HOW DOES ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE INFLUENCE COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AND INTEGRATED SERVICES IN THE NON-ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES IN THREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF UNIVERSITIES IN CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA: A MULTIPLE CASE STUDY

Open Access
Author:
Anderson, Cavil Sybil
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
November 09, 2017
Committee Members:
  • William J. Rothwell , Dissertation Advisor
  • William J. Rothwell , Committee Chair
  • Cynthia Pellock, Committee Member
  • Wesley Edward Donahue, Committee Member
  • Nicole Sheree Webster, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • Organization Development
  • Change Management
  • Organizational Structure
  • Human Resources
  • Student Affairs
  • Organizational Silos
  • Training and Development
  • Higher Education Hierarchies
  • Boundaryless Organizational Structures
  • Cross-functional Structure
  • Collaboration
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to explore how organizational structure is perceived to influence collaborative learning and integrated services in the non-academic department of human resources in three different types of universities in central Pennsylvania. The study focused narrowly on nine respondents, three heads and six middle management employees. Using the theoretical framework of Galbraith’s star model (strategy, structure, processes, people, and rewards) to guide the research, offered a systemic framework. The study deployed a case study method to answer three research questions: (a) how was the department of human resources structured to deliver collaborative learning and integrated services, (b) what organizational features facilitated collaborative learning and integrated service and, (c) what was considered to be the most critical features to achieve collaborative learning and integrated services. The researcher performed a qualitative thematic analysis, a cross-case analysis, online document review, and kept observational field notes. The findings of this study broadly comport with the published literature related to the topic. As others have noted, the complex, bureaucratic system continues to serve as the dominant model of academic administration. Consequently, the extent to which the responses of the participants suggest an entrenched system reflects a predictable state. From the analysis, the researcher discovered that the three universities had diverse organizational structures, attributes, varying practices, and features they considered most important for collaborative learning and integrated services. There was an authentic interest in achieving horizontality but there are barriers built into the structure such that it cannot happen without fundamental change. The implications of the results on the future of research related to collaborative learning and an integrative service in the department of human resources in higher education is substantial. In the academy, a lack of fluidity in the structure that supports the work of scholars can create a culture and a climate with unintended and unexpected attributes. Form and function are intimately related.