Title page for ETD etd-09102011-095508

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Carlson, Kimberly A
Author's Email Address KimCarlson2009@vt.edu
URN etd-09102011-095508
Title The People behind the Curtain: A Proposed Succession Planning Model for University-Wide Research Institutes
Degree PhD
Department Public Administration and Public Affairs
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hult, Karen M. Committee Chair
Dudley, Larkin S. Committee Member
Ridenour, Minnis E. Committee Member
Wolf, James F. Committee Member
  • talent management
  • public higher education
  • university
  • research institute
  • research center
  • succession planning
Date of Defense 2011-08-30
Availability restricted
Public universities and their university-wide research institutes constantly search for ways to evolve to stay relevant and “marketable” in an ever-changing environment. The scholarly literature shows that the majority of higher educational institutes do not participate in succession planning, although numbers of research projects and researchers continue to increase over time, suggesting a great need for universities and institutes to learn how to sustain their work beyond current faculty or how to strategically grow and develop their current employees. The purpose of this research was to review current succession management strategies in large complex organization and to determine whether and how succession planning applies to university-wide research institutes in public, doctoral universities with very high research activity. To understand how succession planning might apply to institutes, this research involved a three phase process: 1) qualitative synthesis of scholarly literature, 2) electronic surveys of institute directors and university-level administrators, and 3) follow-up telephone interviews. The research synthesis focused on successful succession programs in for-profit, non-profit, and governmental organizations. Characteristics that were found across all three sectors were incorporated into a survey of executive directors and administrative overseers of research institutes to see which features applied in this university setting. Results from the survey were used in the development of a model for succession planning, which then was reviewed by institute directors for relevance to their organizations. Although several suggestions for improvement were given, many interviewees agreed that the model was relevant to their institutes. As such, I confirmed that succession planning should be a part of university-wide research institutes’ management strategies to help officials make intentional decisions about their employee needs. This research is important for public administrators as they look at how best to use public funds and other resources in public universities’ research activities.
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