Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mark DeVirgilio


Many California community colleges face difficult decisions when implementing the State's shared governance mandate on institutional planning and budgeting processes. Using Allison and Zelikow's rational, organizational, and political decision models as the foundation, the purpose of this narrative study was to explore decision processes used by a successful community college district in California to understand its success with the State's mandated institutional planning and budgeting processes. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 10 individuals representing a board of trustees, 3 administrations, 3 academic senates, and a faculty association. Data were inductively coded and then subjected to Ollerenshaw and Creswell's narrative analysis procedure. All 10 narratives were assigned decision process scores based on Allison and Zelikow's framework and 6 specific planning and budgeting decision events. Findings indicate that elements from all 3 decision models were routinely used to create synergism of actions leading to a collaborative and strong unity of effort. In addition, favored decision-making processes may have overcome rational choice impediments in the budgeting area. The positive social change implication includes a recommendation to the academic leaders of all 72 California community college districts that they capitalize on the synergistic interactions of decision processes required for successful institutional planning and budgeting. In addition, leaders should use favored decision models sparingly to fulfill California's legislative mandate for a quality and college-educated workforce. The ultimate unity of effort for academic leaders is to correct the shortfall of a million college graduates needed by 2025 for California's workforce.