Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Sven Kepes

Second Advisor

Michael A. McDaniel

Third Advisor

Jose Cortina

Fourth Advisor

Andra Serban

Fifth Advisor

David Harless


This dissertation examined the controversy surrounding the high levels of compensation paid to university presidents. To do this, the first half of this dissertation includes a systematic review of the existing literature regarding the relation between university performance and university president compensation in nonprofit universities. The second half of this dissertation attempts to replicate the findings from the systematic review with more current data. Several gaps identified in the literature, including the effects of analyzing specific compensation components, the effect of university president compensation on subsequent university performance, potential nonlinear relations, and how relations between university performance and university president compensation change over time, are examined as well. Specific hypotheses and research questions are derived from compensation and motivation theories used in the for-profit context as well as findings from both the for-profit and nonprofit executive compensation literature. Results indicated that university performance had a weak effect on compensation in private universities and no effect in public universities. Findings suggested that there may be differences in this effect depending on the component of compensation examined. Compensation appears to have a negative or nil effect on subsequent university performance. Evidence of differential effects over time were not observed. Although some nonlinear effects were detected, they did not take the form expected. Potential reasons for these findings, as well as their implications for research and practice, are discussed.


© Sheila Kathleen Keener

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission