Type of Document Dissertation Author Kincl, Rich L. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-06292007-092654 Title An Exploratory Study of How Stakeholders are Affected by Presidential Transition at a Community College Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Dale W. Lick Committee Chair Gordon P. Waldo Committee Member Jeffrey S. Brooks Committee Member Robert W. Schwartz Committee Member Keywords
- Individual Transition Response Framework
- College Presidential Transition
- New College Presidents
- Affects Of Presidential Transition
Date of Defense 2007-06-12 Availability unrestricted AbstractOnce rare, presidential transitions at institutions of higher education now command the attention of about one-quarter of the nation’s colleges and universities at any given time. Though they occur frequently, transitions at this level are hardly routine and American higher education has not developed a tradition of managing this process proactively (Martin & Samels, 2004). The literature is lacking, specifically in how the process of transition affects those who are stakeholders in the process itself.
The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to discover in what ways the presidential transition has affected the stakeholders at a select community college. Stakeholders were college administrators, faculty members and the new President. The exploratory research sought to answer the question: “In what ways are stakeholders affected by the community college presidential transition?” Among the research questions formulated which guided this study are:
1. What are the results of the Individual Transition Response Framework (ITRF) in measuring perception of administrators and faculty during presidential transition at a community college?
2. What are administrator perceptions of the transition process, which takes place as a result of a change in the presidency?
3. What are faculty perceptions of the transition process, which takes place as a result of a change in the presidency?
Presidential succession involves processes of change and transition, both for a president and the organization in which he/she serves. It requires that individuals undergo transition simultaneously and is therefore both an individual experience and an organizational phenomenon (Moore, 2001).
Based on a newly developed Individual Transition Response Framework (ITRF),
this researcher gathered data from individuals at a select community college going through a presidential transition. The ITRF suggests that stakeholders in the transition process move through a series of steps as they experience the various stages of transition. The framework is based upon the psychodynamic approach to change and upon the idea that when facing change in the external world, an individual can experience a variety of internal psychological states. The ITRF developed for this research is classified in the arena of psychodynamic personal change models, and supports the theory that individuals pass through stages, each different, in the transition process. These stages, or states, are marked by various responses by the individual to the change or changes taking place in the transition process. The ITRF allows the researcher to chart the individuals’ progress in the transition process based upon descriptors which fit the various stages in the framework.
Findings were based on in-depth, open-ended interviews with 32 key stakeholders in the transition process at a selected community college. Due to the nature of this research topic and the distinctiveness of the institutional culture of higher education, an exploratory study of a single case was chosen. A single case study emphasizes analysis in depth (Best & Kahn, 1993). Case study design, because of its flexibility and adaptability to a range of contexts, processes, people and foci, provides some of the most useful methods available in educational research (McMillan & Schumacher, 1997).
This study concluded that the individual Transition Response Framework was a good indicator of what was taking place in the lives of faculty members and administrators during the presidential transition process at the institution. Results indicated that participants scored from stage 1b. (not progressing past the transition event) to eleven of the thirty-two participants scoring stage 5, which is the completion of the transition process.
There had been no purposeful transition management by the President to lead his new organization and stakeholders through the transition process. Findings included the faculty not having a good understanding of the transition taking place with some getting stuck in a particular stage and not moving forward in the process. Several admitted that it was difficult to accept change. Administrators acknowledged that they now know more about the organization and how it is run and managed. Both groups stated there was a general lack of communication and that the president had not done enough to assist with the transition. The administrators are farther along in the transition process than the faculty as they scored higher as a group than the faculty on the ITRF.
Results showed that intentionality was lacking by the president in sharing a concrete vision and that the vision could not be described succinctly by faculty or administrators. The positive effect of learning, which moves individuals effectively through change (The Universal Change Principle, Lick & Kaufman, 2000/2001) was demonstrated in the results often. The findings of the ITRF have the potential to enable higher education presidents in transition to learn how to more effectively guide individuals affected by leadership transition in getting back on their feet in an efficient and productive way (Adams and Spencer, 1988). Several key recommendations for new presidents of institutions and recommendations for further research are also given.
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