The Behaviour-oriented Organisational Change Models and Large Scale Organisational Change: A Case of the South African Higher Education Transformation

By Gift Vinger.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The South African higher education (HE) sector has recently successfully completed an unprecedented massive change programme in which public higher education institutions were either merged or incorporated. This was the most ambitious and comprehensive change programme the world has seen in recent times. Over the years, a number of organisational change models have been developed in an attempt to account for the complex process and implementation of organisational change. The aim of the paper is to critically review the adequacy of five behaviour-oriented organisational change models. First, three textbook models, viz. Lewin’s three phase change model, Action Research model, and Contemporary Adaptations to Action Research; second, Contingency models, and third, the Contextualist model are critically reviewed. The review is aimed at ascertaining their adequacy in explaining the Large Scale Organisational Change (LSOC) in the South African HE sector as legislated in the Higher Education Act of 1997. The review reveals that the textbook and Contingency models are inadequate in addressing the question of the LSOC as they are ahistorical, acontextual and aprocessual in character. An argument is presented that the Contextualist model is adequate in addressing the problem precisely because it takes into account the historical, contextual, and processual nature of change. A paradigm shift is suggested where there should be a significant departure from reliance on textbook models, to a Contextualist model, particulalrly in addressing planned, large scale transformational changes.

Keywords: Organisational Change, Transformation, Contextualist Model, Merger, Higher Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp.195-204. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 600.331KB).

Dr. Gift Vinger

Registrar, Registrar’s Division, Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

Gift Vinger completed both the BA and BAHons degree cum laude as well as the University Education Diploma. In his undergraduate studies, he won several awards such as best first year male student, and best final year degree student accompanied by the Vice-Chancellor’s Gold Medal. He completed an MA degree at Penn State University and returned home to South Africa to resume lecturing at the now defunct Vista University. He then completed an MBA with Potchefstroom University and completed a DPhil in Human Resource Management: Leadership in Performance & Change with the University of Johannesburg. He worked for Vista University as a lecturer, Assistant Campus Registrar, and Campus Registrar. He also worked as Manager: Support Services and Senior Director: General Administration. He is currently a Registrar at the Central University of Technology, Free State.His interest lies in leadership, change management, and organisational development.


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