Managing Transformation at a Restructured Higher Education Institution in South Africa

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This paper outlines how transformation is managed at a restructured higher education institution in South Africa. Six risks were identified and managed. Identifying these risks, prioritizing the risks and developing strategic objectives, were used to ensure a strategic focus on transformation at the higher education institution. After the government outlines its imperatives for the higher educational landscape for South Africa in 2001, institutions need to respond to these. After the restructuring process at a higher educational institution in South Africa, it was important to strategically focus the new restructured institution. Good progress has been made with respect to the establishment of a broad strategic framework for the tertiary institution, but much work remains in formulating a fully fletched institutional strategic plan. A risk document was generated where transformation was pointed out as one of the key risks facing the institution. In 2006, the tertiary institution established a unit fir organisational transformation and equity, to give effect to the transformation priorities and risks at the institution. Six risks were identified that are associated with transformation. These risks include the inability to make sufficient progress in changing the equity profile of staff, the lack of a comprehensive institutional response to HIV/AIDS, the perceived lack of commitment to institutional transformation as an institutional strategic imperative, the sporadic implementation of policies on naming of buildings and art works, the insufficient policies and procedures to support disabled persons and insufficient interaction with external environment on transformational initiatives. To address these six risks areas strategies were devised to respond to each risk. Although much progress has been made on getting the strategies in place, the major challenge lies in implementing these strategies.


Keywords: Transformation, Higher Education Institutions, Equity
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Managing Transformation at a Restructured Higher Education Institution in South Africa


Prof. Miemie Struwig

Director, School of Management Sciences, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Prof Struwig obtained her PhD degree in 1991 with a thesis titled “Intrapreneurship: A strategy to manage change and innovation”. She has been in the academic field for the past 25 years where she fulfilled various positions. She was part of top management during the mergers of 3 institutions to form the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She has published extensively in business related journals in the fields of general management, entrepreneurship and ethics. Currently she is the Director for the School of Management Sciences and she member of the university council.

Ruby-Ann Levendal

Director, Unit for Organizational Transformation and Equity, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, South Africa


Ref: D08P0402