The aim of this book is to make better sense of a long, complex, messy, change process through the stories of those who were involved. Over fifty participants were interviewed during the course of the study and their uniquely personal perspectives have been woven into a compelling story of organisational change. This book describes their ingenuity and effort in bringing about change that they and their organisation valued. Between 2009 and 2012, Southampton Solent University (UK) engaged in an unprecedented and highly complex strategic initiative which ran across the entire institution, its structures, processes and systems; it aimed to produce a fundamental shift in institutional culture. Such an all-embracing approach is rare in universities. This programme of organisational change is seen through the eyes of people who were immersed in the process. Their perspectives and feelings will resonate with anyone who has tried to bring about significant change in a university. Universities are inherently creative places but too often there is a pervasive inertia that prevents ideas from being turned into new and better practices. This programme aimed to create a culture of innovation. Conventional project planning techniques were deliberately avoided and replaced with an approach based on complexity theory, recognising that the process of change requires constant adaptation, acceptance of non-linear progress and subversion of conventional management discourse. Offering an unusual example from the higher education sector, this study is a distinctive contribution to the extensive literature on organisational change. Learning gained from participants is related to theories and research from this wider literature. The study proposes a holistic and integrated approach to change which might offer a more culturally relevant and sustainable model both for higher education and for those sectors of industry and commerce from which much change management practice has conventionally been drawn.
Professor Norman Jackson is the principal researcher for and author of this book. He is Emeritus Professor at the University of Surrey, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Director of Chalk Mountain Education and Media Services and Founder of the Lifewide Education Community Interest Company. During a long career in higher education he has been a teacher, course tutor, researcher, inspector and policy developer. He has studied the theory and practice organisational change and with the Higher Education Academy he led the development of the very successful Change Academy to help universities change their practices. Professor Jane Longmore is co-editor of this book and author of the final chapter. She is Professor of Urban History and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Southampton Solent University, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the Quality Assurance Agency’s Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers and a Trustee of Sport Solent in the Community. Her career in higher education management spans more than twenty years and she has taught in a broad range of higher education institutions in the UK since the late 1970s. Pamela Baker is Strategic Development Director at Southampton Solent University, a Chartered Management Accountant, she joined as Director of the Strategic Development Programme in 2009 from the pharmaceutical industry having previously worked for Unilever. She has held senior positions across many functional areas from finance to marketing, to IT, security, internal communications and public affairs. Pamela has contributed to Chapters 2, 3 and 4 as well as undertaking a co-editorial role. Sarah Campbell is a PhD student at the University of Surrey, researching music and emotion and how it could be used to facilitate neural plasticity in recovery from addictions. Sarah contributed to the research studies underlying chapters 5 and 13.