Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

December 1996


The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to explore the impact of employee morale, as manifested in institutional climate data, upon institutional effectiveness; and (2) to determine the extent to which information generated by climate survey data was used in developing and implementing change initiatives at each of the institutions studied. Three institutions were selected for this multiple site case study. Four sources of data from each institution were used to provide a "picture" of institutional climate. These sources of data were (a) the Personal Assessment of the College Environment (PACE) climate survey, (b) institutional self-study reports, (c) reaffirmation team reports, and (d) employee interviews. These four sources of data also provided opportunity for triangulation, a method to ensure internal validity. External validity was established by cross-case analysis and peer review. Indications of institutional climate were consistent across all four data sources. The institution in which climate was perceived as "excellent" was also recognized by the reaffirmation team of its accrediting agency as an "exemplary institution ... Few institutions have such tremendous energy at all levels as (this) College. It holds the promise of being an exemplary institution for the rest of this century and the next" (Reaffirmation Team Summary, 1996, p. 1). In contrast, the reaffirmation team of the institution in which the climate was "dreadful" indicated that "The College is in a difficult position to demonstrate through verifiable means, its attainment of purposes and objective both inside and outside the classroom" (Reaffirmation Team Report, 1995, p. 9). Results of the study indicated disparity in employee morale and thus in institutional climate. Employees of one institution consistently indicated that "the climate is excellent" (Professor, 1996). Employees of the second institution indicated that the "climate is better, but could be improved" (Support Staff, 1996), and employees of the third institution indicated that "people here work under dreadful conditions" (Professional Support Staff, 1996). Additionally, the results indicated that equally as important as conducting climate surveys was the use of the results in effecting change. Employees at all three institutions consistently stated that it was "seeing the results" (Associate Professor, 1996) that actually made the difference. At one institution evidence of change resulting from employee input indicated to them that "there is not a 'we-they' atmosphere here ... that they (employees) are important to the overall mission of the College" (Associate Professor, 1996). In contrast, employees of the second institution stated that "we do not revisit the issues ... ten years is a long time" (Instructor, 1996) and "people are questioning whether we are going backwards toward a more autocratic system" (Associate Dean, 1996). Employees at the third institution stated that "unfortunately the results just sit in a drawer ... if we had followed some of the priorities and actually did some planning and implemented it, I am sure there would have been some positive changes" (Professional Support Staff, 1996). It appeared that the difference in the three institutions studied was that employees of the institution in which the climate was perceived as "excellent" were respected for their intelligence, knowledge, and for their contributions to the success of the institution. Employees of the institution in which the climate was "dreadful" indicated a perception that they were not respected for their contributions to the institution and that there was a lack of trust among administrators and employees.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access