Organizational development facilitates effective regulation compliance
Purpose – Aims to explain how application of organizational development (OD) can facilitate compliance with regulations imposed by an external government agency on university operations. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 2,000 students and 150 staff were directly affected by the regulation, with the remaining university population potentially affected. The strategy utilized project management and change agent processes where analysis of the problem, design and implementation of interventions, and evaluation of intervention effect were carried out through a project working party with highly centralized leadership by senior management. There was regular progressive and summative evaluation of project goal attainment. Findings – Use of project management, change agents and centralized senior project leadership provided the practical means to support successful OD. OD worked well within the devolved, multi-campus, multidisciplinary and organizationally complex environment of the university. OD proved to be an effective and efficient approach for large-scale change in technical organizational sub-systems, in particular structure and technology. By the end of the 18-month intervention, no staff incidents had been reported, and of 2,000 students directly affected, only seven incidents had been identified and these were ultimately resolved by the project management group. Practical implications – OD can be used effectively and efficiently to facilitate mandated change in multi-site, multidisciplinary, large organizations. This case study demonstrated that project management, centralized leadership and the use of change agents were practical, efficient and effective within the OD framework. Originality/value – This is the first study to describe and evaluate the use of OD to facilitate mandated change in universities in response to regulation. Keywords Higher education, Colleges, Universities, Organizational change, Australia
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