Date of Award

8-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Member

Dr. Russ Marion, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Jon Christiansen

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Knoeppel

Committee Member

Dr. James Satterfield

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate higher education enrollment management (EM) as a complex adaptive system (CAS) and to provide colleges and universities a foundational understanding of what a sustainable EM system looks like from a Dynamic Network Analysis (DNA) perspective. Additionally, I aimed to describe how formal network structures either promote or inhibit sustainable EM. To this end, the following research questions guided this study: 1. To what extent is the research site organized to enable effective and efficient information flow? 2. Which combinations of independent network measures (adaptive leadership, social capital, and clique structure) produce optimal outcome measures for a sustainable EM system? The research design was an exploratory, sequential mixed methods design, and the research methodologies used for data analysis were DNA and Response Surface Methods (RSM). Two online surveys were used to collect data about the network structure of the EM research site (referred to in the study as Midwestern University or MU), and those data were conditioned and analyzed in order to determine what levels of independent network measures (adaptive leadership, resource capability, and clique structure) produced optimal levels of information flow operationalized using the dependent network measure, average speed. The results showed that the greatest stability in information flow holds resource capability at a constant high level (0.781) with clustering and closeness centrality at average levels (0.255 and 0.396, respectively). Resource capability was the main factor influencing the average speed of information flow; clustering had no significant impact. These results suggested that easy access to resources (a high level of social capital)—regardless of the level of adaptive leadership (closeness centrality) or clique structure (clustering coefficient)—was extremely important for the EM system to sustain itself (and ultimately, the institution) regardless of changes and pressures from within and from outside of the current environment.

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