A changing landscape for higher education has increased efforts on creating efficiencies and innovations within post-secondary education. This focus coupled with the pressure on institutions to increase degree attainment, the need for graduates to compete in a global economy, the necessity to engage with an increasingly diverse student body, and a push toward corporatization while also facing decreased federal and state support and more accountability, highlights the importance of understanding and implementing successful organizational change. Changes in higher education have occurred throughout its history, but the changes seen today require a greater need for leaders to engage the process of change across their own institutions, thinking more strategically and systematically about how change will impact their own institutions (Kezar, 2014; Kezar & Lester, 2009).
A large part of the organizational change process is engaging personnel in the planning and implementation of change. The participation of personnel across the institution in the change process has proven to yield more success in achieving desired outcomes (Bolman & Deal, 2013; Burke, 2011). Kotter (2012) listed eight dynamic stages he found to create successful change through engaging personnel:
- Creating a sense of urgency
- Assembling a guiding team with the skills, credibility, connections, and authority to implement change
- Establishing an uplifting vision and strategy
- Communicating the vision and strategy through a combination of words, deeds, and symbols
- Removing obstacles, or empowering people to move ahead
- Producing visible symbols of progress through short-term victories
- Sticking with the process and refusing to quit when things get tough
- Nurturing and shaping a new culture to support the emerging innovative ways
Inviting personnel to participate in the change process not only yields more successful change but further stimulates engagement and deepens commitment among all stakeholders. Creating opportunities to develop shared language around change, encouraging collaboration, and allowing space for contributions will enhance the ability of an organization to prepare for and embrace change (Astin & Astin, 2000). This engagement of employees as a part of understanding the change process requires investment in developing appropriate and functional channels for personnel to communicate necessary actions for successful change (Bolman & Deal, 2008). The Change Readiness Subscale is a survey developed to allow for the direct large-scale input of organization members regarding overall organizational readiness for change.
The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research recognizes the need to understand the perceptions of employees around the change process. The subjective nature of the perception of change makes a climate survey a necessary component to garner a comprehensive view of the organization’s readiness for change and responses to enacted changes. The change readiness subscale is a tool to help institutional leaders better understand their campuses as they are planning or implementing organizational changes.
Astin, A. W. & Astin, H. S. (2000). Leadership reconsidered: Engaging higher education in social change. Kellogg Foundation.
Bolman, L. G., & Terrence, E. Deal. (2008). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership (4th ed.). Jossey Bass.
Burke, W. W. (2011). Organization change: Theory and practice (3rd ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc.
Kezar, A. (2014). How college change: Understanding, leading, and enacting change.Routledge.
Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading change. Harvard Business Press.
Lester, J., & Kezar, A. (2009). Organizing higher education for collaboration: A guide for campus leaders (1st ed.). John Wiley & Sons.