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Strategic change in the academy: controlling and/or enabling strategies


Pisapia, J and Townsend, T and Razzaq, J, Strategic change in the academy: controlling and/or enabling strategies, Journal of Change Management, 17, (4) pp. 321-343. ISSN 1469-7017 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/14697017.2016.1253601


This study describes the strategic change efforts of a university in the United Kingdom which changed its form and resource deployments to focus on the production of interdisciplinary research. A problem-oriented case study method was used to chronicle and analyse the leadership strategies and tactics employed and their consequences. We found that the reliance on a vertical leadership (controlling) strategy led to external legitimization but not internal legitimacy. We also found instances these strategies created unintended consequences which inhibited the strategic change initiative. In particular, horizontal leadership (enabling) strategies that spoke to the academic heartland were muted. We concluded that in universities undertaking major strategic change efforts controlling influence actions may be necessary but they are insufficient to levers of strategic change. The study is particularly important because it contributes to an understanding of strategic change in universities at a time when most such efforts fail to meet their objectives and there is a limited empirical literature to draw upon.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:strategic leadership, university, change management
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Other education
Research Field:Other education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Townsend, T (Professor Tony Townsend)
ID Code:113133
Year Published:2017 (online first 2016)
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2016-12-14
Last Modified:2017-11-20

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