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There is always a better strategy than

Organising and Managing Organisational Change in a HE Environment


Developing a winning strategy to support change at Staffordshire University
the one you have; you just havent thought of it yet

Sir Brian Pitman Former CEO Lloyds TSB

The university has a recognised need to react to a changing environment, with focus on widening participation and taking a new approach to course/ product development as mentioned in the Staffordshire University Plan (2007-2012).

Often departments or projects can feel alone when they are not clear on the strategy supporting them

the Resource Based View (RBV). It is important to understand that the RBV should be embedded into our existing approach, rather than as a substitution. This integration of RBV and the existing strategy methods, will not be easy, but I believe essential, De Toni and Tonchia (2003). Interviews with members of staff (from Faculties and Services) in the university show that there is a lack of awareness of the strategic management of curriculum design and development, and understanding how their work links to the University Plan. Where projects are in place to improve processes, in some cases, those involved have little understanding of where they fit from a strategic perspective. Challenges for HE Feedback from work done by JISC (2008) around strategic issues highlighted that time is felt to be wasted in an organisation due to lack of standardised processes, external legislation and poor internal communication. The survey showed where respondents recognised the above issues, they felt them to be out of their control, under estimated, or the right staff were excluded from the strategic planning stage. Other challenges around communication are in part due to the decentralisation and heterogeneity of different departments and their funding. A main issue for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) looking at supporting change and innovation is the fact that they are traditionally

As part of this changing environment it is clear that there is a need to develop a strategy to support the changing nature of Curriculum Design. There is a project in the University addressing this called Enable1. This project clearly demonstrates that although some aspects of Strategic Management are handled well in the university (Rollason, 2009) including considering external influences to the University, it appears that other aspects are limited, especially when looking at fostering co-ordination and awareness of internal factors. This understanding of university resources, and whether they can be exploited in an advantageous way is Fleur Corfield

Date: 21/04/2009

use to a slow, incremental, change environment. Incremental change can cause adaption, rather than transformation of systems, and often result in stopping an institution being able to handle discontinuous change with cultural inertia (Tushman and OReilly. 2006). Whilst incremental change can be useful it should be used in conjunction with revolutionary change to enable the institution to be able to both increase the alignment among strategy, structure, culture, and processes and at the same time prepare for revolutions required from discontinuous environmental change (Tushman and OReilly, 2006). One of the methods of change is Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) which links to managerial, group and individual continuous improvement (Child et al, 1994). Hammer (1990) states that improvements can only occur using BPR methods that strive to move away from the old business rules. Child places Business Re-engineering at Strategic level, radical change and with high end risks. Allen and Fifield (1999) discuss Re-engineering in HE, and conclude that staff engagement is an important factor to support change, although this also depends on its alignment with existing culture. Gioia and Thomas recognised in 1996 that one of the biggest challenges that universities have to face is that the slow approach to change is no longer possible. Universities can also face the challenge of dealing with long service employees, who can have deeply entrenched behavioural culture, which can impede the needed change for the organisation.

(Cunningham and Kempling, 2009 and Allen and Fifield, 1999) Opportunities for HE In todays environment HEIs have had to become a more agile with their business, this is due to the changing nature of the learner, the changing economic drivers and the ability for Further Education institutions to deliver HE awards. As such it needs agile management, rather than continuing to use its, older, more traditional management approach (Allen and Fifield, 1999). This change to agile business, with the focus on: supporting flexible access to information, the changing nature of the learner the development technologies of new

The university has an unrivalled opportunity to change how it operates. Staffordshire Universitys Plan shows a clear lean towards developing its work with partnerships and networks, along with the development of the University Quarter. This change to looking at external relationships, and non traditional learners, means that it has an opportunity to take advantage of implementing a new strategy for managing this change. Fortunately the private sector has been working on supporting agile businesses and HE can capitalise on the lessons learnt and use good practice examples and review its own business position.

Fleur Corfield

Date: 21/04/2009

Strategic Management, Change and Communication Quinn (1993) mentions that when managing Strategic Change in large organisations it is not possible to pick one particular approach, rather a blended approach needs to be taken. For the purpose of this article a few of these approaches will be reviewed, and an approach will be chosen for Staffordshire University. The use of 9 principles for change for organisations with strong cultural norms, is raised by Cunningham and Kempling (2009). They highlight employee engagement as important for the change to be successful. The first of these principles is around setting up a guiding coalition, a committed leadership team, working groups and committees. The questions around this principle and others in their paper map closely to the idea of setting up of a P3M32 approach, including identifying the right people to be involved, the communication methods (setting up groups and how often they should meet), articulating outcomes, and a process for implementing planning. They go on to talk about the experience of the municipality of Saanich, where Theme Teams were created to manage inter-department silos. These Theme Teams can easily be matched to a programme within P3M3. Another approach is discussed by Kachaner and Deimler (2008). They look at three reinforcing dimensions: time horizon, thinking, and engagement. These dimensions should reinforce each other and they fit with some of the practice already taking place in the university, in particular time horizon thinking, (mainly at strategic level), and thinking, with building scenarios, (mainly at project level), in the third dimension, engagement, there is a Fleur Corfield

clear cross over of levels. However it is important to think about applying all dimensions across the levels, for example scenarios can work at all levels of an organisation. Engagement has the clearest link with the P3M3 approach with the creation of a strategy panel, however although Kachaner and Deimler talk about rolling out themes, and passing information to the relevant teams it is not clear how they continue to manage the process of work around the topics raised. This is where the P3M3 approach could be used, along with alignment to their forums. Approach for Staffordshire University When looking for a solution to the issues, and the models mentioned it is clear that it is possible to use the P3M3 model, using the idea of Portfolios and Programmes to support the Strategic Planning within the University. Some of how this fits has already been covered in the previous section. This solution embeds practice already in the university and has real world examples, including the NASA Education Strategic Coordination Framework.
Portfolio Management
Strategy Development Change Management Organisational Growth

