Date of Award

Spring 4-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Sherblom

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Marzano

Third Advisor

Dr. Lawrence Acker


This is a study of how the quality of a university strategic plan can be assessed on the basis of content validated rubrics. It further explores of the dynamics of how the choice of a planning process, i.e. inclusive or non-inclusive, can be affected by strategic intent, change capacity and leadership style of the organization’s President. As the definition of a quality strategic plan document is established by the study, the next problem the study addresses is the gap in higher education literature about the import of clear strategic intent, i.e. the focus on what the organization is trying to achieve. Therefore, two research questions evolve and are addressed in the study: (1) What are the factors that drive the choice of a strategic planning process? (2) Does the process choice affect the quality of the final plan document? The first phase of research surveyed 16 presidents of prestigious universities. These participants content validated a Comprehensive Quality Matrix. In the second sampling process, faculty and staff from one Midwestern urban college (Site A) and another university in the same city (Site B) were engaged for focus groups and interviews as the beta sites. This second phase explores the assumption that faculty and staff are more inclined to accept and support change if they are viewed as beneficiaries of and collaborators in that change. Conclusively, the research was a mixed study in that Phase I was quantitative in nature whereas Phase II was qualitative. A review of findings from the research reveals that criteria for a high-quality strategic plan document can indeed be defined. The researcher developed a Comprehensive Quality Matrix, whose content was validated by experts using a statistically significant standard method. The researcher also identified iv certain factors that affect the choice of a planning process (inclusive or exclusive). The major elements were strategic intent and culture management, while the minor elements were organizational capacity and organizational learning. Leader style and orientation were found to further impact process choice. Task-oriented leaders tend to be more exclusive in their planning processes, whereas relational leaders tend to be more inclusive.


Copyright 2014