ERIC Number: ED345636
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
The Problem Solving Role of the University Department Chair.
Seedorf, Rita G.
A descriptive study was conducted to identify the problems met by university department chairs and describe the most common methods for dealing with them. The data were gathered by both qualitative and quantitative methods using a national survey of 808 department chairs (with a 70.2% response rate) as well as a series of semi-structured open-ended interviews. The theoretical framework for the study used notions of organizational socialization, focusing on the third stage of "learning the ropes" which is identified as the adaptation phase. Results of the study indicated that three main surprises challenge most chairs, in the areas of dealing with people, coping with the bureaucracy of the university, and counteracting the negative effect which being department chair has on research productivity. Results also indicated that department chairs used a variety of responses or "sense making processes" to adjust to the surprises. In general, chairs accepted the volume of paperwork required in the position, without effort to change it. Chairs used a variety of strategies to respond to the demands of working with and being available to other people and to respond to the need to find time for their own research. Included are three figures, an appendix containing descriptions of the interview subjects, and 17 references. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (San Francisco, CA, April 20-24, 1992).