Tina GRUBER-MUECKE, IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems, AT

This paper analyses change management and the development of digital capabilities at a University of Applied Sciences in Austria as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. The conceptual framework focuses on the analysis of 8 critical Change Management Models (Lewin’s change management model, The McKinsey 7-S model, Kotter’s theory, Nudge theory, ADKAR, Bridges’ transition model, Kübler-Ross’ change curve, and the Satir change management model). It splits the change process into ten different phases. For each stage, the management decisions and their implementation are discussed from three perspectives: 1. The manager`s perspective, 2. the staff perspective, and 3. the students’ perspective. The empirical part of the paper is built on a qualitative research design. To achieve the main goal of this research paper and find out about various views and thoughts, two detailed interviews related to the conceptual framework were conducted. With this method, different perceptions and beliefs towards an issue can be discovered; therefore, there are two insightful interviews in this paper, with experts from the university of applied sciences. The interviews were semi-structured, which is less structured to guide the researcher through the whole process and mostly conversational, where there is the ability to add details and examine the interviewees. The results of the interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the approach from Mairing. The overall results demonstrate, that the initial phase of the change management were of highest importance, highlighting the need for change as well as creating a sense of urgency. A second primary result was the introduction of a digital education system in a simple form, creating quick-wins due to the ease of use and facilitating the move to digital education for teaching staff as well as students. The significant contribution of this paper lies in the theoretical debate of change management processes in an educational institution as well as the empirical part which is focusing on a current situation and analyses how the situation was managed at the beginning of the year 2020.

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