question is how does the implementation of change management strategies by tertiary institutions that are undergoing change lead to quality assurance?

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1 1 Sub theme: Governance and leadership in Tertiary Education Institutions Title of paper: Change management strategies -- mechanisms for quality assurance Author: Samantha Radway Institution: Church Teachers College: Mandeville Abstract Change is inevitable for tertiary educational institutions; management must respond to the demands of society so that the institutions remain viable and relevant. Institutions are most vulnerable while undergoing change. While changes are being implemented quality assurance mechanisms must be at optimum levels. Leaders of tertiary educational institutions need the knowledge and competencies necessary to help them to effectively respond to, implement, and manage change so that quality is not compromised. This research paper is an exploration of change management strategies as mechanisms for quality assurance. The paper will include a synthesis of some of the key change management strategies that should be implemented as tertiary institutions undergo change. The paper concludes with a justification for the recommendations that leaders of tertiary educational institutions should possess change management knowledge and skills. This research paper is an exploration of the reasons leaders of educational institutions should take a course in change management. The paper will include a synthesis of some of the key components that such a course should include and concludes with a justification for the recommendations. Keyword: change management, tertiary educational institutions, quality assurance Change is both necessary and inevitable for organizations and institutions to remain viable and relevant in the global economy. According to Singh, Saeed & Bertsch (2012) in today s global environment, no organization can survive without change (p. 66). Tertiary educational institutions have been caught in the tide of change that has swept across the social and economic sectors including the educational landscape of most countries. In many instances tertiary institutions have no other alternative but to move with the tide regardless of their level of preparedness. For example, in 2010 teacher training institutions in Jamaica were informed by the Ministry of Education that the next academic year should see them offering a baccalaureate degree instead of the diploma in education they had been offering for a number of years. The transformation directive and initiative is not unique to teacher training institutions in Jamaica because tertiary institutions across the globe have been undergoing transformation in response to the needs and demands of various learning communities, agencies, and individuals. Tertiary institutions have been implementing changes either because of external influences or internal factors. Wong & Cheung (2009) posit that educational changes or reforms emerge and are shaped by external (macro- level) and internal (micro-level) factors. They further state that macro level factors refer to the global influences and nation- or regional- level cultural, economic and political dynamics, while micro level factors refer to the outcome of the social interaction among individuals or educators (p. 90). Beach (2006) postulates that, an

2 2 organization can be in trouble if it does not change in response to the dynamics of its internal and external environments (p.1). In response to internal and external stimuli, recently, several tertiary institutions have adjusted courses and programs and modes of delivery among other things. However while changes are being implemented it is imperative that requisite plans are put in place to ensure the quality of the offerings. Due to the challenges associated with implementing change quality is often compromised. It is therefore very important that change management strategies be inextricably linked to quality assurance. According to Duke (2004) educational change is a change intended to alter the goals of education and /or to improve what students are expected to learn, how students are instructed and assessed, and how educational functions are organized, regulated, governed and financed (p.90). Leaders of tertiary institutions involved in educational reform would concur with Beach (2006) that change is costly because not only are resources tied up in implementing the changes but there is an enormous cost in extra effort and disruption of routines (p.1). Against this background the claim that institutions are most vulnerable as they undergo change is legitimate. According to Beach (2006) the organization is almost always less efficient while it undergoes change. This inefficiency can adversely affect production of goods and services (p.2).tertiary institutions are not immune to the effects of change; they do not only have to be concerned about the effective efficient implementation of change but have to be largely concerned about quality assurance for accreditation which must be at optimum levels even when all else is weakened by the process of change. Institutions can be even more vulnerable and quality more compromised if change is not properly managed. Unfortunately, the concept and practice of change management is foreign to the management of some tertiary educational institutions consequently change is not implemented or managed effectively and efficiently therefore while the institution undergoes changes quality is not at optimum levels. According to Wong & Cheung (2009) most scholars in the field of change generally regard change as a process instead of an outcome and effective management of the process is essential for the success of any change initiated (p.90). Effective change management is necessary for quality assurance as tertiary institutions undergo reform. While it is commendable that tertiary institutions change in response to the diverse needs and demands of the educational landscape they must ensure that the quality of the product they offer meet international standards. This can only be realized if quality assurance mechanisms are part and parcel of the change process. For every stage of the process and for each individual involved quality assurance must be a key consideration. However, it is almost impossible to assure quality if change is not systematically implemented and strategically managed. Change that is not properly managed will result in failure or inferior results therefore quality will inevitably be compromised. Dittmann & Mello (2007) posit change management deficiency is at the root of many failures (p.524). Singh, Saeed & Bertsch (2012) posit that change management means to plan, initiate, realize, control, and stabilize the change process on both the corporate and the personal level by handling obstacles carefully (p.66). Dittmann& Mello (2007) define change management as those strategies and action plans that support and maintain transition from the present state to a new outcome (524). The definitions highlight the components of change management while simultaneously underscoring the importance of properly managing change. The overarching

