ERIC Number: ED457931
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-May
A Chaos-Theory Metaphor for Strategic Planning in Higher Education: An Exploratory Study.
Cutright, William Marcus
This dissertation is based on the ideas that: (1) metaphor is essential to the conception of and life in organizations; (2) the dominant organizational metaphor of life within universities, particularly from an administrative perspective, is Newtonian/mechanical; and (3) a metaphoric perspective grounded in chaos theory might be helpful in approaching the specific institutional function of planning. Put forward are 10 propositions derived from a coincident consideration of chaos theory--the study of complex, replicated patterns in seemingly random phenomena--and of classic and progressive prescriptions for strategic planning. These propositions include: (1) the ideal outcome of planning is planning, not a plan; (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--this universe includes ongoing, rich, and current feedback; and (4) dissent and conflict are creative, healthy, and real. These propositions were examined in the context of planning experiences at four diverse institutions. The propositions and the descriptive enrichment they received through the case-study database formed an extended metaphor that provided a conceptual coherence for successful practices in strategic planning, and therefore, a general, prescriptive approach or model for institutions embarking on planning efforts. (Contains 133 references.) (GC)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Doctoral Dissertation, University of Tennessee at Knoxville.