The profile, functions, behaviors and effectiveness of chief business officers in American public community colleges

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1984
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Abstract

This national descriptive study describes the profile characteristics, role functions, leader behaviors, and leadership effectiveness of Chief Business Officers (CBOs) in American public community colleges. The study focuses on the following problematic issues of contemporary CBOs: (a) Who are they? (b) What role functions do they consider most important and what are their responsibilities regarding these role functions? (c) How do they perform their leadership roles? and (d) How well do they perform their leadership roles? Also, these dimensions were related to governance, locus of financial support, and institutional size.

The study was implemented through a mail questionnaire based on a modification of Dillman' s TDM methodology, including standardized instrument sections, and was adminstered nationally through a stratified random sample. Questionnaires were mailed to CBOs and their immediate supervisors.

Major findings of this study include:

  1. The overwhelming majority of CBOs are middle-aged, white males. The majority of the CBOs entered their first CBO position with an earned graduate degree.

  2. The CBOs average 16 years prior experience, primarily in education, followed by business and the military. Also, the CBOs average over 8 years experience in their current CBO role, and most entered this role from employment outside their present institutions.

  3. Most CBOs work directly under college presidents and are assigned substantial supervisory responsibilities, and in general, the larger the institution, the more subordinates.

  4. Fiscal and financial duties were judged the more important functions and were most often personally performed or delegated, not shared.

  5. CBOs reported high scores on both task-oriented and person-oriented leader behaviors, and these behaviors did not significantly differ from those behaviors reported by their immediate supervisors.

  6. Almost all of the CBOs were described by their immediate supervisors as performing at a composite leadership effectiveness categorical level of at least above average effectivness. They were evaluated most effective in technical ability, and least effective in professionally developing their subordinate staffs.

  7. Although most CBOs reported that local fund appropriations were required for their college's operations, the majority of CBOs reported the State as their institution's primary and legally constituted governance authority.

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