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ERIC Number: ED536725
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 162
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2670-9031-7
Using Sanctioned Athletics Programs to Understand Stakeholders' Perceived Influence in Decisions at Major Research Universities
Hirko, Scott
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
This study set out to learn more about the perceived influence of stakeholders on academic decisions affecting intercollegiate athletics, with the intent that such knowledge would help provide useful implications for future leaders making decisions that impact unique student populations. As an area of research, the semi-autonomous unit of intercollegiate athletics provided insight into how individual stakeholders interacted, particularly around certain policies, programs, or procedures. Estler and Nelson (2005) noted that, "an understanding of the nature and role of forces influencing intercollegiate athletics allows new strategies for planning and prioritizing sports within the college or university" (p. xi). Notably, in 2010, the situation around American intercollegiate athletics was one in which many believed that the decision-makers at higher education institutions were placing a greater emphasis on athletic success at a cost to academic success. This tension between athletics and academics on campus provided a useful context to investigate perceived influence of stakeholders. A framework for the study was created to learn about those individuals who have a stake in, and perceived they could influence, academic decisions in intercollegiate athletics. The framework focused on the theories of power and influence, as well as a consideration of the loosely-coupled system of athletics within higher education and also the shared governance structure of higher education. Research focused on academic performance, admissions policies, and course selection practices within intercollegiate athletics to understand who, how, and why certain stakeholders may be, or may perceive themselves to be, influential in decision-making. Interviews of 18 stakeholders were conducted at three major research institutions recently sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for having poor academic performance of several of their athletic teams. Using a constant comparative and cross-case analysis of the data, several themes emerged from the interviews. Analyzing the themes from the conceptual framework led to several implications for higher education stakeholders, including faculty and administrative leaders. Implications contributed to the knowledge in higher education about strategies stakeholders used to make decisions, particularly when situations are most urgent. Three major implications were derived from this study: (1) Using urgency as a management strategy can provide leaders with an opportunity to adapt and respond quickly to situations, create greater stakeholder understanding of the rationale behind decisions, and enhance institutional pride through shared values and symbolism; (2) The interactive nature of situational leadership is an important implication, as stakeholders can realize their leadership also depends on how their engagement with others is impacted by the situation and by the environment; and, (3) Building and using cross-campus relationships is a critical tool for stakeholders to influence academic decisions. [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; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A