Winter 4-22-2024

ESRP 9000 Professor

Dr. Sandy Underhill

ESRP 9001 Professor

Dr. Sandy Underhill

Executive Summary

Optimizing Leadership to Promote Social/Cultural Responsibility through CIO Recruitment in an ABA Clinic. Tina Sears, 2024: Strategic Research Project, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice. Keywords: applied behavior analysis (ABA), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB), Chief Information Officer (CIO) digital tools, and stakeholders

This Strategic Research Project (SRP) was designed to address service delivery gaps in an ABA clinic post the COVID-19 pandemic by hiring a Chief Information Officer (CIO). Clinics require increased security measures and expedited service delivery in response to external threats presented by the pandemic and customer demands. The ABA clinic referenced in the SRP was created in 2007 to provide ABA services that increase the quality of life for clients suffering from maladaptive behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder. The services are provided by the BACB approved providers who have a passion for assisting those with autism spectrum disorder. The internal and external factor evaluation in the SWOT analysis revealed that the clinic’s problem to be addressed was corporate social responsibility (CSR). To address this problem, hiring a CIO was the selected solution for increasing corporate social responsibility within the organization. The two strategies to implement the CIO initiative were: e-leadership and traditional CIO leadership. The strategies were analyzed by the QSPM tool that revealed the traditional CIO leadership strategy was the better strategy. The total attractiveness score of 6.29 for traditional CIO leadership was based on the utilization of the Internal Factor Evaluation (IFE) and External Factor Evaluation (EFE) generated from the SWOT analysis which extended the broader discussion toward this strategy. This project includes an action plan to implement this strategy. The action plan steps are: (a) assessing the current performance of the organization during the first 90 days, (b) assessing current leadership interventions in improving healthcare outcomes during the first 90 days, (c) assessing guidelines adherence in the first 90 days, (d) establishing more digital services for evidence-based ABA services, (e) establishing more digital services for tracking outcomes and client access to records, and (f) establishing more digital services for training and credentialing of employees.

The literary analysis revealed support for the three selected solutions that included: changing policies within the company, increasing direct acts of community service, and creating more webinars. However, not only had these solutions already been implemented effectively, the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges in upholding corporate social responsibility to the ASD community. The SWOT analysis and the QSPM model thus reflected stronger support for CIO leadership in the traditional sense. The traditional role of the CIO was the chosen strategy over e-leadership due to the demands of cybersecurity, awareness of clinical practices, and upholding regulatory board demands for reporting and initiating insurance claims. Ongoing studies of the effects of globalized management versus total quality management in tracking CIO leadership outcomes are encouraged in maintaining CSR initiatives in healthcare.

Document Type

Strategic Research Project-NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Special Education