Managing change: the private university sector in cyprus, operations within the european context. A case study

Author:Simona Mihai Yiannaki
Position:Assistant, Ph. D., MBA, Programme Coordinator for Banking and Finance, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, European University Cyprus
Pages:191-207
SUMMARY

Our case study attempts to show the manner by which change has been introduced and dealt within the Business School of a private Cypriot University, the European University Cyprus. Then it tries to demonstrate if the success of the change process has its roots in the history of the organization and its representative strategies as per the theoretical framework of the literature review. Out of the ... (see full summary)

 
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Simona Mihai Yiannaki
191
LESIJ NO. XVIII, VOL. 1/2011
MANAGING CHANGE: THE PRIVATE UNIVERSITY SECTOR
IN CYPRUS, OPERATIONS WITHIN THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT.
A CASE STUDY
Simona Mihai YIANNAKI
Abstract
Our case study attempts to show the manner by which change has been introduced and
dealt within the Business School of a private Cypriot University, the European University Cyprus.
Then it tries to demonstrate if the success of the change process has its roots in the history of the
organization and its representative strategies as per the theoretical framework of the literature
review. Out of the main study results it emerges that it is the trust placed on the organization by
the management, the staff and the student body that can bring high standards of education to the
change process along with the acceptance for process and embedded innovation. At the other end,
there are still strong drawbacks that hider change management to its full positive results. These
reside mostly the inequalities, the social contract issues and keeping promises.
Keywords: Change Management, Business Administration, Higher Education, Case Study
Introduction
Organizations worldwide are confronting with more turbulent, more demanding times and
shareholders, less time to act and more astute “customers”, hence many are restructuring their
business to meet at least these challenges. The only question mark is on how much time and
change dependent are such requirements and which is the sustainable effect foreseen on the
education industry as a whole.
Sustainable growth in private business has always relayed on the restructuring of the
business strategies utilized and on the recovery of the investment and consumption markets. As
this latest crisis was an over-consumption- overspending- overleveraging related one, the way to
tackle such sustainable growth requires focused socio-economic and financial skills, but in
essence, the long term indirect engine is the continuous adaptation to change in all sectors of the
economy and now more then ever, in the education system reformation.
In this perspective, the private Universities sector in Cyprus is now operating within a very
competitive and highly regulated European environment. The existing private Universities have
acted under a much simpler college type organizational structure and have had to face the
inevitable changes brought about by a new economic environment. The fact that since 2004
Cyprus has become a member of the European Union has changed the general setup of the
problem, since nowadays more then 53% of students study in the EU. (Cyrpus in the EU Scale,
2008.)
Within this general context, private Universities had to develop and adapt to the new
demanding regulations that govern the operations of a university teaching and research type
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Assistant, Ph. D., MBA, Programme Coordinator for Banking and Finance, Department of Accounting, Economics
and Finance, European University Cyprus www.euc.ac.cy (e-mail: S.Mihai@euc.ac.cy).
192 Lex ET Scientia. Economics Series
LESIJ NO. XVIII, VOL. 1/2011
institution and continue to be self reliant and economically viable. At the same time, change was
inevitable, while circumstances continue to produce new challenges.
In the our case study of the oldest private Universities in Cyprus, the European University
Cyprus (EUC) the human resources seem to have beene re-developed, sound personnel policies
adopted, proper manpower planning implemented and assessment and a conscious policy revised
to improve work and management at all levels. These have been important factors that have
contributed to its success story. However, the effects of change are still affecting everyone in their
daily activities. Therefore proper change management skills are imperative, if all mismanaged it
could have disastrous effects. Also, since change becomes pertaining, mangers in this industry
need to strive to find new ways to understand it and act in an optimum way.
Our case study attempts to show the manner by which change has been introduced and
dealt with and then to demonstrate that the success of the change process has its roots in the
history of the organization and its manpower. It is the trust placed on the organization by the
management, the staff and the student body that can bring high standards of education to the
change process.
The paper is drawn under a case study and event study methodology combined with
exploratory research since the moment of the accreditation of EUC in 2008 till 2011. We plan
through this study to capture and integrate people’s perceptions, behaviour, cognition or
knowledge and creative ideas in the way they have faced change in their environment and then
propose a pattern for dealing with concrete change management problems and actions to prevent
potential activity disruptions.
Altogether, our study also tries to collect and present information related to the way EUC
has dealt so far with current change management issues, especially value changes at its strategic
level. Additionally, the study wants to raise the need to know how to handle appropriate ways of
correct and wrong application of change management in the industry.
Last but not least, the study aims at redesigning a conceptual framework encompassing
strategic and practical aspects emerged from the data analysis that can help managers of other
European Private Universities deal in a better and sustainable way with such phenomena.
1. Literature review and the research theoretical framework- responding to the power
of change
Be it a large or small organization of any particular industry, the first thing one must
understand about dealing with change is that it is a continuous process rather then a status quo.
Change implementation difficulty relates mostly its communicating vessels effect. Blaise Pascal
proved in the seventeenth century that the pressure exerted on a molecule of a liquid is transmitted
in full and with the same intensity in all directions. Meaning, if you change something in one area,
it affects other areas triggering thus changes in those areas too. This is to say that change is a
continuous process, mostly cyclical ( Lawrence et al., 2006), that needs adjustment at any of its
phases and various types of leadership control, strategies and behaviour.
Also, no matter the organization, change may be applied at different levels, which have
different power to force change themselves. These levels are considered in our research to include
the most important 4P’s:
1. The people at work, first, as they are the main trigger for change due to their
changing nature, second due to their active role in implementing. Changing people offers the
least amount of change leverage, due to its actual “impossible task” character to be achieved
in a certain timeframe. Bureaucratic systems are designed to work in the way they do, not

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