Fusion og meningsskabelse i undervisningssektoren

Jakob Martin Pedersen

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


The present thesis addresses the subject of sensemaking in the context of a merger in the Danish public sector. More specifically, the case considered is the foundation course at the Technical University of Denmark. On January 1st 2013 the Technical University of Denmark (TUD) and the Copenhagen School of Engineering (CSE) were merged into a single university. At the same time the individual foundation courses of TUD and CSE were joined into a single unit bearing the name TUD Foundation Course (TFC). Not surprisingly this has given rise to some problems with the employees of TFC having difficulties adjusting to the organizational changes inevitably taking place in the wake of such a merger. This was illustrated quantitatively by the result of the latest job satisfaction survey, where the teachers expressed the feeling that the level of information prior to the merger was inadequate, and that their objections had been waved aside. Thus the primary objective of the present work has been to gain a deeper insight into the teachers’ understanding of the changes taking place, with the intent to come up with suggestions to what issues would be advantageous to focus on by the management of TFC. To this end a phenomenological approach using Karl Weick’s notion of sensemaking (Weick 1995) has been made. Weick describes sensemaking as a process that is: grounded in identity construction, retrospective, enactive of sensible environments, social, ongoing, focused on and by extracted cues, and driven by plausibility rather than accuracy. Using these characteristics a guide was constructed for interviewing three teachers to provide qualitative data as a supplement to the results of the job satisfaction survey. Having carried out the interviews, this data was analyzed using Weick’s characteristics, and conclusions were drawn on what consequences of the changes implemented so far have mattered most to the teachers. Additional data was provided by an employee seminar following up on the results of the employee satisfaction survey. An analysis of this data taking some of Weick’s recommendations into consideration combined with the findings from the interview data finally made it possible to come up with some suggestions to what issues the management of TFC might focus on in the future to provide the best basis possible for sensemaking among the teachers. The main conclusions of the work were the following: • The teachers feel that the information prior to the merger was inadequate and that their objections were waved aside • The teachers hold social interaction in high regard and agree that being split up on two campuses is the worst consequence of the merger • Visible leadership is a key factor both with regard to a clear description of areas of responsibility and physical presence The management should focus on issuing newsletters on a regular basis and providing a clearer structure for meetings in general Thus applying the concept of sensemaking, the present work has provided a better knowledge of how the teachers of TFC have actually experienced the organizational changes following the merger and what issues matter the most to them. Furthermore, on the basis of this information, issues to be focused on by the local management have been identified. From a leadership pointof- view, now the next step is to act on these findings in practice.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages53