A Quantitative Study of the Presidential Search Process and Position Longevity in Community Colleges Page: 20
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A great deal of literature has been written about altering the culture of institutions
(Barber, 1992; Biggerstaff, 1992; Clark, 1992; Nelson, 1992), but even the most
optimistic of these authors noted that successful transformations of institutional cultures
can take years, if not decades, and require the approval of boards and community
members and the active cooperation of students and college employees (Tagle, 1992).
Given the short tenures of modern college leaders, this transformation may not be
possible in the time available unless there is already a culture in place that lends itself to
the vision of the leader or, at the very least, to rapid change. This makes getting the
selection process right a major priority. However, McLaughlin and Riesman (1991)
pointed out that higher education leaders still have a lot to learn regarding how to go
about selecting a president.
Selecting key executives is not just a priority with higher education but with
business and industry as well. Benston and Kesner (1985) emphasized the importance
of executive succession. However, at about the same time, Birnbaum, Bensimon, and
Neumann (1989) suggested that if a president did a good job during tenure, the
institution would not suffer as much when the president departed. Boeker (1992) wrote
about succession and executive departure in business. Boeker studied 67
organizations over 22 years and found that the more powerful a leader was the less
likely the leader was to be dismissed when the organization suffered losses or
downturns. Boeker found that more power leaders were more likely to "displace" blame
for poor performance onto senior executives who were likely to be dismissed. Kesner
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Howells, Constance L. A Quantitative Study of the Presidential Search Process and Position Longevity in Community Colleges, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103329/m1/28/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .