International Journal of
Educational Administration and Policy Studies

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Educ. Admin. Pol. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6656
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEAPS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 218

Full Length Research Paper

Shared governance: Determining faculty members’ current level of participation in institutional decision making in Shaqra University and TVTC

Mansour A. Al-miman
  • Mansour A. Al-miman
  • Department of Management Technology, College of Technology, Jeddah, Technical and Vocational Training Corporation, P. O. Box 17608, Jeddah 21494, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 17 April 2018
  •  Accepted: 17 October 2018
  •  Published: 30 November 2018

 ABSTRACT

University shared governance refers to the control and administration of higher education institution in which faculty members, administrators, and trustees share equal responsibilities. Currently, shared governance between faculty members and administrators inside academic institutions is still an unending point of concern in the educational realm worldwide including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Thus, this paper wants to determine the level of participation of Shaqra University’s (SHU) and Technical and Vocational Training Colleges, (TVTC) Faculty members in institutional decision-making in line with the global shared governance apprehension through the administration of survey questionnaires distributed to both institutions. Of 140 opinion poll dispensed to SHU and TVTC, 128 were reclaimed and had high validity. The respondents were composed of assistant professors, associate professors, professors, assistant lecturers and lecturers.  This study, upon checking its stability and coefficient, concludes the following: (1) the level of participation of faculty members of SHU and TVTC in general decision-making including decisions concerning academic training, students/trainees, staff member, program plans, local society, and administrative/finance has significant difference, (2) the factors affecting decision-making also has significant difference due to system regulations, nature of the problem and environmental conditions, (3) the relation of decision-making participation to job satisfaction has no significant difference. This discovery transpires to the recommendation of increasing the faculty’s participation in academic and administrative decision-making more than its current level.

 

Key words: Decision making, Shaqra University, technical colleges, academic decision, organizational decision making.


 INTRODUCTION

The very reality of communicating and understanding the objectives of administrators and faculty that is beneficial to   the   entire   organization   is  still  a  major  subject  of discussion in different countries in the Middle East (Al- Sufyani, 2007; Al Maskari and Yaquob 2009; Power, 2012). A study conducted  by  the  Middle  States  reports
 
that most of the faculty members in Duquesne University located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, considered their involvement in decision making as “marginal and even inadequate” (Weise, 2017). They believe their efforts are ineffectual and wish there will be more faculty involvement in planning and budgeting in their organization. They also expressed their hope in the betterment of the deliverance of communicated decisions to them. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to also understand the current level of participation of faculty members in Saudi HEI (for example in SHU and TVTC). It can be argued that half of the decisions made by managers inside their particular organizations fail (Ireland and Miller, 2004). Making a decision in all aspects – from professors’ manual, rules and regulations, general activities, and administrative affairs among others – are very essential most importantly to the welfare of students (Weise, 2017). The Faculty members who are the ones with a closer encounter physically, socially, intellectually and emotionally with students are considered to be the gateway for the quality of education that the students may or may not receive during their entire stay in institutions they prefer (Wang et al., 2015).  Thus, making an effort to improve effectiveness in making decisions is a very significant factor to maximize potency and efficiency of the entire organization. Taking into account the importance of the problem, the idea of this study lies in the increase of demand for qualified and active teachers, able to make independent and conscious decisions, to build good relationship with other teachers, to work in team – that is, to demonstrate leadership skills; a skill of prompt reaction for changes, data analysis, prediction of further events; ability to make relevant decisions and act according to them; ability to interact according to modern demand of the Saudi society. The question of development of shared governance within education space of the pedagogical universities in Saudi Arabia is understudied,  The article contains the results of the theoretical analysis of shared decision making skill development in teachers’ personality within education space of a pedagogical university, define the structure of department head’s leadership potential development within education space of a pedagogical university. Therefore, this paper desires to determine the level of participation that these faculty members have since they are the people directly involved to the students of the institutions. This study aims to know its importance, advantages and disadvantages and recommendations applicable for the improvement of the subject matter if deemed necessary.
 
With colleges and universities moving away from linear and formalized decision-making structures and toward flatter, more collaborative, and collegial undertakings, an understanding of organizational culture has become essential for those who seek to understand how to excite change   in   institutions   of   higher  education  (Tierney, 2008). Moreover, while many organizations are attempting to meet challenging market demands by empowering workers to be more responsible for decision making (Bhagat et al., 2002; Cameron and Green 2012; Cross and Brodt, 2001; Murnighan and Mowen, 2002; Robbins and Judge, 2012; Schmidt et al., 2001; Yukl, 2013), this transition requires that organizations develop new methods to promote good decision making by all workers rather than by selected organizational members (Robbins and Judge, 2007).
 
