Principles for effective organisational change : a qualitative case study of a cross-sector tertiary merger : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Using a qualitative case study, the merger of the Palmerston North College of Education with Massey University, this research had two main goals. Goal One: To provide an objective, analytical account of the merger. Goal Two: To generate a substantive theory of change. To achieve these goals, two sets of specific questions were formulated, focusing on aspects of the merger and the change principles that could be used to guide organisational change. The research data were obtained, over a period of twelve months, during 1997 and 1998, from four main sources: organisational change literature, official merger records, key players' recollections and views, and staff recollection and views. Responses from key players and staff were obtained through structured interviews and questionnaires. The focus of the research was on the period from 25 October 1989, when merger negotiations were formally initiated with a letter to the Principal of the Palmerston North College of Education from the Vice-Chancellor of Massey University, until 1 June 1996, when the negotiations were formally completed. The research methodology involved the use of a qualitative case study design with a modified grounded theory approach to the collection and analysis of data. The research is presented in three parts. Part One: Setting the Scene, the writer outlines the research project, reviews the change literature relating to organisational change generally, and mergers in particular, and describes the grounded theory methodology used to collect the data. Part Two: Collecting the Data, summarises the merger discussions as revealed by official records, by key players and by staff of the merged institution, the Massey University College of Education. Part Three: Telling the Stories contains the researcher's report of the merger negotiations, the presentation of a principle-based theory for facilitating organisational change, a summary of the research and suggestions for further research. The theory presented argues for a principle-based approach to organisational change and provides ten principles for consideration: the Trust, Timing, Vision, Valuing, Communication, Consultation, Culture, Compromise, Commitment, Change and Serendipity principles. In providing a detailed examination of one significant organisational change, and by presenting a principle-based theory of changing, the study claims to have added further to our knowledge of the change process.