In Retrospect: A Case of Merger in Higher Education
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Purpose This study examines the merger of two distinct higher education institutions. The change process was studied from the perspective of multiple stakeholders, and its major outcomes were evaluated in terms of various dimensions of success. Design/methodology/approach The study uses a qualitative research design. For the purpose of data collection, semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions were used, targeting key decisions makers that led the change process. Additionally, university constituents, comprising students, faculty, and staff who were present during the merger, were invited to participate in an online survey. Findings Findings indicate that, although the merger deal appeared good on paper, it was not executed as well as it could have been, and the aftermath yielded lower than expected returns. The systems were not integrated properly, and cultural elements were overlooked, resulting in an anomic organizational environment, in place of what should have been a more cohesive academic community. The study establishes that institutions considering a merger should ensure that effective leadership is put in place to manage the implementation and that the cultures and identities are addressed and integrated as early as possible. Research limitations/implications Although the findings of this study are limited to the case of one university, it forms an illustrative example for other institutions that are undergoing or considering major change. Recommendations are given to avoid the pitfalls of merger in areas such as integration, identity, and leadership. Originality/value Contemporary research establishes mergers as one of the most crucial change processes a university goes through. This study contributes to the literature by using a micro level approach to study an institutional merger and targeting the perception of key university constituencies, thereby providing in-depth analysis and a multidimensional outlook.