Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Mario Martinez, Chair

Second Committee Member

Vicki Rosser

Third Committee Member

Gene Hall

Graduate Faculty Representative

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages



Faced with unprecedented budget cuts, Western University had implemented vertical cuts in the Spring of 2010 resulting in the elimination of two departments within their College of Education. Western University was not alone in its struggle. Institutions nationwide were coping with similar financial constraints, with freezes, consolidations, and eliminations becoming commonplace and threatening institutional quality.

The issue of how colleges and the leaders, groups, and individuals within them cope, process, and reorganize following eliminations has quickly gained importance, although there are few empirical studies to guide such changes. The existing literature on restructuring, particularly adaptability and change processes, has focused on the institutional and individual levels (Rubin, 1983; Eckel, 2003). A need for the development of more detailed theoretical frameworks, gaining perspectives of individuals at multiple levels, and addressing outcomes in addition to processes emerged (Astin, Keup, and Lindholm, 2002; Eckel, 2003; Lattuca, Terenzini, Harper, & Yi, 2009; Rhoades, 2000). The incorporation of the Burke-Litwin Causal Model of Organizational Performance and Change yielded perspectives of individuals at different levels as well as a detailed frame.

A qualitative, explanatory case study was employed as the method for this investigation. The unit of analysis for this case is Western University's College of Education, with embedded subunits conforming to the levels of the Burke-Litwin model. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted for this study, along with observation and document analysis.

Results reveal several propositions which can be applied both theoretically and practically. Individual perceptions, of both faculty/staff and leadership, differ based on their espoused roles, impacting the concerns and focus of the reorganization, their feelings toward reorganization, and the perceived magnitude of the change. The influence of the external environment, particularly key figureheads, may unfavorably impact the perceptions of the individuals experiencing the change, thereby shifting focus away from the change process. Also, processes and actions within a change process are symbolically important and should be aligned with leaders' actions and potential solutions.


Administrative agencies — Reorganization; Change; College restructuring; Department eliminations; Education; Organizational change; Reorganization; Universities and colleges — Administration; Universities and colleges – Departments


Educational Administration and Supervision | Higher Education Administration

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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