Strategic planning in one community college : changing the balance between analysis and synthesis Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rf55zb03k

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  • Strategic planning is a frequently used method for defining appropriate institutional responses to changing internal and external conditions. Numerous efforts have been made to adopt strategic planning styles that were originally developed in manufacturing businesses to the purposes of higher education. Despite theses efforts, community colleges have not yet developed concepts of planning processes that serve them appropriately. The study begins with an extensive review of the literature of strategic planning as previously practiced in traditional business concerns and as attempted in higher education. The narrative description of the case reveals the somewhat chaotic nature of a planning process that was carried out in a "professional" organization that is "loosely coupled" to its administrative structure (the community college). The study then examines the descriptive data derived from the case through the perspective of two major planning viewpoints exemplified by the writings of Bryson (an experiential view) and Mintzberg (an epistemological view). From a process of meta-analysis, working assertions and hypotheses (or natural generalizations) are developed that describe a more qualitative, less rationalistic set of concepts by which it may be possible to perform strategic planning in community colleges more effectively. Among these are: 1) Strategy formulated in higher education organizations is both deliberately formulated and brought about as a by-product of interest-group negotiations. 2) Strategies that successfully moved from conception to implementation were those that had strong "champions" or advocates promoting the strategy throughout the process. Three factors seem to be required to implement a strategy across the organization, announcement, education, and accountability. The data from the study suggests that there could be described a set of concepts for strategy formulation in community colleges that would incorporate both the rational, formal aspects of much of the prescriptive literature, and the entrepreneurial, emergent characteristics of a more qualitative methodology. Some ideas about how this might be brought about are discussed.
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