This assessment item relates to course learning outcomes numbers 1 to 7. The primary purpose of this assessment is to assist you develop skills in the use of change process and management theories and models in the analysis of a typical business situation that has organisation and structural change and development concerns. The assignment requires you to analyse the current situation, and suggest practical and probable solutions. The secondary purpose of this assignment is to give you the opportunity to apply you research, analysis, critical thinking and written communication skills, particularly the ability to write a case analysis report.
You case study report is 2000 words long and will include 15 academic resources. While each case is different, you will need to include
1. Report cover page
2. Executive summary
3. Table of contents
4. Case background
Problem identification/case issues
Problem analysis and justification
6. Alternative Solutions
Please use the APA reference style
Business School Case Study
Three years ago an Australian University decided to merge three academic departments to create a business school. This merger was the outcome of a university-wide restructuring exercise undertaken as part of a drive to improve the overall ranking of the university.
You are the recently appointed dean of the business school and you have been in post four weeks. You moved to this post from an Australian business school. Your predecessor was formally head of the department of economics (one of the three departments that were merged to create the business school). She has now retired.
When the business school was established it had a small financial deficit but this has gradually increased over the last three years. The overall annual deficit is now almost $200k. The economics department has an annual deficit of $750k. When you took up your new appointment the chair of the appointing committee provided a potted history of the business school and indicated that the university expected you to look for ways of eliminating the deficit and improving the school’s research performance.
Your predecessor’s style of management was to relate with the three departmental heads on a one-to-one basis. The only business school-wide committee is the learning and teaching committee which was set up in order to coordinate the school’s response to a university-wide review of teaching quality and student support. The review was completed six months ago and the business school was rated below average.
The three departments that were merged to form the business school are economics, accounting and finance and management studies. They all have very different sub-cultures.
Your impression is that members of the economics department have an unrealistically high opinion of themselves. Many years ago the department had been widely regarded as one of the best in all the Netherlands. However, over the last 10 years many of the distinguished scholars who had helped to build this reputation have retired or moved on. Six of the long-serving members who have stayed (average age 58) are not as productive as they used to be. There are only two members of staff who have retained an international reputation in their field. However, based on past performance, a high proportion of the staff has been promoted to senior grades and are some of the most highly paid in the university. The economics department is the source of the business school’s growing deficit.
Members of the department share a strong commitment to small group teaching and the provision of a wide range of module choice on the economics degree programme. However, despite this commitment to teaching, they did little to prepare for the university’s review of teaching quality and student support. They felt that the university’s approach to quality assurance was too bureaucratic and they preferred to rely on their long-established informal practices for managing teaching and student affairs. Their failure to manage quality assurance through formal structures and documented procedures contributed to the business school’s poor overall score in the university’s review of teaching quality and student support. Staff in the other two departments felt let down by staff in the economics department.
In addition to the undergraduate degree programme, the department offers a taught Masters degree in econometrics. Numbers enrolled have fallen from an annual intake of 15 five years ago to 9 last year and only 8 in the current session.
Three of the older members of staff have failed to publish anything in the last four years. Five others claim to be research active but, on the basis of their recent performance, are not highly regarded by other economists. The remaining two have a strong record of publishing in top rank international journals.
Accounting and Finance
The accounting and finance department grew from 9 to 12 academic staff over the five years leading up to the merger, and has grown by another two posts since then. Morale is high and colleagues within the department relate well with each other but they have relatively little contact with staff in other parts of the business school.
While teaching is regarded as important it is not as important as research. The head of department is committed to ensuring that students have a good learning experience but he is careful to ensure that colleagues guard their time for research.
The accounting and finance department has a strong research culture. There is a well-developed research mentoring system and there is a departmental research meeting three times a year where all staff share and discuss their current research and their plans for future work.
8 of the 14 members of staff have international reputations in their field. A further 3 are performing to a high standard and at least 1 of these may soon have published sufficient papers in top-ranked international journals to be identified as a scholar of international standing. 2 of the remaining 3 members of staff are recent appointees who have just completed their doctoral studies. They are recognised as having research potential but they have yet to prove themselves. Their head of department is encouraging them to aim high and publish the results of their doctoral research in top-rank journals, rather than seek early publication in less prestigious outlets.
Management Studies is the largest of the three departments and includes three sub-divisions, marketing, organisation behaviour and operations management. Over the last three years the number of academic staff has increased from 13 to 16. However, student numbers have also grown from 265 to 318 on the undergraduate degree programme and from 0 to 37 on the Masters programme, following its launch three years ago.
In terms of morale the situation is complex. Staff feel that the department has been successful and they get a certain ‘buzz’ from their achievements, but they also feel that they are being exploited by the rest of the business school and that much of the income they generate is being used to fund new appointments in accounting and finance and help manage the deficit generated by the economics department.
The department offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes that attract large numbers of well qualified applicants. Teaching quality is excellent.
6 of the 16 members of the department have international reputations as leading scholars in their field. The head of the department argues that this could be increased to 8 or 10 if her staff had more time for research. There are some members of staff who are competent and motivated researchers but, because of the time they have to devote to teaching, they have insufficient time to publish all of their work. She also argues that given sufficient support, including study leave, at least 2 of the remaining 6 have the potential to develop strong research profiles. The remaining 4 are not active researchers but they make a major contribution to the department’s teaching programme.
There is also a potential retention problem. 2 of her best researchers have been approached with offers of promotion from other institutions. Both would be difficult to replace because there is a shortage of people qualified to teach in their subject areas.
Additional issues that might influence your approach to managing this change are:
1. You have observed that, compared with elsewhere, the three departments in your business school do not seem to have been innovative when it comes to developing cost effective approaches to providing high quality learning experiences for students.
2. You are aware that academics still do a lot of the administration associated with admissions, examining, timetabling and other aspects of teaching administration that could be undertaken by appropriately qualified support staff. However, you have some reservations about whether the existing support staff has the competence or motivation required to undertake this work.
3. You are also aware that even though the business school was established three years ago there is little integration across the three departments. For example, they each retain a departmental office and look after their own admissions and course administration.
4. Although each department offers separate undergraduate degree programmes you feel that there could be high student demand for a new degree programme that combines economics with inputs from the other two departments. However, you feel that this proposal will encounter strong resistance.
Department Econ Acc & Fin Management Totals
Academic staff 10 14 16 40
Total salary bill ($k) 1030 1176 1344 3550
Other costs 200 280 320 800
Total costs 1230 1456 1664 4350
Student numbers (FTEs)
Masters 8 22 37 67
Doctoral (PhD) – 4 12 16
Student-staff ratio 9-1 15-1 23-1 17-1
Total departmental income (€k) minus research grants*
Surplus/deficit (€k) -750 -78 636 -192
* Research grants are excluded because, in the context of this School, research supported by external grant income is essentially a break-even activity.
Research active staff
Recognised as research active 2 11 10 23
(With international reputations) (2) (8) (6) (16)
External research grants
Number held 1 8 5 14
Total annual value (€k) 50 600 800 1450
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