Restructuring universities: Translucent elements

Year: 1996

Author: Koop, Anthony J

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Motivations driving the restructuring of universities tend to be grounded in either politics or economics. In recent examples of university restructuring, motivating forces appear to be more often externally than internally initiated. Whether the motivation for restructuring is economic, political or both, whether initiated internally or externally, the impact of any restructure goes far beyond the economic and political. Bolman and Deal (1991) in their book Reframing Organizations present four frames or windows through which we can gain different perspectives of the ways universities function. These frames are labelled structural, human resource, political and symbolic. The purpose of this paper is to apply this theory to exemplify elements of restructuring, such as conflict, ambiguity and uncertainty, that frequently lie partially hidden, unrecognised and unchallenged in the change process. The paper further explores ways such elements may influence the ultimate impact of restructuring on the quality and nature of educational services provided by universities.