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Change management at a Danish university: The introduction of a common market for education

HELLE BUNDGAARD
Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences
Vol. 5, No. 2 (Summer 2012), pp. 5-26
Published by: Berghahn Books
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23744899
Page Count: 22
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Abstract

This article discusses the approach to the management of change taken by a Danish university when introducing a university-wide market for education and it explores the different positions taken by some of the central stakeholders in one of the faculties involved. I argue that neither the inadequacies of a popular management model nor insufficient communication fully explain the problems with the change project. Based on strategy papers, memorandums and detailed observations of meetings, I discuss the introduction of the education market and analyse the reception given by directors of studies to a specific social technology, a common year and timetable structure. I offer an explanation of their reactions that draws on an anthropological approach to organisations. I call for university leaders to take what I call an 'improvisational' approach to leadership, which takes account of local ways of interpreting the meaning and significance of large-scale changes and works through professional motivation.

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