Title: Managing change: students' perceptions of the assimilation of women at Virginia Military Institute

Authors: April Clark, Melinda L. Costello, Robert Yearout

Addresses: University of North Carolina at Asheville, Department of Management, and Accountancy, One University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804, USA. University of North Carolina at Asheville, Department of Management, and Accountancy, One University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804, USA. University of North Carolina at Asheville, Department of Management, and Accountancy, One University Heights, Asheville, NC 28804, USA

Abstract: In September of 1996, women were admitted to Virginia Military Institute (VMI) for the first time in 158 years. This article discusses the results of a qualitative study which examined student perspectives of the assimilation process. Five men and five women ranging from sophomore to senior were interviewed. One administrator who was closely involved in planning and administering the change was also interviewed for the study. From the students| perspectives, VMI|s move from a monolithic to a plural organisation was successful. Their perceptions of effectiveness seemed related to how the change was managed by VMI. As part of the assimilation process, VMI researched other schools that had experienced similar changes, carefully planned for the change, required participation on all levels, focused on a vision of what they wanted to become, included follow-up evaluation in all areas affected by the change, and asked all students involved to feel personally responsible for the effectiveness of the change. Problems that emerged in the interviews are explored as reflections of the limitations of plural organisations.

Keywords: managing change; organisational change; assimilation; Virginia Military Institute.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2000.000992

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2000 Vol.1 No.1, pp.31-47

Available online: 18 Aug 2003 *

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