Shifting Change Implementation Approaches to Maximize Success: A Case Study

This presentation will use a case study from Northwestern University to explore how and when to shift implementation approaches to maximize success. We will explore how changes in institutional context necessitated changes in our approach to implementation on a large-scale institutional priority and discuss how our takeaways, research, and best practices can be applied by audience members to find the optimal approach within their unique context. In 2018, Northwestern University’s Office of Organizational Strategy and Change (OSC) facilitated and developed a formal institutional committee called the Undergraduate Student Lifecycle. The Lifecycle Committee was charged by the Provost to develop recommendations on how to better serve our first generation, low-income, and/or historically marginalized undergraduate students. Northwestern was in the process of funding and implementing the resulting recommendations when the Covid-19 pandemic struck and immediately shifted institutional energy to emergency planning. This presentation will be beneficial to anyone who grapples with how to respond to changing context and know when a project structure and process is no longer serving the work and what to do next. Using Northwestern’s Lifecycle as a case study, input from the audience, and research on adaptiveness and self-efficacy as two concepts necessary to create positive and lasting change, we will draw inferences and best practices that apply to broadly across the higher education landscape and change management projects.

File Type: pdf
Categories: 2023 Annual Conference