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KAREN D. BOYD & WADE LIVINGSTON
Relational Context (E): The Institution
Dimensions
Participants’ Social
Systems
(What aspects of social
interaction influence
participants’ experience?)
Constructed
(What message and identity
is communicated by the
institution?)
Organizational
(What institutional
governance and
administrative choices
influence the relational
setting?)
Examples
• Others in relation, including
the institution
• Number
• System structures (micro,
meso, exo)
• Culture
• Climate
• Messaging
• Policies and procedures
• Administrative structure
• Decision-making
processes
• Strategic planning
processes
Note
: This construct, its dimensions, and the examples are findings of an unpublished qualitative study by
Boyd
et al
. The Participants’ Social Systems dimension is consistent with Renn and Arnold’s (2003)
adaptation of Bronfrenbrenner’s (1979) work. The Constructed and Organizational dimensions reflect
Strange and Banning’s (2001) dimensions of campus ecology.
Figure 3: Dimensions of the Relational Context (E) Construct:
The Institution
Relational Interaction (X)
As theoretically posited above, students articulated that the interaction of
the participant and the setting finalizes the constellation of parts into a re-
lationship. Students’ responses revealed differing types, natures, and mag-
nitude of interaction between the relational participant and the relational
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