Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (xi, 178 pages) : color illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kevin Kinser

Committee Members

Daniel C Levy, Alan Wagner


coercive, mimetic, normative, Ghana, isomorphism, private higher education, quality assurance, Sub-Saharan Africa, Private universities and colleges, Universities and colleges, Education, Higher

Subject Categories

Educational Administration and Supervision


This study explores private higher education and implementation of quality assurance procedures in Ghana, a country in West Africa. While focusing on the three main isomorphic classifications (coercive, mimetic and normative) of DiMaggio and Powell’s (1983) institutional theory, this study examines how regulatory measures are not only designed to enhance the quality of private higher education institutions, but also how they impact the efforts employed by private providers towards meeting quality assurance standards in the environment in which they are located. Using a qualitative methodology, participants from five private university colleges and two private chartered institutions are selected as constituting the sample for this study. In addition, quality assurance documents from the website of the Ghana’s National Accreditation Board (NAB) as well as documents from the websites of seven private higher education institutions are coded using NVivo 10 to determine the kind of efforts made by institutions to convey the message of legitimacy across to students and other clientele. Other participants are officials from the NAB, higher education specialists and retired faculty of public higher education institutions in Ghana. In general, the outcome of open-ended interviews with selected participants as well as documents analyzed found evidence of efforts private institutions are making towards meeting their quality assurance requirements through mimetic, coercive and normative isomorphism. These are indicated through institutional affiliations, conformity to mentoring (supervising) institution’s programs, quality assurance requirements and measures established in conformity to the NAB requirements. Higher education specialists advocate that a specific policy aimed at addressing shortage of faculty members in Sub-Saharan Africa should be formulated to take on a more regional dimension. The Ghanaian private higher education landscape has a number of issues including shortage of academic and non-academic staff, dependence on adjunct faculty, and non-compliance to time frame given for program and institutional accreditation. These issues will require a holistic approach involving the NAB and the PHEIs in order to find long lasting solutions. As a result of the continual growth of private higher education providers in Ghana, it is imperative that the NAB make the quality assurance process very welcoming to genuine actors.