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Community College Chief Academic Officers’ Role Perception, Job Satisfaction and Propensity to Leave their Institutions Ashley Tull | Category:

The community college chief academic officer (CAO) has a broad scope of responsibility, which includes providing leadership to both the institution as a whole and its faculty.  The role is rapidly changing on a daily basis, which can directly affect a CAO’s perception of their role, as well as their job satisfaction and ultimately their propensity to leave their institutions.  This study was conducted to take a further look beyond previous studies on CAOs’ role perception, job satisfaction, and propensity to leave.  The present study is unique unlike others (Chieffo, 1991; Glick, 1992; McBride, Munday, & Tunnell, 1992; Milosheff, 1990; Murray & Murray, 1998; Murray & Summar, 2000; Wolverton, Wolverton, & Gmelch, 1999) that investigated some of the factors identified above or investigated them independent of one another, rather than examining the relationships between them.  This national study will provide important evidence of the relationship between role perception, job satisfaction, and propensity to leave for community college CAOs.  Additionally, the study seeks to provide community college leaders with a closer look at factors related to a CAOs success in their roles. The purpose of the study was to examine positive or negative relationships between the above identified factors for community college CAOs. Practical implications have developed from the findings of the present study and are shared later in the discussion and implications section.

                                                                                     

Roles of the Community College CAO

 

The roles of the community college CAO vary by institution; some common themes have emerged in the research literature on CAOs.  CAOs, “[are] concerned with the development and maintenance of smoothly running operations; they spend their time building an organizational structure, hiring and training personnel, and overseeing the operations they are developing,” (Melch, 1997, p. 288).  Results of two studies, using Mintzberg’s Ten Management Roles, included common rank order of these roles for CAOs that included: (1) leader, (2) liaison, disseminator, (3) monitor, (4) resource allocator, (5) entrepreneur (Anderson, Murray, & Olivarez, 2002); and (1) leader, (2) resource allocator, disseminator, (3) monitor, entrepreneur, (4) disturbance handler, figurehead, liaison, (5) spokesperson, and negotiator (Mech,1997).

 

Results of other studies have included competencies necessary for work as a CAO that broadly included: contextual, technical, interpersonal, communication, conceptual, and adaptive (Townsend & Bassoppo-Moyo, 1997).  Other more issue-oriented competencies have also been identified that included: concern for legislative and legal mandates, meeting greater student demands, grappling with uncertain funding issues, and managing enrollment concerns (Cejda & Leist, 2006; Murray, Murray, & Summar, 2000).

 

Chief academic officers have been described as professionals among professionals who often have to balance serving both faculty and administrative interests effectively from both sides of the table (Wolverton et al., 1999). They must closely consult and cooperate with faculty, in addition to facilitating work as a middle manager for the institution (Mech, 1997). Those CAOs lacking clearly stated objectives and authority can experience role conflict and ambiguity (Murray et al., 2000), particularly when the roles that they must play are in conflict with their values systems (Wolverton et al., 1999).

 

The CAO in the community college has been defined as the administrative head with responsibilities for the academic affairs of the institution (Cejda, McKenney, & Burley, 2000; Murray et al., 2000) with commonly held titles that include: academic dean, vice president for academic affairs, vice-president for instruction, dean of instruction, and dean of the college (Vaughan, 1990). No definitive career ladder exists leading to the CAO role. Many CAOs ascend through a series of positions that include a) faculty member, b) department or unit chair, c) academic dean, and d) provost or vice president for academic affairs (CAO) (Cejda et al., 2000; Cohen & March, 1974; Mech, 1997; Twombly, 1988).

 

Several researchers who have studied CAOs have included demographic data describing characteristics of these administrators.  One researcher found the average CAO to be a white married male, 52 years old with a doctorate who has served an average of six years in their role. The same researcher found the average female CAO to be a white married 51 year old with a doctorate who has served an average of slightly more than five years in their role (McKenney & Cejda, 2000).  A second researcher, in their study of 349 CAOs, found them to have been in their roles for an average of 4.86, with an average of 15.95 years of total managerial experience at the department chair role or higher.  Women were found to have slightly less total managerial experience and 55% of CAOs were found to have been appointed from within their current institutions (Mech, 1997).  A third researcher, in their study of 184 CAOs, found the average CAO to be male, 52.5 years old who has served an average of 5.4 years in their role at their current institution, with an average of 15.5 years of total managerial experience.  They were also found to supervise between 5-12 midlevel administrators in their current roles (Anderson, Murray & Olivarez).

