D.B.A. Baker College (Michigan), 2017.
Specialization: Business administration; Management; Higher education
Embedding social enterprise approaches in the operations of public higher education institutions: An exploratory case study
186 pages. UMI #: 10599242
Citation, Abstract & Full text in ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database
In the second decade of the new century, America’s public higher education institutions (PHEIs) face several key challenges: rising demands of accountability, a steady drop in public funding, and competition from virtual and for-profit entities. Limited research had been conducted on the applicability of social enterprise theory to these institutions. To explore this gap in practical scholarship, this research examined the possibilities and pitfalls in adopting social enterprise concepts to address the specific challenges facing PHEIs. Research questions were developed to ascertain the current use and future potential of social enterprise concepts in making PHEIs more effective. Theories principally included works in organizational culture from Meyer and Rowan, and open systems from Katz and Kahn; in public and higher education accountability from Osborne and Gaebler, and Conner and Rabovsky; and in social enterprise from Pearce and Ridley-Duff. Data from this case study of one state system were derived from an online questionnaire, personal interviews of the CEOs of the system’s constituent institutions, and a review of social enterprise-related public studies in two state systems. Findings suggest there exists a familiarity with certain social enterprise concepts at PHEIs along with significant unrealized potential in integrating social enterprise as a holistic approach to long-term viability. Based on these findings, further research is suggested pertaining to the development of appropriate models and metrics. Additionally, recommendations are made for deepening the conceptual understanding of social enterprise in higher education settings and for crafting practical approaches to realize the potential of such deeper integration at the institutional level. Finally, specific ideas are shared for improving policy at the public level and at programs training executives for business and higher education leadership.