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ERIC Number: ED522183
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 310
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-7278-5
College Identity Sagas: Investigating Organizational Identity Preservation and Diminishment at Lutheran Colleges and Universities
Childers, Eric Sean
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
In an increasingly homogeneous higher education landscape where colleges and universities appear more similar than distinctive, does organizational identity still matter? In particular, church-related higher education has experienced seismic shifts since the mid-1960s. The purpose of this study was to investigate three colleges and universities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), relying primarily on key interviews and institutional documents to construct a 45-year narrative timeline of how each institution treated its organizational Lutheran identity. Three questions guided this study: (1) are colleges and universities of the ELCA preserving or diminishing their Lutheran identities? (2) Do the status drivers of secularization, financial viability, and faculty professionalization affect Lutheran institutional identity at these colleges and universities? (3) If the colleges and universities described in my case studies are seeking to preserve their Lutheran identities, why and how are they planning this preservation? Using critical events theory to construct narrative histories, or sagas, of three colleges and universities of the ELCA, the study engages organizational literature and institutional theory to investigate the effects, if any, of isomorphism on organizational Lutheran identity. The results suggest that isomorphic status drivers do indeed play a significant role in organizational identity and that preservation and diminishment of a college's religious identity is closely related to mission and leadership. In addition to contributing to the understanding of Lutheran college identity, the results of this study can be used to inform college administrators' decision-making at other mission-specific schools, including military academies, single-sex colleges, denominational seminaries, and historically Black colleges and universities. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A