In the business world, the traditional "command and control" class hierarchy is giving way to more enlightened, quality-oriented management approaches, which are driven by individual empowerment and team initiative. Organizations using such approaches prosper because they are customer-centered and are committed to continuous improvement stemming from shared learning among themselves, their customers, and their suppliers. Such organizations inspire continuous improvement by building cultures that endow individuals with heightened awareness of opportunities for improvement, as well as the confidence to seize initiative. Accordingly, they bring people, knowledge, and resources together to quickly and effectively capitalize on opportunity.
The University of Southern Colorado's Hasan School of Business (HSB) is now attempting to learn and benefit from the tremendous successes accruing to so many business organizations that have abandoned the command and control structure while embracing quality. Accordingly, the HSB is transforming its own organization. The HSB has shed the traditional departmental organization structure approach to focus instead on the processes of curriculum development, faculty development, and student success in order to become more student-centered, outcome-oriented, and learning-based. Some background and a look at what we have done to date follow.
Strategy and Structure in Universities
Henry Mintzberg characterizes the university as "a professional bureaucracy," noting that organizations can be bureaucratic without being centralized. The key part of this type of organization is its operating core of professionals, highly trained and with considerable authority over their own work activities. The prime mechanism of coordination in a professional bureaucracy is the standardization of skills. Significant parts of the management process are characterized by self-governance and collegial behavior. In universities, the operating core is the faculty, skills are standardized by the requisite terminal degrees, and …