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Feasibility study of a proposed merger between the Evangelical Seminary of Southern Africa and the Union Bible Institute.

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Thesis (MBA)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2006.
The educational reforms implemented by the Department of Education during the last decade have resulted in a number of high profile public university mergers taking place in South Africa. The private higher education sector has simultaneously been significantly restructured by new educational legislation, to such an extent that a numerous private providers have been forced to cease operations due to the onerous requirements of the new laws. In this context, private higher education institutions are increasingly being compelled to consider alternative strategic options in order to continue to operate as viable entities. This study examined two private theological higher education institutions operating in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and considered whether a merger of the two organisations would be advantageous in light of the pressures being faced by the institutions. The objectives of the study were to assess first, whether a merger of the two institutions would be feasible and second, whether it would be desirable. The study reviewed the literature relating to various forms of organisational co-operation , focusing particularly on mergers. The benefits associated with mergers were highlighted as well as the major causes of the extraordinarily high merger failure rate experienced in practice. The tendency of leaders of merging entities to overlook cultural and people issues when planning and implementing a merger was noted. Attention was given to the managerial approaches necessary to reduce the risk of merger failure. Factors specific to mergers within the non-profit and educational sectors were considered, focusing on structural options for multi-campus educational institutions in particular. The methodology used to address the research objectives called for the conducting of structured interviews with a sample of employees and Board or Council members from both institutions, as well as an examination of various institutional records. Employees of both institutions completed a simple questionnaire designed to provide data for an analysis of the respective organisational cultures of the two institutions. The findings of the study suggested that a merger between the institutions would be feasible, but that employees of the two organisations are not generally of the view that a merger would be desirable in the short term. There was however more support in principle for a merger in the medium to long term and the study consequently recommends that a joint task team be established to prepare a roadmap for the ultimate merger of the two institutions. In the short term it is recommended that a joint venture or strategic alliance be entered into by the two organisations primarily in order to test the compatibility of the two organisational cultures. Further recommendations cover issues such as the ideal structure for the merged entity and the process necessary to successfully manage the integration of two separate organisational cultures.


Universities and colleges--Mergers--South Africa., Education, Higher--South Africa., Union Bible Institute., Evangelical Seminary of Southern Africa., Theses--Management studies.