The art and science of organization management has been an interest of ours for over forty years.

Each of us has had a variety of experiences in private business, the U.S. Army, government, public schools and universities, and in the nonprofit sector.

As the years have gone by, questions posed about how to plan for rapidly changing communities forced us to think about the future, not as a continuation of the status quo, but as something very different. We began to examine the changes taking place: economic fluctuations in the stock market, employee downsizing by major businesses, and increasing global competition across all sectors (business, government, and nonprofit). In the educational realm we have seen the rise of for-profit educational providers responding to employer needs for competent employees as opposed to credentialed employees, a trend that is eroding the certification monopoly once held by colleges and universities. We have seen a dramatic increase in cyber-universities and an increased focus on distance learning initiatives by traditional colleges and universities. We have seen the development of a competency-based educational movement, epitomized by the Western Governors Universities requirement that students will not receive a WGU degree until they have passed a competency test. We are witnessing the transition of the academy from a learned infrastructure with its focus on the number of books in the library and credentials of faculty members to a learning infrastructure characterized by the availability of resources 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All of these changes make the management of educational organizations more difficult, all the more complex.

Like it or not, however, the years ahead will undoubtedly bring ever greater change, increased uncertainty, and a more diverse field of competition. New technologies, new industries, and new market forces demand new approaches to the way organizations do business. Indeed, both the for-profit and nonprofit educational organizations alike have begun to learn that their success in meeting these challenges will lie in a new mix of old notions–marketing, total quality assurance, strategic planning and management–an approach we call common sense management.

We arrived at the name, common sense management, from a frustration of dealing with the myriad of names that have been historically used to describe to the management process: McGregor’s theory of X and Y management, Ouchi's theory Z management, planning, programming, budgeting system (PPBS) management, zero-based management, long range planning, strategic planning, strategic management, contingency management, strategic market management, total quality management, reengineering, etc. All of these have value but none is a replacement for all. The closest was strategic management but even that did not convey what we wanted to portray. What we saw as important was the use of good old common sense to guide decision-making&em;hence the designation of our process model.

We have written this book from the perspective of consultants charged with assisting a chief executive officer (or the official responsible for organizational planning) of an educational organization to implement the common sense management process. We assume that you are that person and that we are your consultants.

It is to this end that we have written this book, not as an end unto itself, but as a tool for continuous learning for educational leaders in colleges and universities.

In preparing this book we were aided by the approval of United Way of America to use material from their Strategic Management and United Way series developed by George Wilkinson and Linda Forbes. We express our deepest appreciation for that approval.

We are continually looking for new ways to teach the common sense management process. Suggestions from readers are welcome and may be sent to any of the authors, whose addresses are below:

James Morrison
2936 Buckingham Road
Durham, NC 27707

Linda Forbes
819 Summit Ridge Drive
Bridgewater, NJ 08807

George Wilkinson
2319 Sierra Highlands Drive
Reno, NV 89523