Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




This study was directed toward the discovery of a grounded theory that identifies the variables that influence and interact to influence resource management decision making in an institution of higher education. The constant comparative methods an inductive approach to generating theory, was used to study resource management decision making. The study consisted of an indepth case study of a medium sized public university. The study was a naturalistic inquiry of the resource management decision-making process.;The design of the study included three phases of research. Each phase employed different data gathering techniques, and each had its own purpose for obtaining various types of data. In Phase 1, a broad information base was developed through library research. From this base initial categories of variables were formulated. Phase 2 consisted of indepth open-ended interviews with top administrators of the subject institution. These interviews were used to guide data collection and analysis throughout the investigation. From the interview data and observations, propositions were formulated which reflected emerging interrelationships among the variables. In phase 3 the propositions were refined and subjected to field verification by constantly returning to the data.;A theory of heuristic decision making was developed which expands on existing models of decision making in higher education. The theory specifically addresses resource management decision making and identifies the variables which influence and those that interact to influence decision making. Appropriate responses to decision situations are discovered through three overlapping phases: (1) Predecisional, (2) Process, and (3) Resolution. Constitutional decision and delegation define decision-making structures which are modified by substructures which emerge. Leaders present tentative decisions which are subjected to an open political process and are modified until a degree of acceptance is developed. The political process is stimulated by advocates pressing for a particular solution. In brief, authoritative leadership sets the general direction, and through an open political process stimulated by advocacy a decision evolves that has a level of acceptance sufficient to allow implementation of the decision.



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