Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Implementing planned change in online university divisions with remote nonfaculty employees is a unique challenge. The problem that compelled this study was the need to understand the challenges of implementing planned change for a group of geographically remote nonfaculty employees who served as field team members (FTM) in an online university's support division. The purpose of this research was to explore change from the perspectives of remote FTM, their managers, and the division's Vice President to better understand and suggest research-derived strategies to make change initiatives more meaningful and inclusive. The qualitative ethnographic design was informed by systems theory, Tuckman and Jensen's theory of group dynamics, Burke-Litwin's model of organizational change, and Lewin's change theory. The 13 participants had a minimum of 9 months in their respective positions. Semistructured focus group interviews were combined with individual interviews to address research questions focusing on organizational factors, team dynamics, leadership dynamics, remote experiences, and organizational climate. Each participant group identified its own set of priorities that need to be addressed for positive change to occur. Additionally, change management should include communication strategies and collaboration to reduce change barriers. A policy recommendation was developed based on the findings proposing strategies to better implement and manage planned change. The purposeful inclusion of geographically dispersed employees in change processes will help shape positive perceptions, thus making change initiatives more meaningful and inclusive for remote team members.