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Making sense of a merger: A study of frame shifts in the merger between the Western Australian School of Mines and Kalgoorlie College

Pick, David (2002) Making sense of a merger: A study of frame shifts in the merger between the Western Australian School of Mines and Kalgoorlie College. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Late in 1996, Kalgoorlie College and the Western Australian School of Mines in Western Australia were merged to form an expanded campus of Curtin University, based in the state capital City of Perth. This event is examined as an episode of organisation change, with a particular focus on the micro-level experience of the various actors and groups involved in the change episode. The merger took place against a background of multi-level social and institutional change: for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder regional economy, in Australian higher educational policy and in national economic and social policy in response to the impacts of globalisation. These macro-level changes significantly impact upon the change processes at the microlevel, though this impact is often masked by the ‘noise' of surface level debate and conflict. The thesis deploys an interdisciplinary methodology within the theoretical framework of reflexive modernisation to analyse the change episode as an instance of the reflexivity that results from the disruptive effects of globalisation and which uses the frame analysis to explore the conceptual and discursive shifts central to the merger. As the complex and messy merger episode process was played out, three important frames, each of which structured the debate for periods of time, are identified: one that emphasised regional social and economic development, another centred on education for industry and a third based on economic rationalism. Frame analysis is also used to explore the social location and interpretations of the merger. The thesis concludes by advocating the adoption of a more frame reflective approach to organisational change that can address micro-politics of self-reflexivity and the macro-challenges of structural and institutional reflexivity in an era of reflexive modernisation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Barns, Ian
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