British Journal of Educational Studies 53 (4):447 - 465 (2005)

This article argues for a new theoretical paradigm for the analysis of change in educational institutions that is able to deal with such issues as readiness for change, transformational change and the failure of change strategies. Punctuated equilibrium (Tushman and Romanelli, 1985) is a theory which has wide application. It envisages long-term change as being made up of a succession of long periods of relative stability interspersed by brief periods of rapid profound change. In the periods of stability only relatively small incremental changes are possible. The periods of transformational change may be triggered by external or internal influences. A recent study of the long-term process of internationalisation in higher education institutions shows evidence to support the theory: long periods of incremental change, events precipitating profound change and the failure of externally imposed attempts to change. Also, as the theory predicts, changes in collegial organisations are slower and more uncertain than changes in managed organisations.
Keywords punctuated equilibrium  policy of change  educational change  Higher Education Institutions
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8527.2005.00306.x
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