Universities have experienced changes over the last quarter-century that are unprecedented in their history – and the pressure to embrace yet further change is unrelenting. Indeed universities today operate in ‘a steady state of constant change’.
The implication for university managers is that others (above and below) will be looking to them to articulate, to implement and to model change; sometimes in circumstances in which change is planned and likewise in those when it is not. Managers will also be expected – and should want – to secure the genuine commitment of staff to change as opposed to their mere compliance with change.
This chapter seeks to help managers’ approach this most difficult of tasks. It does so in the spirit that we learn as much, if not more, from when things go wrong as we do when they go right. It contrasts the experience of Thames Valley University’s (TVU) attempt to implement change with that of university innovators in the USA and Australia. In doing so, it explains the nature of change, the approaches to change and how to manage change (including the popular myths about it and the fundamental requirements necessary for success) and how managers can take the lead.