A multiple case study of transformational leadership at struggling colleges

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Southern New Hampshire University
This qualitative multiple case study sought to understand the common factors that colleges at risk of closure have to navigate to move from struggling, to surviving, and on to thriving. The primary question for this research involved the changes, and communication and governance strategies between the president, trustees, and faculty that affected positive change at small colleges and universities who successfully transformed their organizations. Data was collected through one-on-one interviews with presidents who led each institution through transformation. This study identified similarities and differences between the cases allowing for the examination of the phenomenon in depth, using evidence obtained from interviews with those involved (Yin, 2014). Risk of closure was defined as schools that had a simple liquidity ratio of under 5%, who then moved to a liquidity ratio of over 10%. Findings from this study identified six themes related to leading small at-risk colleges. These factors were common among the schools studied and are areas for consideration for schools that are working to move from struggling to thriving. These themes include; transforming the dynamic between the president and board of trustees; faculty role in organizational change; a strong leadership team as part of transformation; transparency in communication with stakeholders; impact and import of decisive and entrepreneurial leadership; and leadership background. (Author abstract)