 

Role Conflict

 

Role conflict has been defined as “the recognition of incompatible or contradictory demands that face the person who occupies a role” (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2001, p. 144); “a sociological term which describes a situation in which a focal person is confronted with incompatible expectations” (Carroll, 1976, p. 245); and  “occur[ing] when individuals find it necessary to handle duties that appear to be inconsistent or in conflict with their self-perception of their role or roles within the organizational structure” (Murray et al., 2000, p. 23).  Many CAOs experience role conflict when met with conflicting demands that can include managing tasks which they either do not prefer to do or are uncomfortable doing (Amey, 1990).  An example might include their providing personal support for departmental chairpersons, and also being responsible for evaluating their performance (Wolverton et al., 1999).

 

The effects of role conflict on CAOs are many and varied.  Some have reported reduced trust in those administrators who imposed personal pressure leading to role conflict which has led to lowered esteem for their colleagues and less communication as a result.  These effects have also been identified as carrying over to the greater organization, leading to dysfunction for others (Carroll, 1976).  Differences in role conflict have been found between those administrators who were hired to maintain an organization and those administrators who were hired to bring about change in an organization.  One researcher found that administrators that were hired to be responsible for sustaining the organization experienced less role conflict.  Whereas administrators that were hired to bring about change experienced much higher levels of role conflict (Wolverton et al., 1999). It has been stated that nearly all administrators will experience some role conflict and ambiguity, particularly early in their roles.  If left unresolved role conflict and ambiguity can lead to greater dissatisfaction, tension, stress and anxiety for the administrator (Amey, 1990).

 

Role Ambiguity

 

Role ambiguity has been defined as “compar[ing] the uncertainty or lack of clarity surrounding expectations about a person’s role in the organization” (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2001, p. 144). It has also been defined as “relat[ing] to the degree to which we have sufficient information to perform the task or to ambiguous and problematic work requirements and performance expectations” (Wolverton, Wolverton & Gmelch, 1999, p. 82); and, “occur[ing] when a CAO is uncertain about the functional boundaries of his or her organizational role” (Murray et al., 2000, p. 23). Each of these definitions taken from the management and the higher education literature are fitting for the present study.

 

The effects of role ambiguity, like role conflict, on CAOs are also many and varied.  The effects of role ambiguity, can strongly impact an organization’s effectiveness (Murray et al., 2000) and individual member expectations of the organization (Amey, 1990).  Differences in role ambiguity, like role conflict, have been found between administrators who were hired to maintain an organization and administrators who were hired to bring about change in an organization. One researcher found that administrators that were hired to be responsible for sustaining the organization experienced less role ambiguity.  Whereas, administrators that were hired to bring about change experienced much higher levels of role ambiguity (Wolverton et al., 1999).

 

Job Satisfaction

 

Job satisfaction has been said to result from the perception of fulfillment achieved related to values and their importance (Wagner & Hollenback, 2001).  Job dissatisfaction can be defined as the opposite effect.  Like role conflict and role ambiguity, many factors can affect a CAO’s level of job satisfaction.  One researcher categorized the factors affecting job satisfaction into five broad categories that included:

 

(1) personal and demographic characteristics (e.g., gender, educational degree attainment), (2) professional activities/responsibilities (e.g., students and teaching, professional practice, participation and influence on campus), (3) perception of and relationships with students (e.g., student interactions outside of class, perceptions of student quality), (4) institutional environment (e.g., financial condition of the institution, perception of intellectual quality), and (5) departmental environment (e.g., type of departmental affiliation, perception of department and departmental colleagues) (Milosheff, 1990, p. 13).

 

Others have identified factors affecting job satisfaction that have included: co-workers, pay, supervision, kind of work, personal growth, and promotion prospects (Cook, Hepworth, Wall & Warr, 1981); “departmental goals and policy determination, institutional structure, and communications” (Carroll, p. 246); salary disparity and unequal representation (Blackhurst, 2000); and personal and organizational characteristics broadly (Williams & Hazer, 1986).

 

Job dissatisfaction has been examined as the result of role conflict and ambiguity.  The linkages between these factors have been the focus of several studies in postsecondary education and with a distinct focus on the community college CAO.  Direct and significant links have been made between role conflict and ambiguity and job satisfaction in academic department chairpersons (Carroll, 1976); academic deans (Wolverton et al., 1999); and community college chief academic officers (McBride, Munday & Tunnell, 1992; Milosheff, 1990; Murray & Murray, 1998).

 

Effects, other than job satisfaction, have been linked to job conflict and ambiguity that have included organizational politics, commitment and citizenship (Boehman, 2007; Chieffo, 1991; Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2001; Wolverton et al., 1999); job stress (McBride, Munday, & Tunnell, 1992; Milsheff, 1990; Murray et al., 2000; Wolverton et al., 1999).  The visible effects of job dissatisfaction, resulting from role conflict and ambiguity can include poor performance and low productivity; absenteeism and turnover, and wasted resources (Mech, 1997; Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2001; Wolverton et al., 1999); job burnout and work overload (Tull, 2006; et al., 1999).

 

A community college CAO’s propensity to leave their role and in some cases their institution can be directly influenced by their role perception and level of job satisfaction.  As a CAO’s negative perception of their role increases, so does the likelihood of their propensity to leave (Murray & Murray, 1998).  Turnover in academic organizations is inevitable, a CAO’s decision to leave an institution is often a result of their dissatisfaction with the tasks they are assigned and/or their work conditions (Murray & Murray, 1998).  No exact predictor often exists that signals actual turnover in an organization, an employee’s intention to leave, if thought to be a good predictor. “Actual turnover is difficult to study because employees who have left an institution are difficult to locate and their rate of response to queries about their decision to leave the institution is often low.  Thus, researchers often use intention as a proxy for actual turnover,” (Johnsrud & Rosser, 1999, p. 2). The visible effects of one’s turnover resulting from poor role perception and job dissatisfaction include: “loss of experience, job knowledge, and skills to effectively and efficiently manage the institution” (Johnsrud & Rosser, 1999, p. 1); “lost opportunities” (Murray et al., 2000, p. 25); and effects on those remaining such as, “satisfaction, involvement, and organizational commitment” (Johnsrud & Rosser, 1999, p. 2). Each of these factors can affect employer’s fiscal and human resources, each of these in turn hurting productivity and efficiency.

 

While the relationship between job satisfaction and propensity to leave have been the focus of previous research on CAOs, little research exists that includes the factors of role perception (which include role conflict and role ambiguity). This study sought to provide a closer and more recent examination of these factors for CAOs at community colleges. The purpose of the present study was to examine relationships between factors of role perception, job satisfaction, and propensity to leave for community college CAOs.  Specific research questions guiding the study were: (1) what are the relationships between role perception, job satisfaction, and propensity to leave for CAOs at community colleges? and (2) what, if any, demographic characteristics could predict the relationships between the factors of role perception, job satisfaction and propensity to leave?

 

 Participants

 

Methods

 

Chief academic officers were identified through the use of the 2011 Higher Education Directory. Those that were identified as working at institutions with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s Associate’s classification, indicating that they award the Associate’s degree as their highest degree were included in the study.  Eight hundred and twenty-five CAOs were identified as potential research participants, having valid email addresses in the Directory. Of this group, 249 participated in the study for a response rate of 30.18%. Participant responses were examined to explore the relationships between factors of role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction and propensity to leave.  Male CAOs were slightly the largest group of participants at 50.40%, with female CAOs representing 49.60% of participants.  White/Caucasian CAOs were the largest group of participants at 93.20%, with the lowest being .80% multiracial.  For highest degree earned, 70.80% indicated they had a doctorate, 26.80% indicated having a master’s degree and 1.60% (four CAOs) indicated they held a juris doctorate as their highest earned degree.  Chief academic officer’s participant ages ranged from 33-71, with the mean age at 55, mode age at 52 and median age at 53.  Chief academic officers had varying lengths of time spent employed in the community college setting.  The mean for number of years in the community college setting was 16, the mode for number of years was 15 and the median was 20 years.  When asked whether they had spent any time employed in a four-year college setting 140 (56.20%) indicated that they had never been employed in this setting.  For those CAOs that had (43.80%), their time ranged from less than one year to 45 years.  Chief academic officers indicated that they had held their current role for an average of 4.37 years.  Thirty-four (13.70%) had been in their role for less than one year, 12 (4.82%) were in their first year and two indicated they had been in their role for 22 years.  Complete demographic data for CAOs who participated in the study can be found in Table 1.  Whereas, no common data set exists nationally depicting demographic characteristics of community college CAOs, the demographic characteristics of CAOs included in the present study appear to be consistent with those samples used in other studies on CAOs.  This finding is particularly accurate for the characteristics of gender (Keim & Murray, 2008); average age (McKenney & Cejda, 2000); highest degree earned (Keim & Murray, 2008); and time spent in current role (Anderson, Murray & Olivarez, 2002; Murray et al., 2000).

