Faculty Publications

Reflections on a Restructuring Initiative: Conceptualization, Implementation, and Reflection on an “Episode in Contradictions”

Document Type



Communication, Ethical leadership, Faculty morale, Organizational change, Shared governance

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Academic Ethics


This paper evaluates and critiques a recent restructuring initiative for a college at a Midwestern university in the United States in which three academic departments were reduced down to two departments. The case study presents the experiences and perspectives of three faculty members– one from each of those departments–who participated in the restructuring process. The paper first introduces the current challenges and complexities in Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) which initiate and influence restructuring efforts After laying out the context of our case study, we examine faculty perceptions of the purpose, the plan, and the process of restructuring through an interpretive phenomenological case study analysis using Putnam and Nicotera’s (2009) Communicative Constitution of Organization (CCO) as a theoretical framework. The findings are presented as three integrated themes including the importance of a clear and purposeful rationale, maintenance of consistent communication and organization, and an ethical commitment to faculty voice and choice. The ethical implications for each theme are discussed and recommendations for restructuring initiatives are offered. The results of this study will help inform restructuring initiatives in colleges and universities with a particular emphasis on characteristics of effective, ethical leadership and the value of strong communicative elements when engaging in restructuring.


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies


Department of Online Education & Individual Studies

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version