Deciders

Who the ultimate decision makers and what the scope of their decisions is depends directly on the organizational structure used. In higher education the general organizational structures are ubiquitous throughout the country. Universities, colleges, in community colleges my show considerable differences in their respective organizational structures when we compare each of these categories, within the individual categories themselves the organizational structures are usually very similar. This makes sense since the general purpose of these organizations is very nearly the same.

In other types of organizations such as business and industry the organizational structure from one to another entity can be quite different. Well they may have a similar General framework there can be much variety and each level of the organization as well as much Variety in the details of the processes and procedures used.

This can tend to make determination of the deciders more problematic when you were dealing with these business and industry organizations then when you were dealing with traditional education entities.

No matter which type of organization you're dealing with the importance of determining the deciders, their areas of control, and their initial views of the educational project cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, putting the time and effort into finding out who these deciders are, their spheres of influence, and their personal opinions on the project is not only a proper use of resources, it is essential to a successful project.

Virtually all post-secondary educational entities will have a process designed, documented, and disseminated bond proposing a curriculum. The information found in this document is a good place to start discovering the decision makers in the organization. This documentation should certainly provide information on the decision-makers at the highest levels. The university this would be all decision-makers at levels above that of the college.

The decision-makers at the level of the college should not be difficult to determine as it is assumed that the person or persons tasked with creating the new curriculum will be a member in that college or consultant or consultant organization with knowledge of the college.

Determining the decision-makers in an organization in business or industry is best done on an individual basis. There are generally enough differences and idiosyncrasies from one business or industry to another that it can be assumed prior projects with other entities will not provide much valid information that can be transferable to the new entity and educational project. Therefore, the step of determining decision-makers will probably be more difficult and time-consuming then in a traditional post-secondary setting.

The curriculum designer or designers is from within the organization itself, he, she, or they, can use their personal knowledge of the organization as a place to start. Validating and extending their information by discussions with people that they know within the organization they know to be knowledgeable on the subject.

For curriculum designer or designers coming from outside of the organization, determining deciders will be a bit more of a challenge. In this case the client contacts will be needed to help gather this information. While it can be assumed that the clients are providing valid information it is best to do your own due diligence in confirming that the information is correct and complete. Doing this may also put you in contact with other people who may have have relevant information on this and other areas important to your project, and so could become a resource for you during the project lifetime.

There are unfortunately no hard and fast that can help you in this area however consider the various layers in the organization that you're dealing with and what their interest in your project might be. This can help you categorize and segment the organization in such a way that will be useful in helping in this step of the project. So for example, the levels might be: Corporate, division, area or functional area, and Department.