Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. David Chaplin

Second Advisor

Dr. James Petersen

Third Advisor

Dr. Ken Simon


Between 1965 and 1980 American higher education has witnessed the emergence of several related developments which challenge traditional conceptions of the autonomy of higher education: affirmative action, the managerial revolution in higher education, the student consumer movement, the strengthening of statewide coordination of higher education, the accelerated movement to collective bargaining, and the increasing involvement of the courts in college and university affairs. This study identifies and articulates the nature and significance of emergent qualitative dimensions of structural change, for which these developments are structural indicators, and argues that they constitute a new, emergent form of occupational control over university teaching: the systematic mediation of professional power. This systematic mediation of professional power constitutes a mediated synthesis of the interests of academic professionals and of college and university clients: it attempts to preserve the professionals' interest in professional competence and effectiveness, though not in privilege, immunity, or autonomy as traditionally conceived; it attempts to preserve the interest of clients--both students and the larger public--in effective and efficient service to client and social needs and goals; and the educational complex organization becomes accountable through its mediative structures and processes to attempt to assure the effective and cost-effective service of the professional to the educational needs and goals of the society.

On the basis of the structural indicators of change in American higher education and of the literature on occupational and organizational change, an explanatory theoretical model is developed and advanced which identifies and interrelates the social conditions which come together as independent professional power is transformed into the systematic mediation of professional power. The necessary social conditions include an external dynamic of increased demand for professional services, an internal dynamic of new developments in organizational technology, and a relatively open and potentially vigorous political structure that can channel these dynamics toward the systematic mediation of professional power. This theoretical model, and the qualitative dimensions of structural change it attempts to explain, have important implications beyond American higher education for a more general theory of occupations and organizations in advanced industrial societies.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access