Change management in higher education: A sequential mixed methods study exploring employees perception
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Background: Higher education institutions need to put change management as a pivotal part of their strategy. The challenge is to effectively contextualize existing change management models to the respective work environment. Failing to properly adapt existing models to match the intricacies of the environment could lead to plenty of setbacks. For such a contextualization to take place, gauging employees’ engagement and satisfaction becomes of paramount importance. As such, the overall purpose of the current study is to explore the perception of employees of a medical and health sciences university in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, in relation to change management and agility, and to showcase how the captured perspectives can be systemically interpreted to inform decision-making in the context of the study. Method: This research study relied on a sequential mixed methods design, which started with an exploration of the perception of Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) leaders. Qualitative data was collected through a focus group session and was inductively analysed (based on constructivist epistemology). The output of the qualitative analysis contributed to the development of the quantitative data collection tool. The quantitative data was analysed by SPSS-version-27. Findings: The qualitative analysis generated three key themes: Trigger, Execution, and Results, along with a thorough outline of lessons learned and opportunities for improvement. The Cronbach’s Alpha reliability score was 92.8%. The percentage of the total average of agreement was 72.3%, and it appeared that 83.2% of the variance can be explained by the instrument (p<0.001). Conclusion: The current study generated a novel conceptual framework that can be leveraged by educational leadership and administration to reinforce their decisions and optimize their agility in terms of managing change. The study also introduces a data collection tool which captures the perception of higher education stakeholders regarding the way their respective institutions handle change. This tool proved to be reliable and valid in the context of the study.