 

Instruments

 

Role conflict and ambiguity were examined through the use of the Role Conflict and Ambiguity Scales, which included 18 items that were developed by House, Schuler and Levanoni (1983) to measure these factors.  CAOs rated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with a series of 11 statements related to role ambiguity (e.g., my authority matches the responsibilities assigned to me) and seven statements related to role conflict (e.g., I often get myself involved in situations in which there are conflicting requirements).  These are identified on the full scale in Appendix A.  Ratings were scored on a seven-point Likert-type scale (1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree).  The mean value across these items (with eight items reversed scored for role ambiguity) constituted a composite scale score for role conflict and ambiguity respectively. Coefficient alpha values to test reliability of the Role Conflict and Ambiguity Scales have been reported between .79 and .86 (O’Driscoll & Beecher, 1994; Westman, 1992).  Validity was also examined by O’Driscoll & Beecher (1994) and Westman (1992).  Their results found, “role ambiguity correlated positively with role conflict, employee uncertainty, psychological strain, turnover intentions, job dissatisfaction, job decision latitude, and employee psychological distress” (Fields, 2002, p. 149).

 

Job satisfaction was examined through the use of three items from the Michigan Organizational Assessment Questionnaire (MOAQ).  CAOs rated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements related to their satisfaction (e.g., all in all, I am satisfied with my job). Ratings were scored on a seven-point Likert-type scale (1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree).  The mean value across these items (with one reversed scored) constituted a composite scale score for job satisfaction (Cook, Hepworth, Wall & Warr, 1981).  Coefficient alpha values to test reliability of these items of the MOAQ have been reported at .71 (n = 400) (Cook et al., 1981). An average interconnection for the three items used from the MOAQ have been reported at .50 (n = 466) by Cook et al. (1981).

 

Propensity to leave was also examined through the use of three items from the MOAQ.  CAOs rated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements related to their propensity to leave (e.g., how likely is it that you will probably look for a new job in the next year).  Ratings were scored on a seven-point Likert-type scale (1 = not at all likely, 2, 3 = somewhat likely, 4, 5 = quite likely, 6, 7 = extremely likely) for question one.  Dimensions were not provided for 2, 4, or 6 on the Likert-type scale for question one.  For questions 2 and 3 CAOs rated the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements.  Ratings for 2 and 3 were scored on a seven-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree).  The mean value across these items constituted a composite scale score for propensity to leave (Cook et al., 1981).  Coefficient alpha values to test reliability of these items of the MOAQ have been reported at .83 (n = 400) (Cook, Hepworth, Wall, & Warr, 1981).

 

Procedure and Data Analysis

 

After receiving proper approval from the researcher’s Institutional Review Board at their host institution, all CAOs at community colleges nationally who met the criteria for participation in the study were contacted through email and asked to complete an online survey that was developed for the study.  The online survey instrument (see Appendix A) included 24 items related to role perception, job satisfaction and propensity to leave.  Additionally, CAOs were asked to complete seven demographic related questions that were used in the examination of study factors.  CAOs were sent a reminder email message at the end of the first week of data collection, asking for their participation had they not done so already.  At that time, CAOs were provided an additional two weeks for the completion of their surveys, providing them a total of three weeks for participation in the study.

 

Descriptive statistics were reviewed for all study participants and factors to provide a demographic profile of CAO participants, along with their survey responses on study factors. Scatterplots were first examined to check the assumptions that underlie the use of Product- moment (Pearson r) correlational coefficients on the means on scores of the Role Conflict and Ambiguity Scales and the Michigan Organizational Assessment Questionnaire. Pearson correlation coefficients were then calculated for the means of the responses for the Role Conflict and Ambiguity Scales and those items used from the Michigan Organizational Assessment Questionnaire (MOAQ).  Data were then examined for any significant correlations between study factors and CAO participant responses.  If a correlation of p < .05 or greater was discovered, the researcher determined that a direct or inverse significant relationship existed for those study factors (Frankel & Wallen, 2003).  A regression analysis (Brace, Kemp & Snelgar, 2009) was then conducted to establish whether any demographic characteristics (predictor factors) could be used as predictors of community college CAO’s role perception, job satisfaction, and/or propensity to leave (criterion factors). This analysis was conducted to examine research question 2, identified above.

