Organizational Change in a Community College: Enhancing and Inhibiting Factors

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Paul Ventura


This study posed the question “What are the factors that enhance and that inhibit organizational change at Camosun College?” A subquestion was “What are some specific areas of focus for Camosun College to improve on its ability to implement change?”

Ten change agents at a community college, working on college-wide initiatives, were interviewed. The factors that enhanced and inhibited these initiatives were analysed by studying the themes that emerged from the interview data. The research was based on a reframing approach to organizational analysis. The political frame and the organizational learning frame were chosen, based on the consideration of the features identified in the literature as unique to college settings. Implications for Camosun College were also considered.

Change initiatives at Camosun were found to be inhibited by the presence of organizational defensive learning routines. These routines were compounded by the use of political authority to control agendas of discussion, thus limiting organizational feedback and further hindering learning. The change initiatives were found to be enhanced by the use of power to develop and use personal connections, by an ability to reframe political activity as feedback, by supporting learning, and by incorporating different perspectives, rather than persuading people to change based on a more informed, enlightened expert.

The study has implications for change agents in educational organizations, who want to further consider strategies for moving change forward.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Education

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