Organizational Change and Conflict in Higher Education Management: Leadership and Management

30 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2008

See all articles by Linda Steele

Linda Steele

University of the West Indies (Saint Augustine)

Date Written: November 9, 2008


The change process in a higher education management organizational context has been previously described with passing reference to conflict issues (Steele, 2007a; 2007b). Although the process has been adequately described, the link between that process and conflict management needs further investigation. Using an integrated model that describes the change process (Ford & Ford, 1995; Isabella, 1990; Copperider & Sekerka, 2003;) and a theory of positive organizational conflict developed from eclectic sources (Tjosvold & Su, 2006), this paper explores the theory's accounts of the role of successful and unsuccessful management of conflict during a period of organizational change. Case study data derived from two real scenarios involving an attempt to manage a change process and an attempt to build an entrepreneurial unit within a traditional higher education organization are used to test the explanatory power of the integrated model of organizational conflict during change. The findings suggest that the proposed model is applicable and potentially useful in a higher educational context. The paper concludes by proposing an account of conflict leadership as a further step in moving the study of organizational change beyond conflict management, into innovative practice in higher education management.

Suggested Citation

Steele, Linda, Organizational Change and Conflict in Higher Education Management: Leadership and Management (November 9, 2008). IACM 21st Annual Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Linda Steele (Contact Author)

University of the West Indies (Saint Augustine) ( email )

Saint Augustine
Trinidad and Tobago

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