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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Navigating Organizational Change in Higher Education: A Case Study of Change Processes, Strategies and their Cultural Implications

Khalifa, Faical Ben (2023) Navigating Organizational Change in Higher Education: A Case Study of Change Processes, Strategies and their Cultural Implications. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


The existing body of literature on organizational change in higher education (HE) has long been a subject of scrutiny and critique, revealing a landscape categorized as fragmented, limited in influence and underdeveloped. This is added to the lack of consensus among scholars on the most effective change management strategies within HE. This discordance in the field has hindered the development of pragmatic insights and a unified framework for navigating the intricate terrain of change in academia. This doctoral research aimed to address these critical gaps by embarking on an exploratory case study of a private university in Oman that emerged as a notable exemplar of transformative change. The main aim of this study was to explore the intricate change process, specifically focusing on identifying the diverse change processes and strategies that the university employed and their potential short and long-term implications on the institutional culture.

The study employed a mixed-methods approach focusing on the embedded design. This approach synergized the combined potential of the qualitative and quantitative research to gain an in-depth and nuanced understanding of the transformational journey of the university in question. The qualitative inquiry was premised on core documents analysis, individual, semi-structured and in-depth interviews with the senior management, and focus group discussions with the middle management. The integration of the quantitative strand harnessed the potency of surveys in garnering input from both staff and students. This methodological synergy between the two approaches enhanced the extrapolation of a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the multifarious transformational dynamics.

This study exhibited originality and made significant contributions in several ways. Regarding focus, the study shifted from the conventional way of investigating ‘what’ makes change successful to ‘how’ it can be effectively managed and implemented within academia, hence offering a comprehensive, actionable change framework. In terms of context, the study’s unique Arab world context addressed the paucity in organizational change research on change navigation and management in an underrepresented region, making it the first case study of its kind in this domain. In addition, the insider perspective employed in exploring the six-year transformational narrative enhanced authenticity and depth, providing nuanced insights of the change processes and strategies and their implications on the institutional culture. The contribution of a ground-breaking case study with a distinctive focus, context and perspective represents a significant addition to the field.

Moreover, the contribution of a comprehensive framework for managing and executing change marks another significant enrichment to the field. Within this framework, ten key principles emerged as practical guideposts for HE leaders, offering a potential trajectory for navigating the turbulent waters of change in academia. The implication of identifying these principles lies in guiding institutions, particularly in the Arab world, into a new phase of transformative change, while providing a pragmatic itinerary that empowers HE leaders to navigate the complex terrain of change with clarity and purpose. It is recommended that researchers build on the emerged framework by conducting empirical studies in different HE settings to further refine and validate it to ensure wider applicability and effectiveness. Lastly, this study deepened understanding of change management dynamics in HE and paved the way for institutions to navigate change while remaining dynamic and innovative in the evolving
educational landscape.

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Depositing User: Delphine Doucet


Item ID: 17438

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2024 14:58
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2024 11:45


Author: Faical Ben Khalifa

University Divisions

Collections > Theses


Education > Higher Education
Business and Management > Management (general)

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