Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Role of the Chief Marketing Officer in Higher Education: Leveraging Bureaucratic and Network Power to Effect Change
by Polec, Angela, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 226; 13902338
Abstract (Summary)

The increasingly competitive higher education landscape has resulted in colleges and universities making significant investments in marketing and communications. With this investment, a new senior level administrative position has emerged. Chief marketing officer (CMO) positions in higher education take a variety of forms and have been rising through the hierarchical ranks; however, little is known about how these leaders are influencing change within their institutions. The purpose of this study was to explore different types of CMO roles in higher education, the areas in which CMOs are effecting change, the ways in which they are effecting change, and the perceived value of these roles from the perspective of presidents and other campus leaders. Specifically, this study explored how higher education CMOs use the following levers in their role to effect change: bureaucratic power, network power, and leadership style.

In this comparative, multisite case study, the differences and similarities between higher education CMO roles that operate in a broader capacity, influencing positioning strategy at the institution (positioning CMO) and roles that operate in the more traditional, promotional capacity (promotional CMO) were explored. Two sites with positioning CMO roles were selected as well as two comparable institutions with a promotional CMO.

An apparent lack of comparable differences in the realities of the role, the scope of work, and the institutional impact between the positioning CMOs and the promotional CMOs were found in this study. Both types of CMOs were effecting change at the institutional level beyond the scope of marketing and communications through a combination of bureaucratic and network power. Also identified in this study are the key contributors to both bureaucratic and network power and a framework for the intersection of the two power sources in the CMO’s ability to effect change in higher education is proposed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Eckel, Peter D.
Commitee: Weaver, Karen, Seligman, Joel
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher education, Marketing, Higher Education Administration
Keywords: Bureaucratic power, Chief marketing officer, Higher education marketing, Network power
Publication Number: 13902338
ISBN: 9781085652162
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