Engineering Organizational Change to Ramp Up Research Culture in Schools of Nursing

Thursday, 25 July 2013: 3:15 PM

Jean D. Leuner, RN, PhD
College of Nursing, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Karen Aroian, RN, PhD
Office of Research, College of Nursing, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Learning Objective 1: Describe a model of culture change that incorporates faculty concerns and realities with university mandate to increase research productivity.

Learning Objective 2: Identify strategies for overcoming resistance to culture change.

Purpose: Changing an organization’s culture is challenging and requires comprehensive assessment and purposefully deploying organizational tools.  This paper will present a model of engaging a process to ramp up a research culture in a College of Nursing where teaching was heretofore the primary focus. 

Methods: To purposefully engage in transformational change, an organizational consultant was utilized to conduct a systematic assessment of the college’s work culture and climate. The consultant used a case study approach to collect interview data from key individuals and teams, observe meetings of standing committees, and examine external forces and college documents such as the strategic plan.  The core leadership team (e.g., Dean and Associate Deans) analyzed the consultant’s report to identify the college’s strengths and target areas that required change.

Results: The process of changing the college’s culture included communicating leadership messages about culture change as well as using management tools and persuasion to reinforce and reward new expectations. The process of conducting a systematic case study and subsequent actions resulting from the case study effectively communicated the leadership message. Management tools and persuasion included a new structure for enhancing shared faculty governance, additional resources to support scholarship, and incentives and policies to reinforce new expectations. Faculty members willingly embraced the new expectation and the increase in scholarship activities was readily apparent.

Conclusion:  Successfully changing a culture to ramp up research requires engaging organizational tools at three levels – leadership, management, and persuasion. Leadership must seize the moment to swiftly and forcefully reinforce messages about new expectations for research.  Management practices need to systematically drive the vision and reward research and scholarship activities.  Persuasion requires being responsive to faculty concerns and realities and providing them with the resources to meet new expectations.