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Understanding the Influence Career Paths Have on Community and Technical College Chief Business Officers' Satisfaction with Their Position: A Mixed Method Investigation

Carter L File, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study was undertaken to understand whether a community or technical college chief business officer's career line influenced the lived experience of job satisfaction. This mixed method study was conducted in a two-phase approach using the Explanatory Design: Participant Selection Model variant. An initial quantitative survey was conducted from which participants were selected for follow-up qualitative interviews. The results were blended into a unified discussion and analysis. The qualitative phase resulted in a total of 69 participants. Demographic, career line, and job satisfaction data were developed and presented. From this data six career lines, later reduced to five, were identified and a total of ten participants, two from each career line, were selected for follow-up interviews. A participant with a high job satisfaction score and a participant with a lower job satisfaction score were interviewed. The central question for this study was whether the career line an individual followed to their position had an influence on how they experienced job satisfaction. The finding of this study did not support the idea that there was substantial influence from one's background impacting job satisfaction. The study identified and utilized six career lines: Higher Education, For-Profit Business or Industry, Charitable Not-for-Profit, Federal-State-Local Government, K-12, and Other. Only five career lines were used for follow-up interviews, as K-12 did not yield two suitable interview candidates and was combined with Other for the interview phase. There were six meaning units developed: Environmental Factors, General Job Characteristics, Essential Job Skills, Personal Attributes, Experiential Influence, and Future Plans. The meaning units and significant statements identified a combination of factors that influenced job satisfaction, but career line did not have a significant impact on the experience of job satisfaction. Participants wanted to be involved in the strategic decision making of the college. Participants also indicated they were unlikely to leave the institution, or community and technical college sector, because of dissatisfaction.

Subject Area

Higher Education Administration|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

File, Carter L, "Understanding the Influence Career Paths Have on Community and Technical College Chief Business Officers' Satisfaction with Their Position: A Mixed Method Investigation" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3604642.