Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Interpretive, culture, resistance, transformational leadership, distributed leadership, appreciative inquiry


The organizational merger of two post-secondary organizations is fraught with synergies and complications that lend themselves to positive and negative outcomes of the joining. The need for a consolidated credential pathway model that defined the academic and administrative authorities of the merged organization was required. The organizational improvement plan (OIP) reviews the historical context of Ocean Institute of Eastern University (OIEU) to uncover the cultural underpinnings of resistance that exhibited themselves. While blind resistance exists within almost every organization, including true ideological resistance, within the context of OIEU, most of the resistance is rooted in political resistance, where some feel they will lose their power base, status, and role within the organization. Leading an organization through change involving many systems, structures, and functions requires a humanistic leadership approach combining transformational and distributed leadership principles. Ownership of the change is realized through appreciative inquiry and Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles to encourage stakeholders the ability to own and effect change in the organization. As per Edgar Schein’s change model, leading through change will require the organization to unfreeze, learn new things, and re-freeze. This change process is fundamental to all organizational change models. It is specifically well-considered for OIEU, frozen in a three-decade position of two academic authorities. The OIP will propose a solution to address the dichotomy in credential pathways, thus enabling OIEU to realize its full potential within the post-secondary landscape.