Organizational Identity and Higher Education Governance: Historical Case Studies from California, 1960-2011
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CitationKumar, Amal. 2021. Organizational Identity and Higher Education Governance: Historical Case Studies from California, 1960-2011. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractAlthough organizational identity has been a vibrant and active area of study for several decades, there has been a relative lack of engagement in the higher education literature with the ways in which the contextual enactment of multiple organizational identities can explain key phenomena of interest to higher education scholarship. This dissertation makes both theoretical and empirical contributions at the intersection of organizational theory and higher education through three papers exploring the history of higher education governance in California. The first paper develops a history of the evolution of higher education coordination in California since 1960 and argues that a key causal factor explaining the evolution and eventual elimination of California’s State Higher Education Executive Office (SHEEO) was the inability of its staff and leaders to connect its organizational identities over time. The second paper builds on the empirical contributions of the first to develop theory about the enactment of organizational identities in socio-historical context. This paper theorizes the ‘organizational self’ as a momentary gestalt created by an organizational response to a focal event in an institutional context. The third paper problematizes the pursuit of prestige as the causal driver for academic drift and explores its evolution at the field level, finding a key causal role for organizational identity as a motivator for academic drift. Collectively, these papers demonstrate the possibility and potential of rigorous engagement between higher education and organizational theory by describing different aspects of the evolving relationships between organization members, organizational identities, and their institutional, social, and historical contexts.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368239
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