Change management in higher education: Lessons learnt from the implementation of problem based learning at Bahrain Polytechnic

Author: Nicholas Bryce McLoughlin

Change Management in Higher Education: Lessons Learnt from the Implementation of Problem Based Learning at Bahrain Polytechnic

Bryce McLoughlin
30 January 2016

McLoughlin, N.B. (2016). Change Management in Higher Education: Lessons Learnt from the Implementation of Problem Based Learning at Bahrain Polytechnic. Executive Summary of a thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice 

Executive Summary

The initial aims of this project were to identify the essential leadership strategies required to bring in significant change in an educational organisation, develop a planning and evaluation process to ensure sustainability of this change, identify how are these influenced by the cultural context, and expand and clarify understanding of leadership of change.

The methodology was a case-study from the point of view of a Participant Observer insider - information validated by critical friends. Specifically, the implementation of Problem Based Learning (PBL) at a Middle Eastern institution, offering applied qualifications, mainly at degree level was considered. The process involved the development and analysis of surveys, collection and analysis of evidence from Focus Groups, and collection and analysis of evidence through individual interviews.

Key findings were that Bahrain Polytechnic had strong change planning for PBL implementation. Multiple factors were influencing change including leadership not always focused on PBL implementation. Analysis of surveys and group/individual interviews identified that Academics saw the adequacy of staffing and resources and their participation were important drivers towards implementing PBL and while they needed to be motivated to change, the provision of rewards and incentives were of low priority. It was identified that ethnicity affected the priorities seen as required for implementation of PBL but Tutors and Academic Managers had similar priorities.

Reflecting on the literature review, analyses of existing documents, surveys and individual interviews and the writer’s extensive educational experience, a model of organisational change was developed showing the distractors and enactors of change in the internal and external contexts and the organisational change process.

Conclusions made when looking at the wider field of bringing about change in an educational context were that the institution needed to establish a shared belief system (in the change item), engage in meaningful working relationships, leaders of change need to reframe to view and process leadership situations and by reframing, develop insight into change drivers.

Keywords: problem based learning, change management, Gulf


This thesis is not publicly available. The Executive Summary is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.

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