An examination of organizational fluidity and workplace quality in a community college setting : an internal multi-stakeholder perspective Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cf95jg01t

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  • Community colleges today are experiencing monumental shifts in their operating environments. Some of these changes are known, but many of them are not. They include shifts in curriculum, funding, and societal expectation to name a few. Through the constructs of high quality work environment and organizational fluidity theory, this research explored pathways of understanding toward developing holistic strategies of sustainably building institutional capacity to creatively and innovatively mitigate changes in the operating environment. This quasi-experimental single case study utilized existing organizational fluidity and high quality work environment Likert scales delivered in a semi-structured interview format. Conclusions derived from these findings were four fold: a) Organizational structures existed at the participant community college that may be barriers to achieving the desired fluid state. b) Insufficient internal formal and informal communication college wide coupled with lack of consistent college-wide strategic alignment created significant confusion for internal stakeholders. c) The high degree of workplace quality perceived at the college could potentially support further progress toward realizing a fluid operating state. d) For high quality workplace and organizational fluidity variables to more accurately describe the community college environment, community college specific terminology and motivations need to be reflected in the descriptive language. For the community college to move forward toward the fluid operating state that it desires, it was recommended that the college actively invest in reducing the structural barriers to organizational fluidity identified in this study and engage in developing a conscious strategy to improve both informal and formal communication throughout the college. This study contributes significant benefit in that it shows promise in indicating specific variables that a community college wishing to move toward or maintain a fluid state needs to either improve or maintain. With continued exploration, ultimately the hope with this new understanding is to offer new approaches to community colleges to allow them to fluidly to mitigate potentially disrupting events, to recognize environmental opportunity, and most importantly, to meet their missions of serving students and their communities more effectively. This was the first step.
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