Research in Higher Education

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 97–123 | Cite as

Decentralization of authority in colleges and universities

  • R. Danforth Ross


Research on 115 colleges and universities is used to test hypotheses about the relationships between organizational characteristics—including size, horizontal and vertical differentiation, complexity, and the qualifications of the faculty—and decentralization of authority in four issue areas: the creation of new departments, appointment of deans, faculty salary raises, and leaves of absence for faculty members. Little support is found for the hypotheses. We suggest, however, that a general pressures/risks model of decentralization can explain many of the empirical findings and that institutional tradition and history may be a major determinant of decentralization in some areas.

Key words

decentralization authority bureaucracy higher education 


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Copyright information

© APS Publications, Inc. 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Danforth Ross
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of RochesterRochester

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