Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 on Work Routines and Organizational Culture - A Case Study within Higher Education's Administration
Müller, Lea S.; Reiners, Sebastian; Becker, Jörg; Hertel, Guido
As a sudden, external event, the COVID-19 pandemic, rapidly disrupted the workplace and required organizations to digitalize their working approaches. To understand how such external events affect organizations in the short- and long-term, we investigated the case of a higher education institution’s administration, which combines features of public and private organizations. We applied a longitudinal case study and conducted interviews with 39 German higher education institution (HEI) employees at two time points during the first (2020) and second (2021) lockdown. Content analyses revealed that a general openness toward change and distinct technical infrastructure enabled efficient coping with the pandemic despite struggles with digitalization and rigidity. Advantages in work outcomes were contrasted with losses in social interactions. Flexible models (e.g., working from home or the office) were desirable long-term work concepts. We integrated our findings in a framework on factors that contribute to supporting organizational adaptations and derived practical recommendations.
higher education administration, COVID-19, digitalization, qualitative research, digital work