 

Results

 

Scatterplots for the factors of role conflict and role ambiguity revealed a non-linear trend with negative association among the plots. This scatterplot also showed a weak relationship and non- constant scatter among the plots. Scatterplots for the factors of role conflict and job satisfaction revealed a linear trend with negative association among the plots. This scatterplot also showed a strong relationship and constant scatter among the plots. Scatterplots for the factors of role ambiguity and job satisfaction and role ambiguity and propensity to leave revealed a linear trend with positive association among the plots. This scatterplot also showed a strong relationship and constant scatter among the plots. Scatterplots for the factors of role conflict and propensity to leave revealed a linear trend with positive association among the plots. This scatterplot also showed a strong relationship and constant scatter among the plots. Scatterplots for the factors of job satisfaction and propensity to leave revealed a linear trend with negative association among the plots. This scatterplot also showed a weak relationship and non-constant scatter among the plots.

 

After checking the assumptions underlying the use of correlational statistical analysis, several direct and inverse significant correlations were found. These correlations are described below and are included in Table 2.

  

The Relationship Between Factors of Role Perception

 

Study findings indicated an inverse significant relationship at the p < .01 level between the factors of role conflict and role ambiguity.   These findings indicated that a relationship between CAOs negative perceptions of their role expectations and their functional boundaries (role ambiguity) and the contradictory and inconsistent duties (role conflict) that they are encountered within their roles as CAOs at their community colleges.

 

The Relationship Between Factors of Role Perception and Job Satisfaction

 

Study findings indicated an inverse significant relationship at the p < .01 level between the

factors of role conflict and job satisfaction and a direct significant relationship at the p < .01 level between the factors of role ambiguity and job satisfaction.  These findings indicated that a relationship between a CAO’s negative perceptions of their role and its functional boundaries with an influence on their satisfaction with their role as CAO.  Also, findings revealed a relationship between CAOs positive perceptions of their role and its functional boundaries with a positive influence on job satisfaction.

 

The Relationships Between Factors of Role Perception and Propensity to Leave

 

Study findings indicated a direct significant relationship at the p < .01 level between the factors of role conflict and propensity to leave and an inverse significant relationship at the <.01 level between the factors of role ambiguity and propensity to leave.  These findings indicated that a relationship between a CAO’s positive perceptions of the contradictory and inconsistent duties that CAOs can be faced with and their propensity to leave their community colleges.  Also, findings revealed a relationship between CAO’s inverse perceptions of their role and its functional boundaries with a inverse influence on propensity to leave.

 

The Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Intention to Turnover

 

Study findings indicated a inverse significant relationship at the p < .01 level between the factors of job satisfaction and propensity to leave.  The findings indicated that a relationship between a CAOs negative perceptions of their job satisfaction with a negative influence on their propensity to leave their community college.

 

After the completion of the multiple regression analysis, in response to research question 2 and investigating the results, a significant model was not found to exist, nor were any predictor factors found to be significant in the model.  These findings lead to conclusion that for the present study none of the demographic factors could be used as predictors of role perception, job satisfaction and/or propensity to leave for community college CAOs who participated.

 

Discussion and Implications

 

The results of this study found a relationship between CAOs negative perceptions with regard their managing any incompatible or contradictory demands of their role (role conflict) with any uncertainty about the functional boundaries (role ambiguity) of their roles at community colleges.  Those CAOs who struggle and/or are unable to develop positive perceptions about their roles may create dysfunction for others in their organizations as a result (Carroll, 1976). This struggle can be aggravated even more, based on the expectations placed on the CAO, such as maintaining the organization or being innovative in the role (Wolverton et al., 1999).  All administrators who are new to their role are said to experience some level of role conflict and ambiguity, particularly early in their tenures (Amey, 1990).

 

A relationship was discovered between CAO negative perceptions in their being met with incompatible or contradictory demands and their self-perception of their roles with poor job satisfaction.  CAOs who are experiencing role conflict, particularly those CAOs who are called on to manage tasks that they are uncomfortable doing (Amey, 1990) may experience greater levels of job dissatisfaction.  On the other hand, CAOs who are found to have positive perceptions of their role and its functional boundaries are likely to experience greater levels of job satisfaction.  CAOs that are best equipped with sufficient information about the expectations and requirements of their roles and can actively avoid the resulting effects job dissatisfaction.

