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ERIC Number: EJ857046
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 50
ISSN: ISSN-1359-6748
Strange Bedfellows: Explaining the Popularity of Business Majors at Self-Proclaimed Liberal Arts Colleges in the USA
Delucchi, Michael
Research in Post-Compulsory Education, v14 n2 p171-188 Jun 2009
This study examines the relationship between the most popular major field of degrees awarded by baccalaureate colleges in the USA and the organisational language used to identify themselves as liberal arts institutions. Informed by competing theoretical frameworks (neoinstitutional theory and strategic adaptation), two primary research questions guide this research. First, how often will business be the most popular major at baccalaureate colleges whose public rhetoric proclaims a commitment to a liberal arts and sciences education? Second, what environmental and organisational characteristics predict the popularity of business majors at these institutions? The results reveal a decoupled (inconsistent) relationship between the popularity of the business major (at 55% of the institutions) and the liberal arts identity that is a foremost component of these colleges' public self-presentations. Multivariate analysis indicates that technical, market-based forces predict decoupling, but the promotion of liberal arts rhetoric suggests that while colleges adapted to technical environmental pressures, they remained concerned with legitimacy. Therefore, both neoinstitutional and strategic adaptation theories were necessary to explain how and why "liberal arts" colleges maintain socially acceptable accounts to justify actions of questionable institutional legitimacy. (Contains 3 tables and 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A