Identifying perceptions of academic reform in pharmacy using a four-frame organizational change model

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Background:In an ever-changing environment, pharmacy education is in the race to catch up and excel to produce competent pharmacists. Examining academic institutions, including schools of pharmacy, their internal systems and framework, it seems appropriate to view these institutions using multiple lenses. Bolman and Deal conceptualized a method to examine organizations using four constructs (structural, human resource, political, and symbolic). The Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), with deep-rooted pharmacy education and practice was the setting for this research.Objectives:To explore factors affecting academic reform in undergraduate pharmacy education in the EMR from stakeholders' and students' perspectives; and to apply Bolman and Deal's four-frame organizational change model to explore how these issues might be viewed.Methods:A multiple-method approach was employed and involved collecting, analyzing and integrating qualitative semi-structured interview data with open-ended questions in a survey. Cross-sector stakeholder sample from various EMR countries was recruited and interviewed. Final year pharmacy students from one school of pharmacy in Jordan were surveyed.Results:Emergent themes were indicative that academic reform was addressed by all frames of the Bolman and Deal model. Structural and political frames received substantial weighing pointing to the importance of curricular reform, collaboration and leadership. A need for skillful and role-model teaching academic staff was highlighted, and in harmony with the human resource frame. Issues within the symbolic frame were readily apparent in the data and spanned the other three frames in relation to heritage, customs and cultural barriers.Conclusions:Issues pertinent to academic reform in pharmacy were presented. Viewing change in pharmacy schools from multiple perspectives highlighted the need for structural changes to pharmacy programs, human resource management, political will, leadership, and collaboration. The importance of understanding cultural aspects of organizations is critical as it is these that provide identity to any organization and help reformers better manage change.

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