Teachers College, Columbia University

Organizational Learning by Colleges Responding to Performance Funding: Deliberative Structures and Their Challenges

By Sosanya Jones, Kevin Dougherty, Hana Lahr, Rebecca Natow, Lara Pheatt & Vikash Reddy

This paper identifies and analyzes the deliberative structures used by colleges and universities to respond to performance funding demands and the factors that aid and hinder their working. Our data come from telephone interviews with over 200 college personnel at nine community colleges and nine public universities in three states: Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. The respondents were senior administrators, middle-level administrators, academic deans, and department chairs at these institutions.

Our investigation found that colleges use a variety of deliberative structures, including both their general administrative structures and more specialized and evanescent structures such as strategic planning committees and accreditation review committees, to engage in organizational learning. The aids and hindrances to effective deliberation that colleges encounter principally involve organizational commitment and leadership, effective communication and collaboration, timely and relevant data, and enough time for deliberation.