Programme Management
Strategic Analysis Resource Management Benefits Realisation

Project Management
Analysis Planning Implementation Review

Figure 1 The P3M3 Model to support change

In figure 1 you can see that communication is both coming down from the strategy and going up from the work done at project level. These managed communication channels will enable internal work to

Date: 21/04/2009

become equal influencers of strategy with the external influencers. As part of these communication channels staff at all levels will become more familiar with the university plan and their impact on it. As other authors have stated, including Luss and Nyce (2004) in the Watson Wyatt Study, communication is the key to employee engagement. Employee engagement is important to ensure that employees are not alienated by the changes, causing slow adoption and even sabotage (Roos and Bruss, 1994). Engagement is a powerful tool, it can make staff feel empowered, and ensure enterprise level changes can be implemented successfully as employees will feel they have ownership of the change (Dean, 2000). Staffordshire University has already begun to understand the need to engage with staff and strategies at all levels with the new performance appraisal plan. This aims to link the University Plan, the Executive plan and plans held at faculty/service level, using them to inform performance appraisal. This plan is now available for comment from all staff, although is this staff engagement too late? I believe that there will still be a view that this has been a top down initiative rather than a co-operative development from staff at each level due to the timing of the staff engagement (this links to the view of BPR, where although there is mention of staff engagement it appears to be limited, Dean, 2000). Methods for developing communication channels include setting up relevant Programme boards and using project management tools such as the Balanced Score Card. Bhuiyan and Fleur Corfield

Beghel (2006) discuss the Balanced Score Card as something that can be used to align short term actions with strategy and a feedback mechanism on both process and strategy outputs. This fits into the P3M3 model, the need for communication and managing the strategy. With feedback enabling strategic refinements to take place and insuring managers know whether the strategy is working, or not, and why (Kaplan, 2006).

References
Allen, D.K. & Fifield, N., (1999), Reengineering change in higher education, Information Research, 4(3) Available at: http://informationr.net/ir/43/paper56.html Child, S.J., Maull, R.S., Bennet, J., (1994), Frameworks for Understanding Business Process Re-engineering, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 14, 12, p22-34 Bhuiya, N. and Beghel, A.,(2006), Continuous Improvement In Mayle, D., Managing Innovation and Change, p6474, SAGE Cunningham, J. and Kempling, J., (2009), Implementing Change in Public Sector Organisations, Management Decision, 47, 2, p330 - 44 Dean, A. M., (2000),Managing Change Initiatives: JIT Delivers but BPR Fails, Knowledge and Process Management, 7, 1, p11-19 De Toni, A. and Tonchia, S., (2003), Strategic planning and firms competencies: Traditional Approaches and new perspectives, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 23, 9, p947 - 76 Gioia D. and Thomas, J., (1996), Identity, Image, and Issue Interpretation: Sense Making During Strategic Change in Academia,

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Administrative Science Quarterly, 41, 3, p370 - 403 Hammer, M., (1990),Reeingeering Work: Dont Automat, Obliterate, Harvard Business Review, July August, p104 112 JISC, (2008), Strategic Issues, http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/strategyplanning/survey-results Kachaner, N. and Deimler, M., (2008), How leading companies are stretching their strategy, Strategy and Leadership, 36, 4, p40-43 Kaplan, S. R. and Norton, P. N., (2006), Using the Balanced Scorecard as a Strategic Management System, Harvard Business Review, January, http://portal.sfusd.edu/data/strategicpla n/Harvard%20Business%20Review%0ar ticle%20BSC.pdf Luss, R., and Nyce, S., (2004), Connecting Organizational Communication to Financial Performance, Waston and Wyatt, http://www.watsonwyatt.com/ NASA, (2006), Education Strategic Coordination Framework: A portfolio approach, www.nasa.gov Quinn, B. J., (1993), Managing Strategic Change, In Mabey, C., Mayon-White, B., Mayon-White, W. M., Managing Change, p65-84, SAGE Rollason L., (2009), Strategic Leadership and Planning. Roos, H. and Bruss, L., (1994), Human and organizational issues, In White, T. E., Fischer, L. (eds) New Tools for New Times: The Workflow Paradigm, p85-99, Future Strategies Staffordshire University Plan, (2007), 2007 2012 http://www.staffs.ac.uk/assets/universit y_plan_2007_2012_tcm44-4257.pdf Tushman and OReilly, (2006), Ambidextrous Organisations: Managing

Evolutionary and Revolutionary Change In Mayle, D., Managing Innovation and Change, p170-84, SAGE

Websites
1

http://projects.staffs.ac.uk/enable and http://jiscenable.blogspot.com 2 http://www.p3m3officialsite.com/home/home.asp

Fleur Corfield

Date: 21/04/2009