John Hood took over as the vice chancellor of Oxford University at a time when its competency as compared to other top world universities was dwindling. Hood had a good record of straightening up academic institutions like the University of Auckland, which he had successfully run before getting a contract at Oxford University.
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However, in Oxford, Hood met an organizational structure and governance style, which his employers wanted to change. This structure had made the university to “mix academics with trade” (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2005, para. 9). This ultimately led to reduction in the institution’s academic competence.
Hood had many issues to address in order to streamline the governance of the university to match with the standards of the twenty first century. Hood claimed that he had no authority or power to effect the changes. He relied only on persuasive power, which the search team that employed him confirmed that he had. There are many reasons to justify Hood’s claims.
Hood was in a position to bring about the changes he deemed beneficial for Oxford University. The only problem was that he could not impose these changes. There was an existing governing body that Hood had to work with. The same body is what he wanted to restructure.
This body was composed “of some 3,500 academics, administrators and librarian, called Congregation” (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2005, para. 6). Without the support of this body, Hood was to do little to effect the changes.
The major source of Hood’s opposition was the dons who wanted to take control of the University’s leadership (Griffiths, 2009). These dons saw Hood’s move of separating administration and academic issues so as to be controlled by two different committees as a means of letting the outsiders to take control of the university.
They fought against Hood’s efforts and most of them voted against his proposals. The government also controlled the finances of the University and the admissions of students to the university’s academic programs. The lack of sufficient funds from the government to support Hood’s proposed projects also in a way acted a source of power against Hoods efforts.
Even though Hood had people against him, he also had those who were for his proposals. Some of the dons and professors were a source of power for Hood’s proposals. These are among those who believed that he had the ability to bring about positive change to the university.
The search team, which had given Hood the contract to serve as the university’s vice chancellor, was a source of power that supported Hood’s proposed changes. This team laid their confidence on Hood’s previous successes (The University of Oxford, 2007).
Even though Hood claimed that he had no power or authority to effect the proposed changes at Oxford University, his persuasive power was enough strength to earn him success.
Hood was faced with a lot of opposition from most of the dons and professors in the university, an issue that almost discouraged him. The congregation pinned down most of organizational change proposals with an aim to have control of the university’s management.
Even though Oxford was then the most recognized university in Britain, it had started losing its academic objectivity and could not compete well with the world’s top universities. The management structure was old and needed reform. At the end of Hood’s term of service, he had effected important changes in the structures and organization of the university (Cohen, 2008).
Bloomberg Businessweek (2005, December, 5). Shaking up Oxford. Web.
Cohen, D. (2008, March 18). The future of Oxford. Inside Higher Ed. Web.
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Griffiths, S. (2009, July 12). John Hood: This place needed a shake-up. Times Newspapers Ltd. Web.
The University of Oxford. (2007, November 15). Dr John Hood confirms his plans for completing his five-year term as Vice-Chancellor. Web.