and exploratory approach was used. The research question for this study was formulated as follows: How successful was the organizational transformation process at the newly established university in the period 2003 – 2007? The first objective of the study was to describe the organizational transformation process as it unfolded at the newly established university. The second objective was to evaluate the success of the organizational transformation process by using Anstey’s conceptual framework. Eight factors were identified in Anstey’s framework according to which the success of the merger was analyzed. These factors were: constructive unease; harnessed urgency; clear purpose; challenging vision with clear measurable objectives; champions at all levels; culture and community; competitive competencies; coherent strategy, and communication and consultation. A computerized survey tool was utilized to design a structured questionnaire with both fixed response and open-ended questions. Some 13 percent of the employees responded to the questionnaire. The internal consistency of the scores derived from the instrument was confirmed using Cronbach’s alpha. Descriptive statistics revealed that 62.5 percent of factor scores were neutral and 37.5 percent negative with regard to staffs’ perceptions of the merger. Inferential statistics disclosed that academic staff viewed the merger more negatively on factor 3 challenging vision with clear measurable objectives than their administrative colleagues. The total success of the merger can be summarized by the following statement of one of the participants ‘If the NMMU merger is compared to other mergers in Higher Education in South Africa then it is clear that, from a systems and procedural perspective, it was managed satisfactory. Unfortunately the ‘people’ dimension of the merger did not feature as a priority and many staff members were alienated as a result of this.’ The limitation of the study was the small sample size. This study was also contextual in nature, meaning that it focused on the transformation process as it unfolded at a specific university in South African between the years 2003 – 2007. No results generated in this study can be generalized as they only presented a shot-in-time reflecting the transformation process at a particular organization at a particular period in time. This study also confirmed the usefulness of Anstey’s conceptual framework in assessing transformation at an institution of higher education.