Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Mario C. Martinez

Second Committee Member

Vicki J. Rosser

Third Committee Member

Robert Ackerman

Fourth Committee Member

Christopher Stream

Number of Pages



The focus of this research was to examine the funding relationship between a single public institution of higher education and its accompanying system office. Such a study is important in order to obtain insight into the relationship between a System Office and an institution, and thus how institutions carry out their fiscal responsibilities, not directly to the state but to the System Office they serve. The study provides insight into how the System Office communicates and transacts with an institution regarding financial allocations. Also important is whether that institution receives effective communication and whether the institution's perceived expectations are as the System Office intended. Finally, the study is significant because it provides insight into whether the institution is fulfilling the expectations of the System Office and uncovering potential reasons why these expectations are or are not being met.

The research approach adopted in this dissertation includes a qualitative research approach. Since one of the aims of this study was to initiate research about the relationship between an institution and the System Office to which it reports, an exploratory single case study design is an appropriate method of inquiry. This single case study examined the relationship between one public institution of higher education and the System Office to which it reports. The relationship between the two organizations is the unit of analysis. The case is bounded by context through the funding interactions between the institution and System Office. Principal Agent Theory was selected in order to construct a rigorous case study and to define the unit of analysis and conceptual framework. Principal Agent Theory provided insight into how the institution carried out its duties as an agent for the principal (System Office); and how the System Office as a principal managed its relationship with the agent (campus). Specifically, the study investigated the relationship between the California State University System Office and one campus of the California State University system within the context of funding processes. Funding processes between the system and the campus includes how funds are allocated and the expectations and goals that accompany such allocations.

The results of this study can serve as a reference for college researchers, organizations, finance administrators, policy analysts, and state legislators to gain a better understanding of how the relationship between System Offices and institutions can be enhanced to more effectively and efficiently utilize public resources.


Economics; Education; Finance; Principal-agent; Research grants; Universities and colleges – Finance


Education Policy | Higher Education Administration

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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