ERIC Number: ED393376
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar-22
Reference Count: N/A
The Implications of Chaos Theory for Strategic Planning in Higher Education.
This paper argues that chaos theory may be a an appropriate framework for strategic planing in higher education and presents a brief case study of a strategic planning process underway at Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) in Virginia where chaos theory is in use. Chaos theory holds that many seemingly random activities and systems evidence complex, replicated patterns. The behavior of these systems is nonlinear, that is, behavior feeds back upon itself and modifies the patterns. Further, predictability of the system's behavior is restricted to a relatively short time frame. Implications of chaos theory for strategic planning include the following: (1) the ideal outcome of planning is planning; (2) planning begins with a distillation of the institution's key values and purposes; (3) the widest possible universe of information should be made available to all members of the institution; (4) dissent and conflict are creative, healthy, and real; (5) linear patterns do not work in strategic planning; (6) institutions should budget fiscally and psychically for failure; (7) initial time investments are recouped with interest in the future; (8) the executive is not demoted or minimized but is ultimately empowered by the process; and (9) the future cannot be predicted beyond a most modest time frame. (Contains 29 references.) (JB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Blue Ridge Community College VA
Note: Paper presented at Great Lakes/Midwest Regional Conference of the Society for College and University Planning (Chicago, IL, March 22, 1996).