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ERIC Number: ED540703
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 341
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-1288-0
Exploring the Development of a Competitive-Advantage Model for Online Education in a Small State University
Essary, Michael
ProQuest LLC, D.B.A. Dissertation, Northcentral University
In the 2000s, changes in the external environment, including changing student demographics, increased competition, and declining government support, are affecting public higher education administrators. The growth in online enrollment is increasing at a rate higher than the total higher education enrollment, and the majority of university leadership indicates online education is essential to their institutions' future strategies. A review of the literature indicates a lack of planning tools for public higher education administrative decision making regarding an efficient balance of traditional and online courses. One type of planning tool that could be effectively used for higher education administrative decision making is a competitive-advantage model. The purpose of the current qualitative, exploratory, multiple-case study was to create a competitive-advantage model for online and traditional education that would assist university leadership in strategic decision making. The study was conducted at Athens State University, located in Athens, Alabama. The focus of the study was to gain in-depth knowledge of the internal and external factors at Athens State to create a competitive-advantage model for online and traditional education. A semistructured interview questionnaire was used to gather data for the study. Purposeful sampling was used to select 16 participants from the administration, accounting/business office staff, and members of the University Master Plan Committee who had specific knowledge of the problems studied. Yin's 5-phased cycle qualitative data analysis process was used to process the data via grounded codes. The emergent study themes were management, distance learning cost, funding, competitive issues, faculty concerns, community interactions, and students. The study results included 4 key factors that establish the limits of what a public institution can successfully achieve: institutional strengths and weaknesses, institutional opportunities and threats, broader societal expectations and taxpayer expectations, and the personal values of the institution. The competitive-advantage model for online and traditional education decision making developed in this study, if implemented and applied effectively, may become an important tool for ensuring the continued existence and profitability of small colleges such as Athens State. Future research should explore the results of implementing the competitive-advantage model for online and traditional education to assist in strategic decision making. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama