As the competition for students, funding, and visibility increases in higher education, university marketers have found themselves in a position to influence decisions at the highest levels and even shape institutional policy changes (Lauer, 2006). However, acceptance of this new leader has not been instantaneous or widespread; there have been many barriers for marketers to overcome (Lauer, 2000; Sevier, 2000). This study focuses on this leader's emergence, her or his influence on campus planning, and her or his struggles for acceptance within the campus culture.
Because there is a lack of current research on the leadership challenges and opportunities marketers encounter, I sought to determine through this study how much and the extent to which marketers influence the institutional planning process, the degree to which their leadership practices impact their involvement with planning, and the challenges marketers have experienced when trying to facilitate change outside of their area of direct responsibility. Data were collected through interviews with marketers at three private liberal arts colleges, three mid-size public universities, and three public research universities. I also interviewed the chief academic officer and the president of the faculty senate in an effort to triangulate the data at each of the institutions. The results helped me determine the impact marketing has had on the evolution of higher education, and also helped me better understand my own leadership abilities and how they compare to the marketers in the study.
The results of this study clearly show that marketing is embraced by all the institutions involved with this study, but it may be some time before the marketers are in a position to truly influence institutional strategic planning. The problem is that while the professionals are part of the management team, they are viewed as tacticians and information specialists, not strategists. To be seen as strategists, they must prove that they can solve problems beyond their own discipline and effect broad institutional issues that impact the larger university community. And finally, they must report directly to the president (Ryans & Shanklin, 1986). Sitting at the decisions making table is the first step in being able to influence decisions. Unfortunately, only one of the nine marketers studied, seems to have met all the criteria.
In conclusion, it has taken decades for marketing to make the transition from business to higher education. Isomorphic forces (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983) will likely continue to expedite acceptance and use of the concept, but it will likely take decades more until higher education abandons strategic planning for marketing. Marketing will play a continually larger role in the strategic planning process (Ryans & Shanklin, 1986), but product, price, and delivery decisions will be made elsewhere in the organization (Joyce et. al, 2000) for many years to come. Until then, the marketer will stay in the shadow of the strategic planner.
|Commitee:||Coaxum, James, Gallia, Thomas|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||DAI-A 68/10, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Marketing, School administration, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Campus leader, Educational marketer, Isomorphism, Leadership, Marketing, Public relations|
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