Most change theories are developed in business settings. On the whole, academia has more stakeholders, and in more complex relationships, than is typical in business; there is no clear customer in academia (students, faculty, staff, the general public, the state, industry, alumni, and others have each been realistically identified as a customer); the concept of “customer” does not clearly represent participants in the collaborative processes of education and research; and higher education does not create “products” that can easily be defined or controlled.
Change disrupts stability. Academic institutions are built to be very stable, and for a good reason. It’s this stability that enables individuals to reach out over the edge, into the unknown, through research and education.
Change relies on strategic awareness of key elements. Much of the academic culture is taken for granted and/or invisible, including complex reporting structures and a host of tacit assumptions and rules about who belongs and how to function in this environment.