Enterprising versus traditional change management in a for-profit university
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Universities for decades have used bureaucratic organizational structures as they relied on government funding and operated in stable environments. Educational innovations and market developments have prompted the enterprising university movement that emphasizes flexibility, employee involvement, and interface with the external environment. Many administrators and faculty members in universities today received their education and work experience in large state-supported, bureaucratically structured universities. A value for bureaucratic practices may persist as these individuals transition to non-traditional universities operating in dynamic environments. The present study used the case method to explore the extent to which organizational change in a for-profit university in the Middle East was perceived as being managed using a bureaucratic versus an enterprising approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with faculty, administrators, and members of the university’s board of trustees. Results suggested that the change process was perceived as being bureaucratically managed with administrators making the decisions. This appears contrary to collegial values that characterize universities and inconsistent with the dynamic, open market in which the university operated. Findings provide an example that may help to raise administrative awareness of how past assumptions and behavioral scripts can conflict with an enterprising approach to change management.