Portland State University. Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education
Educational Leadership and Policy
1 online resource (vi, 145 pages)
As higher education has evolved, administrative and support functions have become more stratified and specialized, creating institutions with complex and compartmentalized organizational structures known as silos. These silos have a detrimental impact on institutions, employees, and ultimately the student stakeholders that they serve. Silos within higher education administration support services are readily acknowledged anecdotally; however, robust research to describe this phenomenon and actionable resources to address it are lacking. This multi-paper dissertation explores the theoretical implications and practical applications for using collaborative, intentional approaches to address what is argued to be at its core is a matter of equity. The first article, Silos in student affairs: Moving towards collaboration utilizing organizational frameworks, provides a theoretical explanation to the phenomenon of silos within higher education institutions and highlights their complexity. Because this is a multifaceted problem, it demands a creative solution that reaches for inspiration outside of the realm of education. The second article entitled Solving silos: Applying collaborative governance to organizational silos in higher education explores the potential for interdisciplinary intervention from the field of Public Administration using the practice of Collaborative Governance (CG). The article offers an analysis of silo formation and CG and details a proposed original framework called the Cross-Silo Collaborative Governance (CSCG) framework for use in higher education to advance transformational interdepartmental work. In article three, Deconstructing silos: Fostering equitable decision-making through intentional practice, silos are examined through an equity lens, using critical theory to highlight how silos perpetuate issues of equity amongst decision-makers and students. This article builds on how the proposed CSCG framework in article two may provide actionable methods for scholar-practitioners to address the inequity inherent within organizational silos in higher education. Through this dissertation, we learn that higher education practitioners must recognize that any transformative and sustainable strategic planning endeavors must consider addressing organizational silos as integral to student success and inseparable from diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
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Mizuta, Mandi Sue, "Silos in Higher Education Institutions: Shifting from Organizational Phenomena to a Practical Framework for Equitable Decision-making" (2022). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6105.
Available for download on Thursday, June 22, 2023