Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Presented at the Higher Education in Transformation Symposium November 2 - 4, 2016 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


This paper is written in the context of three Irish higher education institutions negotiating a merger in order to become Ireland’s inaugural ‘Technological University’. To be designated as a technological university (TU), the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT) and Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) are first required to merge and to then transform how they approach and deliver education and the services that support it. In this study, an experimental approach to entice into existence newly designed student- related services in the TU was trialled. The design of the study comprised a series of mini-projects. The authors sought to create within small teams, an embodied experience of the messiness of change as they initiated a move towards becoming a flexible, agile and responsive organisation. The assertion of this study is that by embodying such experiences, change moves from being a process-driven re- engineering project towards a people-driven seduction activity. We drew from a combination of Gestalt principles, complexity thinking and adult psychological development theory. To assess the impact of our approach, we evaluated it through post-project reflection and dialogue with all participants. Findings suggest that when the experience contains an element of high challenge combined with high support, change happens more organically and creates a demand for more.