Date of Award

Fall 12-9-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Eunyoung Kim, Ph.D

Committee Member

Robert Kelchen, Ph.D

Committee Member

Armando Rodriguez, Ph.D


strategic, strategy, leader, leadership, management, sector



The purpose of this study was to explore and describe strategy-related dissertations in education doctoral programs in the United States. Using content analysis, dissertations published from 2005 to 2014 were classified into two time periods. Time-period 1 ranged from 2005 through 2009. During this period, the EdD degree was differentiated from the PhD degree in doctoral programs in the field of education. Time-period 2 included the years from 2010 through 2014 and was marked by the awarding in 2014 of a grant to the Carnegie Project for Education Doctorate (CPED) Initiative to document the success of a four-year effort to redesign the EdD.

A statistical profile of 408 dissertations was developed which revealed a 53% increase in strategy-related dissertations from period 1 to period 2. Such dissertations tend to have been written about public sector educational institutions at the Pre-K-12 level and to have been written by students who sought EdD degrees from institutions classified as large institutions as defined by the Carnegie Classification System. These institutions tended to be non-members of the CPED Initiative.

Chi Square and Fisher’s Exact tests were performed to examine relationships in the strategy-related dissertation data. One statistically significant relationship was identified between the CPED membership status of institutions from which dissertations were published and the time periods during which the dissertations were published. Another statistically significant relationship was identified between the research intensity of institutions from which dissertations were published and the nature of the strategy in these dissertations.

The data collected in this study revealed that doctoral students tended to study practically-oriented strategy topics (e.g., strategy content, processes, and practices). In period 1, no studies were identified that focused on academically oriented strategy topics. In period 2, a limited number of studies were identified as such. This relative lack of academically oriented studies is noteworthy given that stakeholders in education expect education leaders to be strategic leaders. While this study highlights the relative lack of studies in academically oriented strategy research, a conclusion cannot be drawn that education leaders do not learn about strategic management in university-based programs.

Thus, program coordinators of such university-based programs should consider their respective programs and make informed decisions as to the inclusion of strategic management curriculum in the curricula designed to teach future education leaders. In order to make such informed decisions, future studies in strategy research are needed to ascertain the extent to which strategy curriculum is included in university-based programs designed to teach future leaders in education. For those university-based programs that are including strategic management in their curricula, studies are needed to describe the nature and extent to which strategy curriculum is included in university-based programs to teach future leaders in education. Finally, a study is needed to describe how future education leaders learn strategic management in university-based programs that are designed to teach future leaders in education. Without such studies, program coordinators must learn about strategic management and related pedagogy through other means.



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