Date of Conferral







Terry O'Banion


Research on organizational change theory confirms the importance of leaders' ability to establish a sense of urgency, create institutional support for change, develop a vision, communicate the vision, empower others toward action, generate results, and ultimately create change in the organizational culture. Organizational change in nested systems, in which CEOs of individual units report upward through a state, regional, or corporate hierarchy, has not been extensively studied. To address this gap in the literature, this phenomenological study explored perceptions of college leaders who in 2002-2003 participated in the transformation of seven 2-year technical colleges into a community college system. The study probed leaders' perceptions of organizational change at the campus level in a nested organizational structure. Two research questions addressed (a) how 2-year college leaders in a nested leadership structure reporting to a system president perceive and describe their experiences of transformational change; and (b) lessons, if any, that these leaders offer other state-governed, 2-year college systems attempting similar levels of transformative change. The study was based on Kotter's change model, which was used to examine the nature and degree of organizational change that occurred in the institutions studied. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed through a transcendental phenomenological process. Results highlighted the importance of communication, leadership, exploiting a sense of urgency, and addressing internal and external concerns chance to participate in the economy. This study will help leaders of multi-campus or nested state systems facilitate transformational change to better achieve those social goals.