Subject Area



American higher education faces increasing pressure to contain the cost of a college degree, forcing institutions to address both costs and the resulting meaningful organizational change. As a labor-intensive industry, the most effective strategies incorporate best practices related to maximizing human resources. Organizational commitment, an employees’ connection to and affinity for their employer, offers valuable insights into organizational change programs. Employees with strong commitment to their organization demonstrate a greater propensity to endure the exertion required for success during times of significant change. This study investigated the research question, how does a university staff member’s formal involvement in a cost containment initiative program affect their organizational commitment? To determine an answer, the organizational commitment of two groups of university staff employed throughout a cost containment program, those with and without a formal involvement role, was measured and compared utilizing the gold-standard Organizational Commitment Questionnaire. Results revealed that formal involvement in a meaningful organizational change led to higher organizational commitment. Study results inform practitioner development of cost containment programs specifically, and significant institutional change initiatives generally. Organizational commitment, as a significant influencer of organizational behavior, offers a key strategy for administrators planning large-scale institutional change. Recommendations for practice include maximizing individual employee strengths, department and division efforts, and suggestions for the institution and higher education industry. This research offers a powerful apparatus for capitalizing on higher education’s most valuable and complex resource, its people.

Degree Date

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name



Education Policy and Leadership


Dr. Ashley Tull

Second Advisor

Dr. Lori S. White

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Harris

Number of Pages