The implementation of state-mandated program review: A case study of governance and decision-making in community colleges.
AuthorWhite, Kenneth Bruce.
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.
AbstractThis study analyzes the dominant governance and decision making characteristics in community colleges by tracing the implementation of state mandated program review through two Florida community colleges. An alternative hypothesis is presented which challenges the predominate assumption in the community college literature which portrays these institutions as bureaucratic organizations. Through the application of a hybrid framework which combines three dominant organizational models--bureaucratic, political, and organized anarchy--with three parallel views of policy implementation--programmed, evolutionary, and adaptive--the study suggests that in governance and decision making as well as policy implementation, these colleges exhibit behavior more varied and complex than can be captured by any one model. A case study method was utilized to address the assumptions of the study. Field work included extensive interviews at both institutions and at the Division of Community Colleges. Content analysis was completed on the data gathered on site and analyzed across the several dimensions of the framework. In addition to suggesting alternative governance and decision making models, the study also challenges the closed systems perception of community colleges. Issues of coordination and control are explored, particularly in relation to the environmental vulnerability of two-year colleges. The study concludes that community college governance and decision making is too complex to be explained by a single model. Political and anarchic behavior are generally more prevalent than bureaucratic behavior. The president at each institution exercised authority in a manner which encouraged political and anarchic behavior. This led ultimately to increased presidential discretion and greater executive or managerial authority. These institutions responded to the state policy initiative by projecting the appropriate image of conformity to the state while simultaneously buffering the institution from any substantive policy influence. Implications for further research include the need to more thoroughly analyze the open systems nature of two-year colleges, with particular emphasis on the complex environment in which they operate. Policy implementation in community colleges should be reconsidered in light of the adaptive and evolutionary implementation behavior of these local institutions.
Degree ProgramEducational Foundations and Administration