After examining the research from within and outside of higher education on organizational performance, this paper identifies eight practices common among high-performance organizations: leadership, focus on the customer, functional alignment, process improvement, use of measurement, employee involvement and professional development, and external linkages. Evidence suggests that these organizational practices have the greatest impact on performance when implemented in concert with one another. The paper assesses the extent to which community colleges generally are following these practices and evaluates current reform efforts in light of models of organizational effectiveness that emerge from the research literature.
In order to bring about improvements in organizational performance, community colleges will need to involve faculty and staff in reform efforts. This paper reviews research on strategies for engaging faculty and staff in organizational innovation and describes particular challenges community colleges face on this front. The concluding section recommends concrete steps community college leaders can take to redesign how they manage programs and services to increase rates of student completion on a scale needed to help meet national goals for college attainment.