FY 2010: The Response of the In-House Lobbyists at the State-Related Research Universities of Pennsylvania to an Economic Crisis

Open Access
Author:
Glade, Tyrone H
Graduate Program:
Higher Education
Degree:
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
June 17, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Dorothy H Evensen, Dissertation Advisor
  • Dorothy H Evensen, Committee Chair
  • Robert M Hendrickson, Committee Member
  • Jacqueline Edmondson, Committee Member
  • Nona Ann Prestine, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • state appropriations
  • research universities
  • lobbying
  • lobbyists
  • political perspective
  • in-house lobbyists
  • Pennsylvania
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to understand: 1) how the in-house lobbyists of Pennsylvania’s state-related public research universities dealt with an economic crisis as it affected the FY 2009-2010 appropriation process; and 2) how the in-house lobbyists at the state-related public research universities of Pennsylvania defined successful lobbying during an economic crisis? The state-related public research universities of Pennsylvania include: Penn State University, Temple University, and the University of Pittsburgh. The political perspective as described by Pfeffer (1981; 1992), Bolman and Deal (2008), Oliver (1991), and others served as the conceptual framework for this study. The political perspective views conflict between individuals and/or organizations as normal because of heterogeneous goals and scarce resources. Power becomes an important asset in determining what goals are pursued and allocation of resources. Resolution of conflict in not emphasized in the political perspective whereas the use of tactics and strategies to increase power are. To answer the questions, a qualitative case study was used. A document analysis was used to describe the economic crisis as it affected Pennsylvania, the FY 2009-2010 appropriation process, and the state-related public research universities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the in-house lobbyists at the state-related public research universities of Pennsylvania to gain their perspectives on the economic crisis and defining success. Analysis of the data revealed that the in-house lobbyist used a number of tactics and strategies to influence legislators during the contentious FY 2009-2010 appropriation process. They used rational arguments in value creation or value claiming terms; and given the economic realities being faced in the Commonwealth and the antagonistic proposals of the governor, many of the arguments were value claiming in nature. The importance of allies and friends at the statehouse, at the institution, and outside of the institution became apparent. The in-house lobbyists defined the FY 2009-2010 budgetary process as successful given the context of the economic crisis. Many of the successes achieved during the appropriation process were defensive in nature. Underlying successful lobbying was the importance of building relationships with legislators and other government officials.