Organizational decision making is normally defined as an orderly process in which different perspectives, ideas, and propositions of people empowered with authority of making resolutions are combined to come up with the best alternative course of action to take to or to be implemented by the institution. Thus, making decisions for the entire organization, whether for business, for academe, for ministry, or for any other organizations existing, is very significant and impactful, not just to the whole system and culture, but also to all associates and members involved. However, it was clearly divulging, through administrative structures and university regulations, that the power of decision making in universities of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is only available to a limited few – Ministry of Education, University Presidents, and selected personnel. This, according to different studies, has both negative and positive impact on the effective delivery of required resolution to the entire organization.
 
Significance of the study
 
This study primarily aims to be a significant endeavor in understanding the best method of organizational management with relation to the participation of faculty members in decision making. This paper aims to be beneficial for the following:
 
Academe: This study primarily focuses on the contemporary method of decision making in universities and technical colleges in KSA and intends to broaden the perspective regarding the best applicable method effectively used by universities and different organization in the world.
 
Decision makers: This study aspires to influence authorities inside universities and technical colleges to deeply understand the best alternative course of action or system to be implemented inside their organizations for the effective deliverance of responsibilities and resolutions through proper decision making.
 
Other organizations: All other organizations that include leadership and decision making for their existence are expected to benefit and may take advantage of the collected data for the best method to establish for finding and executing best resolutions. Researchers:  Other   researchers   who   may   discover the significance of this study for their future studies that may relate to universities, technical colleges, leadership, decision making, organizational process, giving resolutions among others may also be a beneficiary of this paper.
 
The problem of the study
 
The academic bureaucracy employs bureaucratic decision making processes, most often used by officials assigned the responsibility for making such decisions by the formal administrative structure. In the university as a political system the focus is on policy setting processes and decision making; policy decisions are critical decisions for a university and have a major impact on a university’s future, because they commit a university to definite goals and set strategies for reaching those goals. Because policies are so important, the coalitions, factions, and interest groups that make up a university as a political system try to influence policy setting processes and decision making in order to reflect their own goals, interests, and values. Some colleges and universities can be described as complex organizations that can be studied as miniature political systems; such colleges and universities are often characterized by fragmentation into interests groups with different goals and values (Baldridge et al., 2000).
 
The objective of the study
 
The objectives of this research are:
 
1) To critically assess the participation and effective contribution of different stakeholders (e.g. parents, students, community members, local business leaders) in the school decision making process, since the decentralization process.
2) To estimate the improvements in the decision making process after the decentralization of the educational system.
3) To analyse the decision making approach, characteristics and types of decisions in the educational system.
 
Questions of the study
 
The primary objective of this paper is to answer the following questions:
 
1) What is the level of participation of faculty members at Shaqra University and technical colleges in academic decision-making?
2) What are the factors that influence decision-making from the viewpoints of faculty staff  at  Shaqra  University
and technical colleges?
3) What is the relation of decision-making participation
with job satisfaction from the perception of the faculty at Shaqra University and technical colleges (if there is any)?
4) What are the contemporary administrative trends of the academic decision-making process at universities?
 
Limitations of the study
 
This paper includes the views of the faculty members of Shaqra University and Technical Colleges about the current level of their participation in their particular institutes during decision making.


Different studies had already been performed in the past years to measure the degree of participation of faculty members in institutional decision-making in countries like Jordan, Oman, and KSA. In 2009, the degree of teacher’s participation in educational decision-making and its reflection on job satisfaction as perceived by primary school teachers and principals in the country of Oman was measured by distributing survey questionnaires consisting of 26 items measuring the teacher’s participation in decision-making and 20 items gauging their job satisfaction in each form. The results of the study revealed no significant difference in teacher’s job satisfaction due to experience and educational level but with a significant difference in job satisfaction due to gender and tenure. Also, a significant correlation was found between participation in decision-making and job satisfaction throughout the course of study (Al Maskari and Yaquob 2009).
 
Another journal was consulted to know the employees’ participation in decision-making and its effect on its performance in the School of Sultan Qaboos University in Oman (Al-Shaqsi, 2005). Upon gathering data, the result of the study shows that employees’ participation in decision-making differs due to leadership style, nature of the activity, institutional style and types of decisions. Also, employee’s efficiency, organizational climate, and external environment had effects on employee’s participation in decision-making.
 
In Daniel Power’s “Reflections on Faculty Participation in University Decision Making” where he wrote his own personal perception as a professor in the University of Northern Iowa, he narrated his story as he began teaching and described the educational governance before. He further stated the original Latin term of university (Universitas) which was used firstly in the latter part of 14th Century to refer a self-governing community of teachers and scholars offering instruction or teaching. Thus, governance  inside campuses can be originally seen as the pioneering program of faculty members. Furthermore, the author stated that in many universities, the traditional, collegial form of governance had been replaced by a corporate form of governance. This governance was observed to be more hierarchical and autocratic wherein boards of regents or governors are more directly involved in decision-making. The usual collaboration and participation by faculty in traditional decision-making model has been superseded by a top-down model of decision-making usually administered by the board of regents or administrators. Unfortunately, "pseudo-faculty" members with Ed.D or Ph.D. or J.D degrees who have never experienced teaching or demonstrated specialty in an academic subject are becoming more and more in the academic hierarchy. This situation has great impacts in curriculum and programs in their respective organizations. Sadly unison for both administrators and faculty are not always happening for the benefit of a common purpose and respect for each other’s abilities is not always demonstrated by both parties (Power, 2012).
 
In the study of Al Khazali “The Level of Teachers’ Participation in the Process of Decision-making in Secondary Schools in Mafraq Directorate,” the poll was also distributed in Mafraq located in the country of Jordan to know the level of teacher’s participation in decision-making process. The results found that the level of participation was moderate and the factors affecting the degree of involvement are gender, tenure, and experience (Al Khazali, 2005).
 
Governance and shared decision-making (SDM)
 
According to Olson (2009), shared governance is a delicate balance between faculty and administrative staff in planning, decision-making, and accountability. When it comes to university governance, "shared" is a much bigger concept than most people expect. Genuine shared governance was said to be the balance between maximum participation in decision-making and clear accountability which is undoubtedly difficult to maintain. He added that true shared governance also gives voice to concerned parties common to all constituencies and issues concerning a specific group in the organization. But this does not necessitate giving full or ultimate authority to person or group involved. Governance for the purpose of this study refers to the "structure and processes of decision making" as distinguished from administration or management.
 
McLaughlin (2004) argued that presidential responsibilities fall under three primary categories; leadership, management and governance. Although not specifically using the language of cultivation of relationships, the author explores notions of reciprocity, engagement and dialogue through the lens of governance. "Governance entails enlisting others effectively; it involves balancing the interests  of  multiple constituencies and respecting the process of decision making. Presidents who are most skilled in this area gather input, understand and respect different perspectives, elicit support, develop partnerships, and create a sense of engagement and ownership"
 
Organizational culture and DM
 
An understanding of colleges or universities through organizational culture can facilitate the analysis of managing structure and decision-making processes in institutions of higher education (Bartell, 2003). A university president’s effective leadership requires an understanding of what motivates the members of the organization and shapes their behavior. According to Layne et al. (2010), the transformational style is more appropriate in higher education as faculty may participate in managerial decisions. Researchers have usually focused on studying formal organizational structures such as governance and decision-making processes (Masland, 2000). As colleges and universities become more and more complex, understanding organizational culture will aid in the decision-making process (Tierney, 2008). Properly informed by organizational culture, leaders in higher education will be able to make and implement tough decisions which may contribute to a college or university’s sense of purpose and identity (Tierney, 2008)
 
Shen and Cooley (2008) mentioned that data should inform rather than drive decisions. Data can serve as an important element in effective decision making; it is important to take a systemic, continuous improvement approach to data analysis. Educators should gather and analyze data to gain a better understanding of the system that is producing the current results in a school or district. The use of data as a tool to drive EI improvement is not a new phenomenon. Earlier reform movements also stressed the importance of using data in making educational decisions and assessing educational progress. As Means (2009)’s national study found, school systems have access to more data than ever before, but most teachers and school leaders lack the skills to use the data for student and school improvement.
 
Decision-making in TVTC
 
A collegial culture is characterized by shared power and non-hierarchal relationships. People in a collegial culture engage in a high degree of personal interaction, decisions are typically made through consensus, and organizational behavior relies heavily on tradition and precedent (Bess and Dee, 2008a). The Collegial culture emphasizes consultation and shared decision making (Bergquist and Pawlak, 2008; Bess and Dee, 2008a). Faculty  members,  on  the  other  hand, value academic freedom, independence, collegial communication and expect to play a role in organizational decision making, especially in curriculum and research (Duderstadt, 2004).

 


 METHODOLOGY

The research method used in the development of analysis for the faculty members’ view about their current level of participation in decision making particularly inside the organizations of Shaqra University and Technical Colleges is Quantitative Cross-sectional Survey Approach in which several key questions are listed for the purpose of identifying the actual reality of the level of participation of the faculty members of both organizations in decision making from its faculties’ point of view. This study also used purposeful random sampling in which participants are selected based on its significance to the subject matter of study. The study group of this research is composed of faculty members in Shaqra University (SHU) and Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), which were chosen for the convenience of the study. The study has depicted the SHU with its entire majors, and samples have been chosen randomly from the original community. A random sample is regarded as a basic condition to use the statistical tools and the morale tests. Random sample is a sampling method in which all members of the study have an equal and independent chance of being selected.
 
Sample of the study
 
The sample of the study was chosen randomly and it consisted of 128 faculty members distributed as follows: 72 faculty members from SHU University, and 56 faculty members from TVTC University during the academic year 2016/2017.
 
140 questionnaires were distributed over the study group and reclaimed 128 feedback forms afterward. The total number of valid for statistical analysis is 128.
 
In Table 1, 56% of the respondents came from SHU, and the remaining 47% were from TVTC. 5 participants were professors, 11 were associate professors, 31 were assistant professors, 40 were lecturers, and 31 were assistant lecturers. The table shows the distribution of the study community and sample.
 
Of the 128 members, 54 of them were less than five years in the field of teaching, 47 were from five years to nine years of service, and the remaining 27 were already tenured.
 
Tool of the study
 
The researcher used a questionnaire in order to answer the questions of the study; it consisted of 71 items.
 
Tool validation
 
The questionnaire was drafted in its final form based on the observation of the arbitrators in which the percentage of the agreement is supposed to be not lesser than 75% of the valid paragraphs, as Bloom points out. Thus, the paper should get a 75% of the questionnaire paragraphs as well as with its scale.


 RESULTS

The   first  question  concerning  the  school  stakeholder taking the most important decisions, the respondents answered that generally, the most important decisions are taken by the school board with a weighted average of 4.59; on the opposite, the parents and students are less involved in the decision making process. Regarding the decision taken in the school board, most of it refers to student’s regulation with an average weight of 4.61; the stakeholders must participate in every meeting and vote for the best decisions to be taken; but also, they may submit proposals to improve different aspects of school activity.
 
Table 2 shows that the values of "t" are bigger than the tabulated value at the indicated level (α≤0.05). It indicates that there is a significant difference between the calculated average and the arithmetic average (3 degrees) except for the expressions 6, 12 and 13. In Table 3, the values of "t" is lesser than the tabulated value at the indicative level (α≤0.05) which indicates that there is no difference between the calculated averageand the arithmetic average (3 degrees).
 
Table 4 shows that the value of "t" is bigger than the tabulated value at the indicated level (α≤0.05), meaning, there is a difference between the calculated average and arithmetic average (3 degrees) except for the expressions 6, 12 and 13.
 
It appears from Table 5 that the values of "t" is lesser than the tabulated value at the indicated level (α≤0.05), meaning there is no difference between the calculated average and the arithmetic average (3 degrees) except the expressions (62, 63) and 68, so the values for "t" was numerical indicating the member of SHU side.
 
As Table 6 shows, there is a big difference in the indicated level; that means faculty members have no real or active participations in decision-making about teaching/training, planning, programs, local society, administrative and financial concerns, and decision-making in general.
 
In Table 7, the values of the connected factors were calculated for the sentence of every axis separately with degree of the axis. Also, the environment transaction was calculated for it is a factor for the total degree of each axis of the axes and the total degree of the questionnaire as shown in Table 8.
 
It is shown in Table 9 that the value of the factors of the transaction between the axis of the questionnaire and the degree of the questionnaire is bigger than the tabulated value at the level of indication (α≤0.01). It indicates that the strength of the relation between the axis and total degree proves the honesty of the questionnaire and its interior consistency. Thus this study proves to be reliable and trustworthy.
 
Table 10 shows that the value of the stability of the factors is lesser than the stability factor of the axis; this means that all the sentences are stable; thus, it can be realized that the studding tool with a high degree of the stability is reliable and trustworthy.
 
