Organizational change and change management : a case study of the process of the merger between Å and Berge secondary schools
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This master thesis is a qualitative case study research aimed at assessing and interpreting the process of merger between two public organizations, located within the Norwegian educational sector. The focus of the thesis is to study the process of merger by analysing the key aspects that could, most likely, affect the process flow and outcomes. The aim of the thesis is to address the knowledge gaps, in the literature on mergers, by studying the process of merger as a whole, not just its separate phases. More specifically the thesis investigates key procedural aspects of the merger process. The selected case for the thesis, is the merger between Å and Berge secondary schools that started in 2010 and resulted in building a new Lyngdal secondary school, opened in 2013. The empirical basis for this thesis is built on a qualitative case study research. A total of seven individual interviews were conducted with the actors that have been directly involved in the merger process from its initiation and up until the end of the project. The majority of respondents were members of the steering group and practically led the merger, giving them good awareness of the process. The empirical findings provided detailed information on the process flow, key stakeholders involved into the process, main challenges during the process of merger and the results achieved. Theoretically the thesis builds on theories of change management, institutional mergers and organizational theories. I have used a conceptual model for organizational change as a main theoretical framework to analyse the process of merger between Å and Berge schools. The conceptual model enables to look at the change process as a whole. The model is supplemented with additional theories on mergers and leadership to provide more theoretical insights for further studies and analysis of the research question. Mergers are often seen as a means for achieving certain gains (Skodvin, 1999). The results from this thesis show that the merger was seen as a means for achieving economic efficiency, by merging small institutions into a larger unit. Another key finding is that the merger was a result of public authority’s initiative and, as such, was perceived by some actors as being a top-down process. The particular merger case has gained positive end results and good feedbacks has been received following the project’s completion. This is the result of good leadership, strategic planning and effective use of external and internal stakeholder’s partnership.
Master's thesis Public Policy and Management ME502 - University of Agder 2016