Anchoring change in higher education: Narratives from senior executives at Malcolm Baldrige Award-winning institutions

by Kisunzu, Cheryl H., Ph.D., ANDREWS UNIVERSITY, 2011, 199 pages; 3474305


Purpose. The purpose of this study is to explore Kotter’s (1996) eighth stage for leading change. Specifically, it is to identify strategies for anchoring planned change in institutions of higher education.

Design. This is a qualitative multiple case study. Each of the participating organizations is an institution of higher education uniquely distinguished as a recipient of the United State’s highest recognition for progressive excellence—the Malcolm Baldrige Award. A narrative design is used to conduct in-depth exploration of leading planned change, specifically anchoring this planned change into the culture of academic institutions of higher learning. Purposeful sampling was used to identify a homogenous group of 6 participants. These individuals were senior leaders with rankings equivalent to dean or higher. Each of the participants was an active leader in their organization’s planned change to implement the Malcolm Baldrige criteria. They each played an active role in seeking to secure recognition for performance excellence as defined through sustained implementation of this change. In addition, they each served as senior leaders at the respective organizations when this award for excellence was granted to these distinctive institutions. Cross-case analysis was used to identify strategies for anchoring planned change in academic organizations.

Results. A trilogy of shared strategies from all three institutions emerged that answers the research question, “What strategies do senior executives use to anchor planned change in Malcolm Baldrige award- winning academic institutions of higher education?” They are as follows: (1) Utilize sustained leadership to ensure that change aligns with the organization’s mission, vision, and values and is integrated into the strategic planning process through assessment of progressive performance excellence. (2) Incorporate performance expectations of excellence into new employee and new student orientations. (3) Implement communication systems which are open, authentic, and responsive—especially with faculty.

Conclusion. I recommend that greater consideration be given to the length of contracts for presidents and senior leaders (e.g., 5 years); that intentionality be given to attaching the planned change to strategic planning; that research specific to the role that orientation plays in sustaining change be conducted; and that multifaceted communication systems which create organizational trust between leadership and faculty, such that a culture of abundance is implemented.

AdviserLoretta B. Johns
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsHigher education administration; Educational leadership; Management
Publication Number3474305

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