ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE: A RETROSPECTIVE EXAMINATION OF THE TRANSITION OF A PROPRIETARY SCHOOL TO A DEGREE-GRANTING COLLEGE
Schmidtlein, Frank A
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This study examines factors that influenced individuals who participated in, and affected, the transformation of TESST Institute of Technology (TESST), a private career school, to change into a degree-granting college. The study seeks to identify how the participants influenced decisions as part of a social exchange process that took place during the organizational change. Specifically, the study examines values which may have influenced people in the institution to seek the organizational change. This study employs a single case study design bounded by time and events that took place from 1998 to 2001, prior to the institution's transformation, employing a qualitative, descriptive methodology. A review of the relevant literature was undertaken and a theoretical framework was developed for the study. Data was obtained from interviews with participants who experienced the change process and an examination of institutional documents. The data produced evidence of external trends and internal organizational factors that influenced individuals to consider changing TESST's occupational mission and training programs. The data was analyzed against the theoretical framework which served as a screening instrument for identifying values, linking variables with the appropriate theories and for validating or ruling-out variables. Most of the values that were identified in the literature review proved to have operated as variables that motivated the individuals to initiate organizational change. Two new variables were identified in the analysis. The study also examined how key individuals promoted the organizational change initiative by way of social exchange processes such as negotiation, bartering and trading. These activities incurred internal conflicts in the institution, external conflicts with traditional and competing institutions, and resolutions all of which were found to have been motivated by values/variables. The study concluded that no single factor influenced organizational change at TESST. Rather change involved a combination of factors. Further, change did not follow a linear process. Additionally, the framework proved to be a reliable instrument for analyzing data and warrants further application and research.