Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The role of higher education in societal development has been addressed by a number of scholars in various fields including sociology. Though these scholars virtually agree on the importance of university education, they have not identified the type of the university that facilitates the kind of societal development they advocate. Therefore, this study is concerned with the construction of a theoretical model of the ideal type university that will facilitate the conceptualization of societal development for Ethiopia and the USA. The study employs Weber's ideal type methodology which simply refers to the construction of certain elements of reality into logically precise conception. This method helps the investigator to construct an abstract concept of public university that intentionally accentuates the essential characteristics, which in the view of this investigator, are crucial in the university's positive and meaningful involvement in its respective societal development.

Societal development was conceptualized as a progress toward a balanced and qualitative change for better promoting the welfare of the citizens in general and increasing the life chances of the individual in particular.

Based on historical analysis of universities the Ideal Type University of Societal Development that has three dimensions was constructed. Then the empirical data in the form of official documents were obtained from Addis Ababa University (AAU) of Ethiopia and Michigan State University (MSU) of the USA. The two universities are considered to be representative of their respective societies. These empirical data were organized in a way as to fit into the dimensional pattern of the ideal type to facilitate the process of comparison between the type and the data. The purpose was to find the deviations and understand the causes of these deviations.

It is found that both AAU and MSU deviate from the ideal (pure) type in many respects. It is recommended that AAU emphasize the introduction of an appropriate technology to enhance Ethiopia's agricultural production. At the same time MSU needs to turn its attention to the developing of an appropriate technology that would eventually address the problems of the urban poor and the environmental pollution of the USA.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Sociology Commons