Year of Publication

2006

Season of Publication

Spring

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Warren A. Hodge

Third Advisor

Dr. Joyce T. Jones

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Stephen K. Paulson

Department Chair

Dr. Joyce T. Jones

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel

Abstract

This research was a descriptive cross-site case study of organizational structures of public workforce education institutions in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky. Organizational structures in public workforce education institutions can be found in four basic designs: technical centers, technical colleges, community colleges, and community and technical colleges. The purpose of this study was to investigate the concept of organizational structure in terms of the operation and effectiveness of workforce education institutions by studying four workforce institutions operating under differing arrangements.

This study investigated the following research questions:
1. Does organizational structure influence specific outcome factors for and between selected workforce education institutions?
2. Does organizational structure influence the processes and operations of workforce education institutions as reflected through a comparative policy analysis of the selected workforce education institutions?

The study was conducted as a cross-site analysis of case studies of the selected schools to develop justified patterns of successful factors among schools. Data were collected during semi-structured interviews by audiotape recording and then transcribed. After making site visits to each school both qualitative interview data and quantitative program and institutional data were used for analysis of factors and characteristics that were linked to success by the school. Upon the completion of the four case studies, a comparative analysis was performed to discover the relationships among the participating schools through their commonalities and differences.

Each of these organizational structures provided evidence of the production of successful graduates from their workforce programs. Although differences existed in the student completion rates and enrollment to completion ratio for the selected schools, every school had effectively placed their students in training-related jobs after program completion. As opposed to the individual institutions, the four organizational structures are a reflection of equifinality in that each structure is organized, governed, funded, and operated differently, and yet they each produce graduates who can successfully occupy technical career positions in the workforce.

These schools have successfully developed the ability to be organizationally adaptable in order to sustain their existence. The study discovered that organizational structure may not be the central factor to determine the success or failure of an institution. But organizational structure should not be ignored for it does appear that institutions devoted only to workforce goals have a history of greater student completion. The study also produced the following six recommended practices for inclusion in all organizational structures. Public workforce institutions should have a dedicated local governing board; state level governance; integral participation in the state's economic development effort; precise program delivery processes; required strategic planning; and a supportive state legislature educated about the needs of workforce education.

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