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ERIC Number: ED159940
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Mar-19
Pages: 23
Abstractor: N/A
The Graduate School and Its Organizational Structure: A Contingency Theory Approach.
Sanford, Judith Babcock
Contingency theory, the formal structure of graduate schools, and the applicability of contingency variables to graduate schools as organizations are examined. Contingency theory is based on an open systems concept that views an organization as composed of many interdependent parts that are interacting with one another. It also holds that under certain conditions, an organization or a unit may use a closed system model, such as bureaucracy. The history of graduate education in the United States is sketched. A preliminary assessment of the current organizational structure of a random sample of graduate schools was undertaken. The structure of the graduate school is formed by the dean and other administrative personnel, and the Graduate Council, which is composed of selected graduate faculty members, a few administrators "ex officio," and some students. The graduate school structure does not seem to "fit" contingency theory prescriptions regarding technology and environmental variables. The nonroutine, intensive type of technology of the graduate school, and the uncertainty and dynamism of the environment would suggest an organic system; however, that used by the graduate school tends to be mechanistic, with standardization having priority. A question worthy of further study is whether a graduate school would be more effective if structural changes were made to fit the contingency variables. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (Chicago, Illinois, March 19, 1978) ; Table II is marginally legible due to small type