Date of Award

12-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Committee Member

Tony W. Cawthon, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Russ Marion

Committee Member

Michelle L. Boettcher

Committee Member

Robert C. Knoeppel

Committee Member

Michael C. Shurden

Abstract

Recent articles in the news clearly indicate that changes are occurring in American higher education requiring universities to rely on faculty who can initiate change through creativity and innovation (Zhou & George, 2001). Creativity is generally defined as the generation of products or ideas that are both novel and appropriate (Hennessey & Amabile, 2010). Institutional theory, leader-member exchange theory (LMX), and the componential theory of creativity provide the theoretical framework for this study. This study explores the effects of faculty perceptions of external environmental pressures in higher education on faculty perceptions of their creativity. This study also examines: (a) the effects of perceived external environmental factors on the faculty perceived LMX relationship, (b) the effects of the faculty perceived LMX relationship on faculty perceptions of their creativity, (c) the mediating effects of the faculty perceived leader-member relationship on the perceived external environmental pressures to perceived creativity relationship and (d) the moderating effect of a requirement to publish on the external pressure to creativity relationship. The primary research question for this study is: Do perceived external environmental pressures and leader-member exchange (LMX) relationships affect faculty creativity in higher education? This primary question is supported by five secondary questions examining the multiple dimensions of the study. This study uses an online survey, derived from an initial pilot study, to measure faculty perceptions of external environmental pressures, faculty creativity, and the LMX relationship. Participants are faculty members from one public liberal arts university and from one public research university, both located in the southwestern United States. The data and path model for the study is analyzed using the partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) technique provided through the SmartPLS software program. The results of this study indicate a positive relationship exists between faculty perceptions of external environmental pressures and their creativity, and an inverse relationship exists between faculty perceptions of external environmental pressures and the LMX relationship. No significant relationship was found between faculty perceptions of their LMX relationship and their creativity. There is no evidence of a mediating effect by LMX on the external pressure to creativity path, nor is there evidence of a moderating effect from a requirement to publish on this path. The results of this study provide implications for practice including recommendations for faculty, leaders, and policy. Also provided are recommendations for future research. This study is unique in that no investigations into the effects of external environmental pressures on higher education using the mechanisms of isomorphism as outlined by institutional theory (coercive, mimetic, and normative pressures) were found during the literature review. This study therefore, provides a basis for future investigations into the effects of external environmental pressures on higher education.

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