n South African Journal of Higher Education - Managing an incorporation at departmental level in the higher education sector : discourse as a strategic resource

Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Receiving institutions (RIs) in the HE sector in South Africa are incorporating designated institutions, and new post-incorporation departments within these institutions are required to function as well-aligned and unified entities. The author reports on a specific academic manager's efforts in such a department at the University of the Free State. The head initiated joint materials design, which, he believed, would promote the sought-after unity among staff. An objection, often raised by staff at the incorporated institution (II), was that the receiving institution had 'perpetrated a hostile take-over'. The case study shows how the head applied Hardy and Palmer's 1998 model, which entails a discursive approach to cycles of activity, performativity and connectivity. The author reports how staff members' 'non-responses' were taken as cues for initiating new cycles. Retrievable evidence of receiving institution and incorporated institution staff's compliance, he argues, may serve as a resource for all stakeholders who may want to generate mutuallysupportive or contending narratives about departmental management processes.

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