Powerful or Powerless? Chief Online Education Officers’ Legitimate Power over Online Program Quality in U.S. Higher Education Institutions

Georgianna Laws

Abstract


As the online higher-education market continues along its trajectory of steady growth, it becomes increasingly competitive.  Since quality sets online programs apart in the current competitive market, it is a priority for higher-education institutions.  Consequently, presidents and provosts at many U.S. higher education institutions have been placing the quality of online program administration under the purview of a new role known under the umbrella term of chief online education officer (COEO).  However, when looking for empirical research to help calibrate the COEO role in a way that maximizes its influence on quality, senior leaders find a gap in the literature.  The purpose of this quantitative, correlative, non-experimental study was to ask COEOs from all over the nation to use the Online Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard (QSC) to share their perceptions of the quality of their institution’s online program.  Additionally, COEOs were asked to self-assess their ability to influence quality based on their legitimate power and to describe environmental factors that could potentially impact their legitimate power.  Key findings indicate a strong, positive correlation between overall legitimate power and overall quality, as well as between overall legitimate power and the hierarchy of COEO job titles (E1).  Additional environmental factors significantly correlated with legitimate power categories included the number of units making a full report to the COEO (E3) and the breadth of COEO’s current portfolio of responsibilities (E12), among others.  Finally, data indicate that the hardest quality category to influence is technical support.


Keywords


chief online education officers, higher education leadership, online program, quality assurance, Online Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard, legitimate power, environmental factors, United States of America.

Full Text:

PDF

References


Adair, D. & Diaz, S. (2014). Stakeholders of quality assurance in online education. In K., Shattuck (Ed.), Assuring quality in online education: Practices and processes at the teaching, resource, and program levels (pp. 3-17). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, L.L.C.

Allen, I. E. & Seaman, J. (2004, November). Entering the mainstream: The quality and extent of online education in the United States, 2003 and 2004. [Online Learning Consortium Report]. Retrieved from https://secure.onlinelearningconsortium.org/publications/survey

/entering_the_mainstream2004

Allen, I. E. & Seaman, J. with Poulin, R. & Strout, T. T. (2016, February). Online report card: Tracking online education in the United States. [Babson Survey Research Group Report]. Retrieved from onlinelearningsurvey.com/reports

/onlinereportcard.pdf

Beaudoin, M. F. (2003). Distance education leadership for the new century. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6(2). Retrieved from https://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer62/beaudoin62.html

Birnbaum, R. (1989). How colleges work: The cybernetics of academic organization and leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

DLA (2019). Distance learning administration conference. Retrieved from https://www.westga.edu/~distance/dla/

Fredericksen, E. (2017, June). A national study of leadership for online learning in U.S. higher education. Online Learning Journal 21(2). doi: 10.24059/olj.v21i2.1164

Fredericksen, E. (2018). A national study of online learning leaders in U.S. community colleges. Online Learning Journal 22(4), 383-405. doi: 10.24059/olj.v22i4.1458

French, J. R. & Raven, B. H. (1959a). Leadership Power Bases. In J. T. McMahon (Ed.), Leadership Classics (375-389). Long Grove, IL: Waverland Press, Inc.

French, J. R. & Raven, B. H. (1959b). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Studies in social power (pp. 259-269). Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.

Garrett, R. & Legon, R. (2018). The changing landscape of online education (CHLOE) 2: A deeper dive. Quality Matters & Eduventures survey of chief online officers. [Quality Matters and Eduventures Report] Retrieved from https://www.qualitymatters.org/qa-resources/resource-center/articles-resources/CHLOE-2-report-2018

Herron, J., Lashley, J., Salley, W., & Shaw, M. (2016). The chief online learning officer: Competencies, roles, and trajectories. UNBOUND: Reinventing Higher Education. Retrieved from https://unbound.upcea.edu/online-2/online-education/the-chief-online-

learning-officer-competencies-roles-and-trajectories/

Hersey, P., Blanchard, K. H. & Johnson, D. E. (2018). Management of organizational behavior (p. 131). Princeton, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall.

Huett, J. B. & Piña, A. A. (2016). Preface: Beyond the online course. In A. A. Piña & J. B. Huett (Eds.). (2016). A volume in perspectives in instructional technology and distance education. Beyond the online course: Leadership perspectives on e-learning (p. xiv). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Irele, M. E. (2013). Evaluating distance education in an area of internationalization. In M. G. Moore (Ed.). (2013). Handbook of distance education (p. 504). New York, NY: Routledge.

Johnson, B. & Christensen, L. B. (2017). Educational research: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Kipnis, D., & Schmidt, S. M. (1983). An influence perspective on bargaining within organizations. In M. H. Bazerman & R. J. Lewicki (Eds.), Negotiating in organizations (pp. 303-319). Beverly Hills, CA:Sage.

