Original Research

Goal clarity and trust in management in educational mergers

T. May, R. B. Mason
Acta Commercii | Vol 7, No 1 | a23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v7i1.23 | © 2007 T. May, R. B. Mason | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2007 | Published: 05 December 2007

About the author(s)

T. May, Durban University of Technology, South Africa
R. B. Mason, Durban University of Technology,, South Africa

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Purpose: The aim of this paper is to explore employees' opinions on goal clarity, trust in management and perceptions of organisational readiness for change in the context of the changes caused by the merger to form the Durban Institute of Technology (DIT) in order to increase knowledge about the human aspects of mergers.

Design/Methodology/Approach: A survey of staff was conducted, with a sample of respondents completing a questionnaire, which investigated whether or not there were relationships among the change variables, namely goal clarity, trust in management and perception of organisational readiness for change.

Findings: The key finding of the study is that the goals of the institution were not clarified sufficiently during the change process at DIT. The correlation of goal clarity, trust in management and perceptions of organisational readiness for change were all significant at the p < 0.01 level; and the direction of the relationship between the variables was strongly positive (between 0.7 and 1.0).

Implications: The results suggest that management success in identifying organisational goals clearly during a change initiative could help improve employees' attitudes, thereby increasing the likelihood of merger success, and minimising the negative reactions and staff dissatisfaction often associated with mergers.

Originality/Value: Although there is a lot of research in the generic field of mergers and considerable research into mergers in higher education, both overseas and in South Africa, there is a lack of research in the human aspects of mergers. This is especially true of the three key change variables of perceptions of readiness for change, goal clarity and trust in management. Furthermore, what research there is has not focussed on the opinions of individual employees, but on the opinions of trade unions and student representatives. Therefore, this study contributes to filling an important gap in the literature on higher education mergers in South Africa.


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