oa Interim : Interdisciplinary Journal - The contextualist model and organisational change : a case of higher education transformation

Volume 3 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1684-498X



This paper critically reviews the adequacy of five behaviour-oriented organisational change models. First, three textbooks models, viz. Lewin's three phase change model, Action Research Model, and Contemporary Adaptations to Action Research; second, Contingency models, and third, the Contextualist model are critically reviewed. The review is aimed at ascertaining their adequacy in explaining the Large Scale Organisational Change (LSOC) in the South African Higher Education (HE) sector. This LSOC is manifested in the form of mergers and incorporations among institutions of higher learning as legislated in the Higher Education Act of 1997. The review reveals that the textbook and contingency models are inadequate in addressing the question of LSOC in the HE sector as they are ahistorical, acontextual, and aprocessual in character. An argument is presented that the contextualist approach is adequate in addressing the problem because it takes into account the historical, contextual, and processual nature of change. A paradigm shift is recommended where there should be some significant departure from reliance on textbook models, particularly Lewin's three phase change model, and contingency models, to a contextualist model.

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