 

An association was found between CAO positive perceptions in their ability to manage their role, even with the contradictory or incompatible demands that come with them, and their propensity to leave their community colleges.  Those CAOs who have continued positive perceptions of their roles might be less likely to leave their institutions.  Those CAOS with negative perceptions about their role and the expectations that come with them are likely to have a higher propensity to leave their organizations.  For these reasons CAOs should strive to understand the functional boundaries of their roles and those elements that cause uncertainty for them to best avoid the propensity to leave their organizations.

 

A relationship between CAO negative perceptions of their job satisfaction with a propensity to leave their community colleges was discovered.  We have learned through the results of this study and others that those CAOs who experience role conflict and role ambiguity are likely to experience job dissatisfaction (Murray et al., 2000).  CAOs that are unable to experience the workplace values that they have developed and expect to experience may also experience higher levels of job dissatisfaction (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2001).  Some visible effects of poor job satisfaction for the CAO may appear as poor work performance and productivity; absenteeism and turnover (Mech, 1997; Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2001; Wolverton, et al., 1999); and job burnout and work overload (Tull, 2006; and Wolverton et al., 1999).

 

Several implications exist for CAOs already serving and those who are preparing for or considering service in this role. Implications also exist for those community colleges who will continue to select CAOs to serve their institutions. CAOs would be wise to collect as much information as they can about the expectations from all constituent groups when preparing to accept the role of CAO. These would include both internal and external stakeholders, whom the CAO would interact with in the fulfillment of their duties. Those CAOs best able to recognize the factors of role perception and their effects on job satisfaction and propensity to leave may be better suited for addressing any negative consequences that may arise from these experiences. Self-knowledge about their own personal perceptions will help CAOs in identifying any gaps between what they perceived their role as being and what they experience once they are serving as the CAO.

  

Community colleges should pay careful attention to their own on boarding processes for new CAOs. Time spent in providing information to the CAO about expectations of them by various stakeholders they serve will be valuable to the CAO’s development. Community colleges should also effectively communicate particular information about the curricular missions (Cohen & Brawer 2008) and students they serve (Hirt, 2006). Community colleges should display positive organizational support, commitment and citizenship as strategies for curbing poor role perception (Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2001; Williams & Hazer, 1986), job dissatisfaction and greater propensity to leave for the CAO.

 

Limitations

 

A few limitations for the present study should be addressed.  Those CAOs who participated in the study were presented with questions about their perceptions of their role, job satisfaction and propensity to leave.  Each of the questions related to these study factors centered more on their working relationships with others, rather than any particular focus on other external factors that could lead to negative role perceptions, job dissatisfaction or a greater propensity to leave.

 

When using the same survey instrument in examining community college senior student affairs officers (Tull, 2012) one participant in email correspondence to the researcher noted, “Most of my job problems are a result of economic conditions, budget cuts, and state and federal regulations.” This statement illustrates this notion well.

 

Survey questions completed by study participants also did not allow acknowledging whether their greater propensity to leave was associated with their desire to be promoted either internal to their institution or externally.  Additionally, five CAOs who were contacted to participate in this study had become Presidents at other community colleges, as indicated by their email responses. Two CAOs noted through email correspondence to the researcher that they intended to leave for promotions.  Lastly, some CAOs may not have chosen to participate in the present study due to poor perceptions of their current role or level of job satisfaction or greater propensity to leave their community colleges for negative reasons.

 

Conclusion

 

The present study sought to examine community college chief academic affairs officers’ role perceptions, job satisfaction and propensity to leave their institutions.  Study results revealed several positive and negative significant relationships for the factors mentioned above.  These results will contribute to the small, but existing body of knowledge, and also provide new confirmatory evidence about the important relationships between role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction and propensity to leave.  Continued study of these factors should occur as they present important implications for both the community college chief academic officers and the institutions that employ them.  Further examination is also important as community colleges and their administrators should work to curb poor role perception, job dissatisfaction and the propensity to leave for negative reasons of their CAOs and those administrators who aspire to hold this role.