3 3 question is how does the implementation of change management strategies by tertiary institutions that are undergoing change lead to quality assurance? The success of transformational initiatives depends largely on the persons involved, that is the leaders and support staff and the knowledge and skills they possess. Wong & Cheung (2009) concur with Duke (2004) that for successful implementation of change, there should be good leadership, continuous staff development, talent diversity, a collaborative culture, flexibility and stability (p.91).the importance of effective leadership is underscored by Gentry & Sparks (2012) who share the views of Bass 1985, and Van Knippenberg and Hogg 2003 who posit that effective leadership is a critical factor during periods of change as leaders are responsible for creating a compelling vision that mobilizes others to strive for mutually beneficial goals. Being skilled in change management is essential as leaders must be able to act as agents of change while motivating others to follow (p18). Obviously, the making of a successful transformation and concurrent quality assurance begins with management s knowledge and skills in change management. According to Beach (2006) change is hard on the members of organizations; emotions run high, people work long hours, things seldom go strictly according to plan (p.1). The difficulties associated with implementing change are underscored by Kotter & Schlesinger (2008) who state it must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things (p.2). The challenges synonymous with change make resistance to change almost natural. Dittmann & Mello (2007) cite Conner 1993 who state that resistance to change is a natural reaction of people to anything that upsets their status quo, which produces a loss of psychological equilibrium (p.525). The implications of resistance to change are highlighted by Singh, Saeed & Bertsch (2012) who state that employees may be highly skeptical of planned change initiatives and both actively and passively resist change, resulting in unsuccessful change efforts, decreases in morale or productivity, and increases in turnover or subsequent organizational failures (p.67). For both the success of the transformation initiative and quality assurance leaders of change in tertiary institutions must implement strategies that will eliminate resistance to change. Many of the challenges associated with educational transformation and quality assurance during the period of change can be mitigated with the implementation of a carefully constructed and properly implemented change management plan and change management strategies. Dittmann & Mello (2007) propose a change management plan that (1) describes the initiative and state the case for change (2) states the specific objective and the desired outcomes (3) lists the leader and team members along with the responsibilities of each (4) describes the scope of the change, what the scope includes and what it does not (5) states the benefit of the change both quantitative and qualitative(6) shows the communication plan and (7) lists the detailed training plan. The template will necessarily have to be adjusted to make it specific to the institution or organization and the type of change or changes to be implemented. In addition to the demands on resources perhaps the most challenging aspect of implementing change is dealing with resistance. While there must be acknowledgement of the major time and resource commitment involved (Dittmann & Mello (2007, p. 525) the human element should not be underestimated as the success of change and quality assurance hinge on the attitudes, skills and knowledge of the persons involved. A tertiary institution that is

4 4 implementing change must strive to ensure that all the stakeholders involved buy into the change. However this is not easy to achieve persons resist change for several reasons among them focus on self interest and not on the interest of the organization, misunderstandings concerning the change and its implications for the organizations and the individuals, when beliefs exists that change does not make sense for the organization, and when there is low tolerance to change within the organization ( Dittmann & Mello 2007, p. 525). Quality assurance means satisfying the needs of the customer in terms of the standard of the goods and services the institution provides and the cost efficiency and timeliness in which they are delivered. This means that all individuals in the supply chain must be inspired to and work assisidiouslosly to provide the quality goods and services that the customer should get. Individuals resistant to change and who have not bought into the change process will not necessarily provide the quality goods and services required. To mitigate this resistance and in essence assure quality Kotter (2008) proposes that leaders use the following approaches;(1) education and communication,(2) participation and involvement, (3)facilitation and support, (4) negotiation and agreement (5) manipulation and co-optation, and explicit and implicit coercion (p. 7). Kotter (2008) further opines that one of the best ways to overcome resistance is to educate people about change beforehand and to communicate ideas about the need for and the logic of the change. Additionally, through participation and involvement in the design and implementation of the change, resistance will be stalled. Managers can also deal with change by being supportive. Support may include providing training in new skills, listening and providing emotional support or giving time off after a demanding period. Managers may also use covert attempts to influence other by manipulating information and consciously structuring events. Individuals or groups that are co opted are given desirable roles in the design or implementation of the change. Unfortunately sometimes the only resort is to force people to accept change by threatening them. The present economic climate has worked in the favor of some managers because they do not have to explicitly or implicitly coerce as individuals go along with changes for the purpose of job security. Understandably, coercion is the least desirable of the approaches because then, some individuals will only do enough to avoid penalties thus compromising standards. The education sector in many parts of the world will continue to be dynamic for a very long time. More change initiatives will have to be implemented and managed. Initiatives not effectively managed will negatively affect the quality of education and support services the clients receive. It is therefore imperative that leaders of tertiary institutions are au fait with change management practices so that they can mitigate the challenges associated with educational transformation and keep quality at optimum levels. Leaders of change need to know the components of a change management plan and how to develop such a plan, be able to assess the institutions readiness for change and appropriately deal with the resistance to change.

5 5 References Beach, L. R. (2006). Leadership and the art of change: A practical guide to organizational transformation.usa: Sage Publications, Inc. Dittmann, J. P., & Mello, J. E., (2007).Change management in Mentzer, J. T., Myers, M. B., & Stank, T. P., (Eds.), Handbook of global supply chain management (pp ).thousand Oaks, London: Sage Publications Gentry, W. A., & Sparks, T. E. (2012). A convergence/divergence perspective of leadership competencies managers believe are most important for success in organizations: A crosscultural multilevel analysis of 40 countries. Journal of Business Psychology, 27, DOI /s y Kotter, J. P. (1995) Leading change : Why transformation efforts fail. Harvard Business Review Kotter, J.P., & Schlesinger, L. A. (2008). Choosing strategies for change. Harvard Business Review Singh, K., Saeed, M., & Bertsch, A. (2012). Key factors influencing employee resistance toward change: A test in the telecom industry in India. Journal of management Policy and Practice 13(3) pp Wong, P., & Cheung, A. C. (2009) Managing the process of an educational change. International Journal of Educational Management 23 (1) DOI /

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