UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Analysis for institutional decision : the problem of faculty rank distribution Greenhill, Craig James


The purpose of the study was to identify and apply a technique for examining analytical models of faculty flow in universities and models of decision making in universities with the intention of identifying points of conceptual similarity and difference between them. The study used Weathersby's general decision paradigm as the technique to examine the two groups of models. Faculty flow models and university decision models are used respectively as examples, first, of analytical tools intended to inform decision; and, second, of research-based descriptions of how decisions are made. Those models pertain to the current problem of the upward shift in the distribution of university faculty members among the professorial ranks. The focus on the models derives from failures of analytical studies of important problems to influence the solution of those problems through organizational decision making. The conceptual framework for examining similarities and differences between analytical models and models of decision making stems from a distinction between them which highlights the importance of messages. In particular, the role of messages between analysts who study problems and decision makers who may try to act on them enables a focus on communication between analysts and decision makers. Examining the way models structure perception and therefore, communication, leads to the suggestion that the conceptual base of the analyst and the conceptual base of those making a decision about the problem should be congruent if the analysis is to influence the decision. The study uses Weathersby's general decision paradigm to point out common and dissimilar aspects of faculty flow models and decision making models in an exploratory step towards integrating the design of analysis and the process of deciding so that failures of misconnection may be avoided and superior solutions to important problems obtained. The study uses faculty flow models as an exemplary group of analytical models. In contrast, two models of decision making about faculty rank distributions, termed organizational process and coalitional decision, were both used in the study. Support for the latter two is found in budgeting studies and requirements for due process in resolving disputes. Based on the general decision paradigm, each model was summarized into a profile, demonstrating the feasibility of the task of secondary analysis. The faculty flow profile was compared with each of the decision model profiles. Considerable similarity was found to exist between faculty flow models and the organizational process model of decision, including the basic variables, linking structures and treatment of uncertainty. However, faculty flow models and the coalitional model of decision were found to be almost completely dissimilar, involving different variables and structures, and although both exhibit short time horizons, it appears to be for different reasons. Drawing on the comparisons between profiles, and reflecting on the use of the general decision paradigm, three groups of implications were identified. First, the need for further development of theory from the general decision paradigm was noted. Second, the need for new kinds of faculty flow models and for further study of university decision making is illustrated. Finally, implications for university administration are sought, sharpening the need for continued efforts to integrate analysis for decisions with actual decision making.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.