Date of Award



© 2018 Amy A. Maison

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michelle Collay

Second Advisor

Brandie Shatto

Third Advisor

Jim Glass


The purpose of this research was to explore, identify, and describe the challenges two-year college administrators face when blending the organizational culture of two or more institutions as a result of an involuntary, single sector merger. This phenomenological qualitative study drew findings from interviews with 12 individuals who have experienced a merger, are currently in leadership or faculty positions, and work for the Technical College System of Georgia. Using Moustakas’s (1994) model of transcendental phenomenology and the open systems theory, the researcher sought to uncover the human experience of a higher education merger. As a result of the data analysis, the following major themes emerged from the data: organizational culture, community resistance, communication, transparency, relationship-building, model behavior, change management, decisive leadership, visibility, decision-making, and integration. Findings in the study provided details of the challenges faced and the influence leaders associate with leading a merger in higher education.

The study objective was to identify key strategies used to influence a sustainable and healthy organizational culture as a result of an involuntary, single sector merger. There are several significant findings that suggest that leadership has great influence on blending the cultures of two higher education institutions as the result of a merger. A compelling finding is the noted community resistance to the merger for their respective local technical college. Additionally, mergers in higher education present operational challenges that are unprecedented in higher education.


Ed.D. Dissertation