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ERIC Number: ED535099
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 168
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1249-2809-8
Organizational Commitment Patterns in Higher Education: A Study of Selected Midlevel Student Services Professionals
Baker-Tate, Ixchel M.
ProQuest LLC, D.Mgt. Dissertation, University of Maryland University College
The student services profession was designed to create a commitment to the "whole student" and as such, the professionals who serve in this profession recognize the importance of this complex relationship. A review of the literature revealed that student services professionals are unsung professionals who generally feel a sense of calling to their work and see this calling as a way of promoting student development in diverse forms; however, their reported attrition statistics suggest that a significant cost is associated with this calling and that there is an inconsistency between their commitment and job satisfaction. Midlevel student services professionals typically find themselves in positions that are at the low end of the pay scale and require a total professional life commitment, often at the expense of a personal life. In addition, these professionals often lack professional development and mentoring opportunities and available career advancement opportunities often require at least regional mobility. These factors, along with a few others, often contribute to a decision, by these professionals, to leave an organization or the profession. This qualitative study explores factors that affect organizational commitment among midlevel student services professionals and influence their decision to stay in or leave the profession. Eleven midlevel student services professionals employed at colleges and universities, the Department of Education, and other entities participated in the study. Intrinsic variables, such as the work itself (task variety), working with students, and a sense of duty based on achievement and responsibility were examined, along with extrinsic variables, such as salary, institutional policies and practices, and working conditions. The study participants provided a representative profile of committed student services professionals who enjoyed their job, were able to balance competing constituents, and understood not only the big picture of student services work, but of the institution where they worked. Using phenomenological analysis it was found that midlevel student services professionals are committed to the profession when their job satisfaction level is high from the enjoyment of the work itself, working conditions and level of recognition they receive. They attrite when their job dissatisfaction level is high from the implementation of institutional policies and practices that affect them and their jobs and when there is a dissonance with values of their employer. The study findings revealed a need for open dialogue between these professionals and university administrators. It is recommended that university leaders work to increase commitment of midlevel student services professionals by: (a) providing adequate resources in the form of money, personnel, and equipment to remain effective and focus on students; (b) having open communication to express their concerns and needs; (c) providing professional development opportunities for enhancing their skill sets; (d) providing compensation commensurate with their position and responsibilities; and (e) serving as an advocate, supporter and provider of meaningful recognition of the student services profession. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A