Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Margaret Linehan


This study investigates the perceptions of academic staff in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) on the implementation of modularisation and semesterisation in CIT. The study was undertaken when the institute was at the initial stages of changing to a modularised and semesterised system of education delivery. The study investigated the reasons for such fundamental changes. The findings contribute new knowledge to the literature on change management, while specifically adding to an understanding of managing change in a higher educational institute in Ireland. Forty-five academic staff and five members of senior management were interviewed.

The study revealed overall reluctance among academics during the implementation stage of the change process. Academics generally believed they were not adequately involved in the consultation stage when the plan of change was initially developed and expressed feelings of disillusionment with the process. Academics also perceived an apparent lack of clear leadership and suggested there was poor communication throughout the change process. This led to inadequate understanding among academics of the driving forces behind the changes and of the manner in which the changes should be implemented. The initial reluctance among academics to embrace the changes was interpreted by senior management as a general fear of change. In contrast, the academics reported their apprehension was due to the manner in which modularisation and semesterisation was being implemented, which they feared might negatively affect the delivery of education to students.

The implications of the study for research literature in change management in higher education are also explored and a future research agenda is presented.

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