Kipnis, D., Schmidt, S. M., & Wilkinson, I. (1980). Interorganizational influence tactics: Explorations of getting one's way. Journal of Applied Psychology, 65, 440-452.

Latchem, C. (2014). Quality assurance in online distance education. In T. Anderson and O. Zawacki-Richter (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda (pp. 311-342). Edmonton, AB: AU Press.

Lawrence, P. R. & Lorsch, J. W. (1967). Organization and environment: Managing differentiation and integration. Boston, MA: Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University.

Legon, R. & Garrett, R. (2017). The changing landscape of online education (CHLOE). Quality Matters & Eduventures survey of chief online officers. [Quality Matters and Eduventures Report] Retrieved from https://www.qualitymatters.org/qa-resources/resource-center/articles-resources/CHLOE-report-2017

Legon, R. Garrett, R. & Frederiksen, E. (2019). CHLOE 3: Behind the numbers. The changing landscape of online education. Quality Matters & Eduventures survey of chief online officers. [Quality Matters and Eduventures Report] Retrieved from https://www.qualitymatters.org/qa-resources/resource-center/articles-resources/CHLOE-3-report-2019

Lunenburg, F.C. (2012). Power and leadership: An influence process. International Journal of Management, Business and Administration, 15(1), 1-9. Retrieved from http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Lunenburg,%20Fred%20C%20Power%20and%20Leadership-An%20Influence%20Process%20IJMBA%20V15%20N1%202012.pdf

Manning, K. (2013). Core concepts in higher education: Organizational theory in higher education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Matteson, M. T. & Ivancevich, J. M. (1998). Management and organizational behavior classics. New York: Irvin-Mc Graw Hill.

Merisotis, J. P. & Phipps, R. A. (2000, May). Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in internet-based distance education. [Institute for Higher Education Policy Report]. Retrieved from http://www.ihep.org/research

/publications/quality-line-benchmarks-success-internet-based-distance-education

Mitchell, B. & Geva-May, I. (2009). Attitudes affecting online learning implementation in higher education institutions. Journal of Distance Education, 23(1), 71-88. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/be7e/18a643077ab27f99809b8dc175c29b9f45db.pdf

Neter, J., Wasserman, W., & Kutner, M. H. (1990). Applied linear statistical models. Regression, analysis of variance and experimented designs (3rd ed.). Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin.

Nworie, J. (2012). Applying leadership theories to distance education leadership. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 15(5). Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu

/~distance/ojdla/winter154/nworie154.html

OLC (2018). OLC quality scorecard for the administration of online programs. [Scorecard] Retrieved from https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/consult/olc-quality-scorecard-administration-online-programs/

OLC Accelerate (2019). Accelerating online learning worldwide: The next 25 years! Retrieved from https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/attend-2019/accelerate/

Palloff, R. & Pratt, K. (2005). Foreword. In K. Shelton & G. Saltsman. (2005). An administrator’s guide to online education. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, p. vii.

Piña, A. A., Lowell, V. L., & Harris, B. R. (Eds.). (2018). Leading and managing e-learning: What the e-learning leader needs to know. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Podsakoff, P. M., & Schriesheim, C. A. (1985). Field studies of French and Ranven’s bases of power: Critiques, reanalysis, and suggestions for future research. Psychological Bulletin, 97(3), 387-411.

Quality Matters (2017, May 31). Press release: Online learning goes mainstream. Retrieved from https://www.qualitymatters.org/qa-resources/resource-center/articles-resources

/qm-eduventures-chloe

Raosoft (2004). Sample size calculator. [Software] Retrieved from http://www.raosoft.com/samplesize.html

Raven, B. H. (1965). Social influence and power. In I. D. Steiner & M. Fishbein (Eds.), Current studies in social psychology (pp. 371-382). New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Robbins, E. (2009). Organizational behavior (p. 508). India: Pearson Education.

Shattuck, K. (Ed.). (2014). Assuring quality in online education: Practices and processes at the teaching, resource, and program levels. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing L.L.C.

Shelton, K. & Saltsman, G. (2005). An administrator’s guide to online education. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Shelton, K. (2010a). A quality scorecard for the administration of online education programs: A Delphi study (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska - Lincoln). Educational Administration: Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research. 39. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1039&context=cehsedaddiss

Shelton, K. (2010b). A quality scorecard for the administration of online education programs: A Delphi study. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 14(4), 36-62. Retrieved from http://www.anitacrawley.net/Resources/Articles/sheltonqualityscorecard.pdf

Thompson, L. (2003). The social psychology of organizational behavior: Key readings (p. 16). New York: Psychology Press.

USDLA. (2019). In tune with the future of digital and distance learning: Call for proposals. Retrie




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v25i2.2101



Copyright (c) 2021 Georgianna Laws

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/