Change Management In Higher Education: Top-Down or Bottom-Up?

International Journal of Applied Management Education and Development (ISSN: 1742-2639) Volume 1 Issue 3

Rosemary Thomas Skordoulis
PhD Researcher and Tutor in Postgraduate Programmes
University of Aberdeen Business School
Department of Management


This paper aims at exploring and identifying the key forces and system dynamics underlying the implementation of methods and practices to initiate and sustain strategic change in a higher education institution. In particular, it explores the potential differences in efficiency between change initiatives imposed by the top management layers and those that seem to grow from within the lower workforce levels, with a special focus on the people management issues involved. Organisational mindset stemming from a particular governance structure, communication of the change vision and ethics and culture management within a political environment prove to be the major enabling or disabling factors. A mixed research methodology was employed to minimise the risk of validity, reliability and subjectivity issues. An in-depth case study was compiled from a close examination of a UK university Department of Sport and Recreation Services, which was in the process of remodelling its Marketing Strategy. The author hopes that the case findings will supplement the existing understanding of organisational change processes by supporting a critical combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches to change initiation and reinforcement.

Keywords: organisational change, people management, governance, communication, politics, ethics management, culture management, top-down, bottom-up

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