Funding the Technology of a Research University
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Using the central information technology unit (CITU) on the North Dakota State University (NDSU) campus, this project triangulated two independent studies in an effort to converge data findings. The studies were conducted in an effort to determine whether CITU’s budget constraints were known to its stakeholders and how the extended use of the theory of Communication Privacy Management (CPM) into this organizational communication setting might be possible. The studies, which were both conducted by a CITU employee (participant/observer) included: 1) an online email survey involving 244 non-student employee participants and 2) interviews with 21 non-student employees. In Study #1, the participant/observer and two independent coders found, with the exception of CITU’s leadership, that NDSU’s non-student employees did not appear to consider CITU’s budget constraints in their IT needs/requests of CITU. From these results, the participant/observer and two independent coders identified a communication opportunity for CITU to create a message linking CITU’s inability to meet the campus’ IT needs/requests directly to its budget constraints. In Study #2, the participant/observer and two independent coders again found, with the exception of CITU’s leadership, that NDSU’s non-student employees did not appear to consider CITU’s budget constraints in their IT needs/requests of CITU. Additionally, the participant/observer and two independent coders found the presence of all six CPM propositions and four facets of communication identified in both the CPM and organizational communication literature. Even in an open-records state, such as North Dakota, CPM may be useful in describing the communication challenges surrounding both private and traditionally private information within newly formed organizations like CITU or within existing organizations that function more as a set of unrelated individuals. Central IT units or other organizations that are experiencing relationship dissatisfaction with their stakeholders due to budget constraints must work to invite their stakeholders to be co-owners in their budget difficulties, so that they understand why their IT need/requests are not being met. In order to accomplish this task, CITU’s message must be simple and consistent and must be accompanied by a firm set of negotiated rules. When messages are consistent and understood, satisfied co-ownership exists.