Change requires coordination and buy-in. Much of the training of expertise within academia still functions on the apprentice model. This can foster a heightened sense of ownership and protection of what is considered to be one’s domain. Furthermore, academia is broadly decentralized in its organizational structure.
Change relies on functional interpersonal dynamics. Academia fosters intense and long-standing interpersonal relationships – and that’s difficult to do well. The academic equivalent of dysfunctional family dynamics can carry on across generations, trumping or distracting change efforts.
Change requires motivation to change. Academia is strongly oriented toward intrinsic motivation, providing fewer external leverage points.
Change is impacted by leadership continuity and turnover. Academic leaders frequently rotate in and out of roles, and are often on the steep part of the administrative and leadership learning curve.