Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


Comparison of Organizational Cultures among Arts and Sciences Faculty at Ohio Public Universities

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Patrick Pauken

Second Advisor

Amelia Carr (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Michael Coomes (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Robert DeBard (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Rachel Vannatta Reinhart (Committee Member)


Employment conditions for higher education faculty have been changing due to shrinking budgets and demands from the public for accountability: their adaptation to these pressures is influenced by their organizational culture. Denison (1990) and Kuh and Whitt (1988), among others, define organizational culture as the shared beliefs, values, assumptions, and ideologies of the members of the organization.

The purpose of this study was to assess the organizational culture of full-time arts and sciences faculty across five state- supported universities in Ohio, three of which were unionized, with respect to seven attributes: unionization, tenure status, years teaching, content area expertise, academic rank, gender, and race/ethnicity. The faculty organizational culture across these universities was evaluated using the Denison Organizational Culture Survey (DOCS), which measured the perceptions of the faculty on four organizational traits: Involvement, Consistency, Adaptability, and Mission (Denison, 1990). The survey was administered online during January/February 2013 to full-time arts and sciences faculty at the following universities: Kent State University, Miami University, Ohio University, University of Akron, and Wright State University.

The survey data were analyzed by several statistical methods – t-test of independent samples, analysis of variance, and factorial analysis of variance – to determine the significance of the differences in the mean trait scores with respect to the seven attributes. The similarity of these results across the participating universities indicated that the DOCS was an appropriate instrument for assessing the organizational culture of higher education faculty. Analysis showed that faculty, across all five universities, in their first four years of teaching, regardless of tenure track status and academic rank, had a greater congruence with the organizational culture of their campus than the rest of the faculty. This may be due to a generational difference, or a consequence of the tenure process. The unanticipated finding that faculty at the oldest universities were the least aligned to the goals, objectives, and shared vision of their campuses is examined.

Implications of these findings for universities and considerations for future research are discussed. In particular, exploration of organizational culture among part-time faculty as well as faculty teaching in content areas other than arts and sciences is proposed. Proposals for programs to enhance faculty organizational culture are offered and discussed; several encourage universities to capitalize on the positive perceptions of organizational culture held by the non-tenure track faculty. Conclusions, based on the analysis of the data are presented, among them that the hiring of non-tenure track faculty as well as faculty unionization may improve faculty organizational culture.