Academics’ Perceptions on the Factors Affecting Strategic Changes: The Case of an Australian University

Mamun Billah, Mehadi Mamun


Over three decades, a number of external and internal factors that are linked to the political and economic environment have influenced Australian universities to adopt strategies and management styles similar to any other business organisation. The shifts in the strategic focus of the universities have been reflected through their policies and governance at different levels of the organisations. However, there is a need for understanding from different levels’ staff perceptions on whether they equally perceive the changes as legitimate. Based on a social constructionist approach, utilising the intellectual merits of Institutional Theory, this paper draws on the in-depth interview of three levels of staff of an Australian university to understand their perceptions on the impact of major influential factor(s) responsible for strategic changes in their operating environment. The study finds that academics at different levels carry a mix of attitudes towards identifying the major influential factors, not by its merit but rather the way the top managements have implemented the changes within the organisation. The study also finds that the strategy implementation that is based on the new business model and adopted by the University has not been positively accepted by the operational level academics as it conflicts with their traditional values. The perception gaps at different levels identified in the study would help management in future strategy development and the implementation process with a stronger focus on the behavioural aspects of change.

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