Date of Award

2021-05-23

Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Lea Hubbard, PhD, Chair; Gail F. Baker, PhD, Member; Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Member;

Keywords

marketing, higher education, communication, organizational identity, culture, strategy, decision-making, internal pressures, external pressures, Covid-19, racial justice movements, crisis, Black Lives Matter movements, pandemic, students, faculty, governance, policy, value, institution, structure, leadership, communication leadership, Jesuit institutions, discernment, academia, business, university change, university dynamics, organizational change, public health, executive leaders, collaboration, dialogue, discernment, Jesuit ideals, Ignatian discernment, Ignatian indifference, reflection, identity

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the communication strategies and decision-making processes of executive higher education leaders at a specific, residential liberal arts higher educational institution. Supplemental interviews with three executive leaders at similar institutions were also identified and recommended for participation by interview respondents at the original case site. The actions of higher education executive leaders at this case site and supplemental institutions were investigated in the context of understanding how organizational identity and culture and marketing efforts impact the construction of higher education institutions’ communication strategies, and how identity and culture shape communication strategies in an iterative way during a time of two concurrent crises—COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice protest movement. Four research questions guided the study: What are the communication strategies of higher education executive leaders during a time of two concurrent crises—COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice protest movement? What are the internal and external pressures that influence their decisions regarding the communication strategies they adopt? To what extent, if any, do their communication strategies support or challenge organizational culture, identity, and marketing efforts during a time of two concurrent crises—COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice protest movement? In what ways have these two concurrent crises—COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice protest movement—changed these communication processes? Findings from the case study interviews fell into five categories: communication strategy, decision-making processes, internal and external pressures, organizational culture and identity, and changes in communications strategies due to the concurrent crises. Studying the communication strategies of higher education leaders and the impact of their communication decisions not only provides frames of reference for leadership decision-making in academia as a cultural-shaping industry, but also reveal powerful nuances in understanding “value” perceptions that dwell far beyond the institutional structure of higher education, particularly during this time of two concurrent crises—COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice protest movement.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only

Department

Leadership Studies

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Saturday, August 27, 2022

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