ERIC Number: ED214471
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
What is the Problem of Retrenchment in Higher Education?
Petrie, Hugh G.; Alpert, Daniel
Single- and double-loop organizational learning are discussed in the context of higher education retrenchment. A model of the research university illuminates impediments to internal resource reallocation, program elimination, and integrative leadership, and suggests the need for alternatives to usual efforts to increase efficiency while retaining existing norms, goals, and organizational structures. It is suggested that if planning is done solely in terms of present images and structures, the planning may or may not be appropriate. If all that is needed is greater efficiency, then single-loop learning is feasible and adequate. Using existing images and norms for planning will not be useful in those cases in which the adaptive course of action requires changing the basic premises. There is also a larger context within which one can discuss both single- and double-loop learning. It is suggested that if one is in a position to consider various alternatives, it would not imply change for the sake of change, but might avoid hasty reaction to crisis. It is proposed that the university president has limited influence on the institution's research or educational missions. The ultimate test of an institution's responses to retrenchment is the achievement of equilibrium between its functional activities and the external environment. When there is equilibrium, single-loop organizational learning is sufficient but when an institution faces dilemmas, double-loop learning is needed for survival. A bibliography is appended. (SW)
Descriptors: Administrative Organization, Change Strategies, College Administration, College Environment, College Planning, College Role, Decision Making, Educational Objectives, Financial Problems, Higher Education, Leadership Responsibility, Models, Organizational Change, Organizational Theories, Problem Solving, Program Termination, Resource Allocation, Retrenchment
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Research Universities
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 1982).