Change Management, and Acculturation in the Merger of Two Institutions of Higher Education

By: Anita Hazelwood  

Institutional mergers and consolidations require well-planned and strategic organizational change and include an examination of organizational culture and the process of acculturation. While there has been research on various aspects of higher education mergers, there has been little on the process of integrating institutional cultures. Compounding the challenge is that the degree of assimilation among institutions is variable. This integration of cultures takes time to fully accomplish. Researchers have estimated varying time periods for full integration, as much as ten years or more in some cases. As institutions of higher education undergo re-organization, several components of change management must be addressed, looking particularly at culture as a critical element of the change process. Research in this area is limited and the purpose of this case study is to examine why two institutions of higher education merged, the role of change management during a merger, conceptual models used in understanding reorganization, and the role that culture plays during a merger. Given the economic conditions in higher education, interest in mergers is growing and this case study on the merger, change management and the cultural assimilation of the individuals involved in the merger will be of value to state boards of education, policy-makers within the states, and higher administration in colleges and universities across the nation.

Acculturation, Change Management
Change Management
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Anita Hazelwood

Professor and Department Head, Allied Health, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, United States
Louisiana, United States