Date of Degree
Access restricted until 07/03/2020
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Educational Policy and Leadership Studies
Christopher C. Morphew
Cassie L. Barnhardt
First Committee Member
Elizabeth J. Menninga
Second Committee Member
Christine A. Ogren
Third Committee Member
The following dissertation comprises three studies that aim to better understand organizational identity in the field of U.S. higher education. Research in this area has focused largely on attributes that emphasize college and university distinctiveness, though a good deal of studies in higher education have found that many postsecondary institutions are very alike in their structure and behavior. On the other hand, qualitative research demonstrates that organizational identity helps to explain differences between colleges and universities. The studies herein conceptualize organizational identity as a series of claims about self that balance both sameness and distinctiveness. These studies analyze how organizational identity establishes an institution’s group membership, while distinguishing the institution from colleges and universities in other groups.
Manuscripts analyze how organizational identity is associated with action using institutions’ self-selected comparison groups. The first study examines how institutions’ identity claims and aspirational identity claims, measured through their comparison groups, are associated with future action. The second study applies social network analysis techniques to identity communities of colleges and universities that are routinely nominated together. With specific focus on public comprehensive institutions (CIs), this analysis finds salient institutional groups that draw on a common set of organizing principles. CIs, for example, tend to enroll diverse student bodies and maintain low tuition prices when compared with other types of postsecondary institutions. The final study investigates how these common organizing principles influence organizational action in response to their environments. Findings suggest that under the same conditions, CIs enroll more students from low-income backgrounds as a share of their undergraduate bodies when compared with public research universities.
Organizational behavior, Organizational identity, Public colleges and universities, Social network analysis
xi, 140 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 113-131).
Copyright © 2018 Graham Nicholas Stuart Miller
Miller, Graham Nicholas Stuart. ""Tell me with whom you associate, and I will tell you who you are": understanding organizational identity through peer groups in the field of higher education." PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) thesis, University of Iowa, 2018.
Available for download on Friday, July 03, 2020