Mergers in Higher Education: Lessons from Theory and Experience
Contains Bibliography, Index
Alexander D. Gregor is director of the Centre for Higher Education
Research and Development at the University of Manitoba and coeditor of
Postsecondary Education in Canada: The Cultural Agenda.
Mergers in Higher Education offers a very useful addition to our
practical and theoretical understanding of an increasingly important but
relatively little-studied issue. The book reflects the joint
investigation of two scholars who were at the planning and operational
centre of two major institutional mergers: the 1997 merger of the
Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS) and Dalhousie University in
1997 (Julia Eastman); and the 1996 merger of the Ontario Institute for
Studies in Education (OISE) and the University of Toronto (Daniel Lang).
Through a broad range of interviews and a systematic comparison and
contrast between the two settings, the investigators collected a body of
fact and interpretation from which, with the aid of related public- and
private-sector merger research, they have been able to provide an
insightful and functional assessment of the factors, processes, and
issues that inevitably underlie any merger initiative in the highly
complex environment of higher education.
The two cases that form the basis of this analysis are clearly
idiosyncratic—reflecting, among other things, relations between
institutions of significantly different mandates, traditions, and
power—but the general conclusions the authors have been able to
extract will apply, with appropriate caution, to virtually any setting.
For the benefit of those following them on this largely unexplored
terrain, the authors have taken care to move from general conclusions to
very specific guidelines for process and suggestions. In addition, they
have laid a very systematic theoretical groundwork (including a
comprehensive bibliography) for the guidance of the subsequent research
that one hopes will follow in this important area.
The authors emphasize that mergers must be seen as means to educational
ends, and not ends in themselves. Their findings should be studied by
those in government or academe considering the possibility or
desirability of potential mergers, and by planners, policymakers, and
anyone else interested in the organizational and political issues
surrounding contemporary higher education.