  

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 Table 1

Demographic Characteristics of Community College Chief Academic Officers


Demographic Characteristic   Percentage

 

Gender

 

Male

 

    50.4%

Female

    49.6%

 

Race

 

 

White/Caucasian

93.20%

Black/African American

2.40%

Hispanic/Latino/a

2.00%

Asian/Pacific Islander

1.20%

Multiracial

0.80%

Other

0.40%

 

Highest Degree Earned

 

 

Associates

0.40%

Bachelors

0.00%

 Masters

26.80%

Doctorate

70.80%

Juris Doctorate

1.60%

Other

0.40%

     
Table 2 

 

Significant Correlations for  Role Perception, Job Satisfaction and Propensity to Leave


 

Study Factors                                                                   Significant Correlations*

 


 

The Relationship Between Factors of Role

Perception

Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity                                 r (n = 250) = - .50, p = < .01

 

The Relationship Between Factors of Role Perception and Job Satisfaction

 

 Role Conflict and Job Satisfaction                                  r (n = 250) = -.46, p = < .01

 

Role Ambiguity and Job Satisfaction                              r (n = 250) = .48, p = < .01

 

The Relationship Between Factors of Role Perception and Intention to Turnover

 

Role Conflict and Propensity to Leave                           r (n = 250) = .50, p = < .01

 

Role Ambiguity and Propensity to Leave                       r (n = 250) = -.43, p = < .01

 

The Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Intention to Turnover

 

Job Satisfaction and Propensity to Leave                         r (n = 250) = -.60, p = < .01

 

* All correlations significant at the 0.01 level

 


  

 

Appendix A

 

An Examination of Community College Senior Academic Affairs Officers, Role Perception, Job Satisfaction, and Propensity to Leave their Institutions

 

Responses are scored on a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree.

 

Role Ambiguity                                                  Strongly Disagree          Strongly Agree

 

My authority matches the responsibilities

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

assigned to me. (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what is expected of me.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

My responsibilities are clearly defined. (R)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

I feel certain about how much authority I

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

have. (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know what my responsibilities are. (R)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

I have clear planned goals and objectives for my job. (R)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

 

       

 

 

 

The planned goals and objectives are not

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know how I will be evaluated for a

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

raise or promotion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know what is expected of me. (R)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Explanations are clear of what has to be

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

done. (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My boss makes it clear how he will

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Evaluate my performance.  (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Role Conflict

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I often get myself involved in situations in

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

which there are conflicting requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are unreasonable pressures for better

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I receive an assignment without adequate

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

resources and materials to execute it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to buck a rule or policy in order to

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

carry out a policy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I receive incompatible requests from two or

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

more people.

I have to do things that should be done

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

7

differently under different conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Job Satisfaction

 

For the following Questions, responses are scored on a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 =

strongly agree and 7 = strongly disagree.

 

1=Strongly Agree, 2=Disagree, 3=Slightly Agree, 4=Neither Agree or Disagree, 5=Slightly

Agree, 6=Agree, 7=Strongly Agree

 

All in all, I am satisfied with my job.

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

In general, I don’t like my job. (R)

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

 

 

In general, I like working here.                         7          6        5        4          3          2          1

 

Propensity to Leave

 

For the following Question, responses are scored on a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 = not at all likely and 7 = extremely likely. (1=Not at All Likely, 2, 3=Somewhat Likely, 4, 5=Quite Likely, 6, 7=Extremely Likely)

 

How likely is it that you will probably look for a new job in the next year.     

1          2       3        4          5          6          7

(1=Not at All Likely, 2, 3=Somewhat Likely, 4, 5=Quite Likely, 6, 7=Extremely Likely)

 

For the following Questions, responses are scored on a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 =strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree. (1=Strongly Disagree, 2=Disagree, 3=Slightly Disagree, 4=Neither Agree nor Disagree, 5=Slightly Agree, 6=Agree, 7=Strongly Agree)

 

I often think about quitting.     1          2        3        4          5          6          7

 

 I will probably look for a new job in the next year.   1          2        3        4          5          6          7

(R) denotes items that are reverse scored

 

 

 

 Demographic Information

 

Gender:

 

Male

Female

 

Race:

 

White or Caucasian

Black or African American

Hispanic/Latino/a

Asian or Pacific Islander

Multiracial

Other

 

Age:                    

 

Education:

 

Associate Bachelors

Masters

Doctorate

Juris Doctorate

Other

 

Number of Years of Full Time Experience in Postsecondary Education Prior to Assuming the SSAO role

In two-year colleges

In four-year colleges

Number of Years in current SSAO Role