n South African Journal of Business Management - The REM-theory : implications for the study of large scale change

Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2078-5585


The University of Johannesburg (UJ) merger is typical of the transformation in South African Higher Education. This merger does not conform to the "norm", as it is ideologically motivated and thus the ideal base to study individual experiences of large scale change. Following a qualitative, grounded theory approach, 40 academic employees from UJ were interviewed. Findings indicate that academic staff relay their experiences and perceptions of the merger in three discernable time frames, each with its own dynamic. Collectively, these time-frames constitute the Reflective Experience of Mergers (REM) theory, which examines how merger experiences of academic staff shape their perceptions of and attitudes towards the merger over time. The REM-theory reiterates the temporal nature of change, its effect on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of individuals, and the role of leadership during a merger.

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