Gubernatorial Authority and Influence on Public Higher Education

Gubernatorial Authority and Influence on Public Higher Education

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Gubernatorial Authority and Influence on Public Higher Education Michael N. Christakis The Review of Higher Education, Volume 33, Number 1, Fall 2009, pp. 95-117 (Article) Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press DOI: 10.1353/rhe.0.0103 For additional information about this article Access Provided by University of Kentucky at 01/10/11 4:05AM GMT http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/rhe/summary/v033/33.1.christakis.html
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The Review of Higher Education Fall 2009, Volume 33, No. 1, pp. 95–117 Copyright © 2009 Association for the Study of Higher Education All Rights Reserved (ISSN 0162-5748) Gubernatorial Authority and Influence on Public Higher Education Michael N. Christakis S T A T E G O V E R N O R S A S “S T A K E H O L D E R S Over four decades, from 1960 to 2000, the overall formal powers of gov- ernors in the 50 states increased by 20% (Beyle, 2001). Such increases have resulted in governors being intimately involved in a broader range of issues in their states, including higher education. Salanik and Pfeffer’s (1974) defini- tion of power as “the ability of those who possess power to bring about the outcomes they desire” (p. 3) embodies the stakeholder relationship between state governors and their state’s public universities. As Mitchell, Agle, and Wood (1997) emphasize, “Influencers have power over the firm, whether or not they have valid claims or any claims at all” (p. 859). Using a stakeholder-dominant, power-dependence model, in which “the stakeholder has power over the firm,” I examine how a governor’s for- mal authority and informal influence affects the state’s public university. As Savage, Nix, Whitehead, and Blair (1991) suggest, the stakeholder—in this case, the governor—has an “interest in the actions of an organization [the state university] and . . . the ability to influence it” (p. 61). Similarly in MICHAEL N. CHRISTAKIS is the Assistant to the Vice President for Student Success and Instructor of Public Administration and Policy at the University at Albany, SUNY. Address queries to him at the University at Albany, SUNY, University Hall 206, 1400 Washington Av- enue, Albany, NY 12222; telephone: (518) 956–8140; fax: (518) 956-8141; email: mchristakis @uamail.albany.edu.
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96 T H E R E V I E W O F H I G H E R E D U C A T I O N F A L L 2009 Starik’s (1994) examination of stakeholder-dominant power dependence, I find that stakeholders “can and [are] making their . . . stakes known” and “are influencers of, some organization”—the state university (p. 90). While this article considers governors as “dominant stakeholders” with respect to public higher education, no two governors exhibit the same degree of authority and influence. This article provides a snapshot of the level of formal authority and the informal influence of 33 governors over their state’s public universities. Historically and currently, the governor’s role in his or her state’s public university, has varied. Some governors have been more intimately involved than others. Indeed, while the office of the governor of- fers the incumbent a “bully pulpit” from which to leverage his or her formal
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This note was uploaded on 01/09/2011 for the course EDS 103 taught by Professor White during the Spring '10 term at E. Kentucky.

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Gubernatorial Authority and Influence on Public Higher Education

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