AuthorHOLLMANN, BARBARA BOGART.
Committee ChairHarcleroad, Fred F.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBoundary spanning--the exchange of information, resources, and influence across the boundaries of an organization--is critical to the survival of organizations functioning in changing and uncertain environments. Student affairs employees in a contemporary university span multiple boundaries while providing services to current, former, and future students. However, little is known about the nature and function of boundary spanning activity (BSA) in student affairs work. This study examined employee interaction with persons outside their student affairs unit at a large, public university. Research questions guided the investigation of the nature and extent of BSA and the perceived purposes and experiences with BSA. Actual BSA included time involvement, focus, mode, specificity, and initiation of the interaction. Hierarchical level and sex of respondent were examined for moderating effects. Activity log and questionnaire data were obtained from 145 employees, hierarchically classified as administrative, professional/managerial, supervisory/technical, or support personnel. Data were analyzed and tested for significance through chi-square tests, factor analysis, and analysis of variance. Results indicated that student affairs workers spent a meaningful amount of time engaged in boundary spanning, and that the nature and extent of BSA varied significantly among hierarchy levels. Most BSA was initiated by others and was focused on students or on persons within the university rather than on persons outside the university. Student affairs workers used unscheduled and telephone modes of BSA more often than scheduled or written modes, and generally perceived their actions as standardized-routine. However, administrative and professional/managerial personnel commonly perceived their actions as discretionary-judgmental. Few actions were classified as creative-innovative. External representation was perceived as the predominant function of BSA. Within this function, the perceived primary purposes involved giving information and knowledge, and establishing credibility and rapport. Generally, employees had positive perceptions of the value and tone of their experiences with BSA; but perceptions of the structure and frequency of BSA were mixed or slightly negative. The results showed that employees were not maximizing the potential for information processing and proactive outreach BSA.
Degree ProgramHigher Education