Strategic Change in Further Education

Hannagan, Timothy James (2004). Strategic Change in Further Education. PhD thesis The Open University.



The research focus was to examine how organisations seek to respond to changes in their external environment through the development of strategies which matched organisational capability with external restraints. In April 1993 colleges of further education in England became incorporated bodies, responsible for their own management and their own strategic development under a new national funding framework. This provided an opportunity to research strategic change in these organisations, to investigate the effects on them of the changes in their environment, and to examine the strategies they had developed to enable them to cope with these changes. These strategies were compared with models of strategic change so that consideration could be given to the strategies colleges needed in order to be successful and to cope with future change.

This research project covered the period from 1993 until 1999. Colleges were asked, in a national survey, what they considered to be the most important changes they faced at incorporation and in the years immediately after it and how they had coped with these changes. Key issues were identified from the results of this survey, which were followed up in case studies in order to consider the approaches to strategic change in a number of colleges. A conceptual model was developed in order to provide the theoretical foundation for the research and to provide a framework for the conclusions reached as a result. The findings of the research emphasised the importance of environmental assessment and organisational leadership in achieving effective strategic change.

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