Date of Award

Spring 4-25-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Floralba A. Marrero, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Patricia Y. Talbert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jim Therrell, Ph.D.


Higher education organizations gather significant data from their constituents throughout student enrollment to graduation and beyond. This qualitative phenomenological study explored how college executives make decisions for their organizations. The Competing Values Framework (CVF) provided the conceptual framework for this study which focuses on how an organization relates to its environment. Eight executives consisting of five vice presidents, one enrollment executive, one dean, and one director, at higher education institutions accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges participated in this research study. Semistructured interviews, an open-ended questionnaire, and a review of participant college website data were the methods used to collect and analyze data for this study. Executives interviewed for this study revealed three primary areas within colleges for which they make decisions; these categories were the operational, functional and human element. Four prevalent themes aiding in the decisions these executives make emerged: collaboration, cooperation, communication, and data sharing. Results of the interviews, responses to questionnaires, and review of participant documents led to the concussion that these executives make methodical decisions when having time to consult the data gathered by their departments. When making snap decisions that may not necessarily require extensive data they rely on their “gut” and personal experiences. Future studies might examine the analytical process executives may take when making decisions on behalf of their organizations.

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