Table 11  illustrates  the stability factor for Cronbach's alpha for each axis separately is bigger compared to the factor of the stability of the axes sentences. The stability factor divided in half results to 0.9 indicates the stability of the questionnaire (Table 12).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 DISCUSSION

The findings showed that the research university had adopted an adequate decision-making style. The data suggest that inclusiveness in decision making decreases with the hierarchy of decision-making groups, with the most senior groups being seen as the most exclusive, least transformed, closely guarded and offering restricted entry. Similarly, decision-making at different levels is associated with different levels of job satisfaction related to the balance made between competing dilemmas of people versus process. There was no much direct evidence from the data to determine the extent to which staff felt adequately involved in the decision framing processes. However, indirect evidence suggests a number of scenarios. There were discrepancies between official and personal views regarding the decision-making environments encapsulated by the case study colleges.
 
Instructors and mentors and others do their work by making decisions that have an impact on the educational and administrative process, but  we  should  distinguish between these decisions; some  of  them  are  related  to the material or content and some related to the method. As for material or content, it can be represented by building and organizing curricula and educational programs and the extent to which these programs and projects for the purposes of education. As for the way, it is how the manager improves his use of time and effort and to what extent he involves others in decision-making and how to work in his office.
 
The decision-making process encompasses many areas, including curricula, teaching methods, finance, buildings, administration, and student affairs. This process has different levels: national, local, and executive.
 
Pushing collaboration beyond committees
 
All three superintendents demonstrated highly developed insights and skills with respect to collaborative processes. They worked effectively with committees that help them make strategic decisions that appear to be in the best interests of students in their school districts.  Copland (2003) that there is a strong tendency to pull back from collaboration because it feels risky and because the organizational culture of the school district is not likely to support it well over time. What is lost in the retreat from collaborative decision making is a clear understanding of the rationales behind the decisions and a  sense  of  commitment  to  those  decisions.  Also  lost is the opportunity for meaningful distributed leadership that occurs broadly and deeply throughout school district organizations: (Elmore, 2000 Gronn, 2008).


 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

Based on the results accumulated from the conducted  survey,   the   paper    recommends  to enhance participation of faculty members in making academic and administrative decisions more than what it has today, build appropriate administrative  environment for academic decision  making based on the use of contemporary management trends, give academic departments more powers to make academic decisions, work on the experienced participation of faculty members in strategic decision-making, minimize or at least decrease centralization by organizing training programs for academic leaders to delegate authority to principals and to promote faculty participation in academic decision making. The necessity for the participation of faulty members in decision making has already been interpreted statistically. Thus, this paper also promotes effective leadership among manager towards the encouragement of active participation of faculty members to school activities like decision-making. The primary role of teachers is to impart knowledge to students, and their direct contact with them can be a bridge for the understanding of students that leads to the betterment of the entire academe.
 
Decision making is probably the most important function of leadership. There is a sense within the sector that this job satisfaction exists in variable measures across the different hierarchies of decision making in the EI sector and that the top levels are  perceived  as  the  least  fair and just. It appears that in order to increase levels of participation and involvement and to raise the perception of greater justice and fairness in decision processes, research which deliberately interrogate systems and structures which contribute to structural, the social sharing of information data for decision making, fairer distribution of resources and facilities and the elimination of subtle machinations which exclude other people from effective decision making needs to be prioritized in the Saudi EI college sector Decision making process still remains highly centralized  at   the   top   and   school   managers cannot take and implement specific decisions for their schools. The schools’ decisions depend on the Ministry of Education policy,  the  Inspectorate offices recommendations, the Local County material support, the local businesses contributions and overall the students interests. All decisions in a school are made through group meetings but it is necessary to improve other professors' participations ability to take rational decisions. However, Beckner (2004) remarked that educational leaders rarely ground their decision making in ethical or philosophical theory; rather, they rely upon experiential knowledge and personal views. Ideally, theory and practice should confirm ethical leadership in the community college (Hellmich, 2007). This premise is the guiding motive of this article. With this premise in mind, this manuscript encourages community college leaders to employ four ethical paradigms (ethic of justice, ethic of critique, ethic of care, and ethic of the profession) when constructing and considering alternative courses of action in decision-making processes (Shapiro and Gross, 2008; Shapiro and Stefkovich, 2005).
 
In summary, it is essential that administrators at universities provide enabling structures in the form of leadership opportunities, shared decision making, and a hierarchy  that  supports   faculty  members'  performing their jobs more effectively . Future researches, to better understand the decision process; further research is needed on university leadership styles in KSA and their effect on university academic performance and ranking.


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.



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