Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Daniel M. Miller, PhD, Chair; Robert Donmoyer, PhD; Kathleen M. Collins, PhD


administration, case study, cultural norms, dean transitions, faculty, higher education, Leadership studies, organizational culture, organizational trust, perception, professional schools


This study looked for factors that might have influenced faculty perceptions of new deans at a professional school in the western part of the United States. More specifically, the study explored the question of how organizational trust may have influenced perceptions of new deans and faculty willingness to trust new deans. A single case study used guided interviews as data for the interpretive analysis. The study sought to provide insight into the phenomenon of dean transitions. The study also endeavored to add new dimensions to current conceptualizations of organizational trust and culture by highlighting a previously underexplored but potentially relevant connection between trust and culture at the organizational level. The study describes faculty perceptions of the effects of decanal turnover at the school. The study also describes faculty perceptions of the school's cultural environment, as well as faculty perceptions of relations between the dean and the faculty. The study's findings suggest that respondents perceived that trust played a critical role in their perceptions of new deans at the school. The findings also suggest an overlap between the factors that respondents cited as contributing to positive perceptions of new deans and the strategies a new dean might use to build and maintain trust among the school's faculty. The evidence from the study provides tentative support for the premise that respondents' expectations concerning the preservation of cultural norms may have influenced their assessments of the trustworthiness of new deans. The findings suggest that respondents expected new deans to maintain such norms as consultation, building consensus, and establishing rapport with faculty members. The findings further suggest that respondents based their assessments of a new dean's trustworthiness, in part, on whether or not the new dean upheld these norms. The study suggests that additional research is needed to investigate individual awareness of expectations concerning cultural norms and to further explore the ways in which cultural norms may influence assessments of trust within organizational environments. Finally, the study outlines a conceptual framework that allows for the possibility of a synergistic relationship involving organizational trust, such facets of organizational culture as psychological presence, and optimism about the future.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access