Developing Networks for Educational Collaboration: An Event History Analysis of the Spread of Statewide P-16 Councils
Mokher, Christine G.
This study uses event history analysis to examine the origins of collaborative efforts between K-12 and higher education systems through the formation of statewide P-16 councils. The development of these joint organizational structures represents an important reform innovation in the P-16 education arena, as P-16 councils seek to influence state policy in an effort to improve student achievement and transitions across all levels of education. Network theory is used to distill three sets of hypotheses to predict how different governance structures, leadership influences, and environmental characteristics may help to explain the spread of voluntary and mandatory P-16 councils in the American states from 1992 to 2007. Although there is little support for the effect of a state’s organizational structures, both leadership influences and environmental conditions may impact a state’s decision of both whether to form a P-16 council and the type of P-16 council that is formed. The condition of weak educational climates is associated with a significant increase in the likelihood of forming all types of P-16 councils. The presence of an “education governor” is particularly important for understanding the spread of mandatory statewide P-16 councils, while economic and demographic characteristics of states are better predictors of the adoption of voluntary P-16 councils. The findings from this study also have broader theoretical implications for understanding who governs in the formation of network organizations. Government networks represent a relatively new type of policy context; one in which leadership from the executive’s office may be particularly important for explaining the formation of these innovative organizational structures.