Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kit Kacirek

Committee Member

Michael T. Miller

Second Committee Member

Kenda S. Grover


Community college, Four Frames Model, higher education, organizational change, organizational structure, unintended consequences


This qualitative study will investigate the unintended consequences of implementing structural change in a rural community college in the mid-South region of the United States. Specifically, this study will examine the unanticipated outcomes of merging student affairs and academic affairs into one division. Scant empirical evidence exists about the benefits of this structural change or literature reviewing assessments of the unanticipated financial and nonfinancial costs to the institution. This critical case study is situated in a rural community college that recently changed its organizational structure by combining the academic and student affairs divisions. A purposeful sample, from different levels of the organization, who were stakeholders in the change, will be interviewed and asked to describe the unintended positive and negative outcomes of the change, how they managed those consequences, identify the costs to the institution, identify the value to the institution, and share what was learned from the change initiative. The study uses Bolman and Deal’s (2013) four frames model as a framework to explore the phenomenon and interpret participant data. This study will provide empirical literature about structural change and unintended consequences to replace the anecdotal knowledge currently used for organizational decision making. The study will inform organizational leaders of the tangible and intangible costs associated with change. Information from this qualitative study could be useful for trustees, chief executive officers, divisional heads, mid-level administrators, and frontline personnel to identify the potential emotional, financial, temporal, and relational costs associated with making a significant organizational change in a small, rural community college.