This research investigates organizational change in six Canadian universities framed as “prioritization,” which is a ranking method using predefined metrics for the comprehensive review and evaluation of academic and administrative programs. Our research found the following: (a) no prioritization process reached the implementation stage; (b) financial performance was not significantly impacted; (c) differences in pace, sequencing, and linearity had little to no impact on the outcomes; (d) the process of prioritization itself introduced political hardship to university leadership, including broad mistrust. Our analysis shows that prioritization initiatives have not provided a directly attributable impact on the outcomes at each of the universities. In short, there was much ado about nothing. Implications for universities will be discussed.

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The final publication is available at Springer Nature, click here.