ERIC Number: ED394422
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
The Role of Formal and Informal Sources of Information in Trustee Decision Making at Small Private Colleges Struggling for Survival.
Putnam, Mark L.
This paper examines the role of formal and informal sources of information in a higher education governing board's decision to close its doors, merge with another institution, or continue to struggle for independent survival. Answers to the deciding questions were found in the shared experiences of governing board members as they confronted obstacles and formulated a final decision. This study was grounded in a multiple case study analysis of three small, private colleges facing similar decisions in which one closed (Jesson College), one merged (Hendrickson College), and one continued to struggle for independence (Quinn College). In the first phase of the study, research focused on document analysis, including minutes of governing bodies, admission and enrollment reports, and college catalogues. In the second phase, in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with three to four trustees from each institution. The third phase involved obtaining an aggregate view of board members' access to information about the college, preferences for formal and informal sources of information, and the manner in which this information was utilized. Overall conclusions were based on a synthesis of the insight gained from the qualitative research with the results of the quantitative analysis. Findings indicate that boards gather information through both formal and informal channels that greatly impact their decision-making process. It was noted that formal sources do become more important as the crisis situation develops. (Contains 28 references.) (NAV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-13, 1996).