Vasquez, Alejandro. “Shaping Strategy”. PhD, Boston College, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107656.
The intent of this single-case study was to explore the effects of a competitive environment on organizational decision making. The study examines the decision making processes that resulted in the adoption of an undergraduate business major at a traditional, middle-tier Liberal Arts College and offers an analysis of academic leaders’ perspectives on institutional identity, environmental pressures, strategic decision making and organizational change. This qualitative study uses Institutional theory to examine organizational behavior in competitive environments. Analysis of interviews and institutional data revealed four important findings. 1. The external environment defined the organizational reality and significantly influenced and shaped behavior and decision making; 2. A unique organizational culture and identity moved the organization to rely on rules and routines which reflected historic institutional values; 3. Responses to uncertainty produced an organizational adaptation that reflected a decoupling of one subunit which represented a new institutional strength, and 4. The environment exerted isomorphic pressure on the College to adopt a change that was incongruent with its historic values. The implications of the study include identifying the pressing need for new revenue streams that strengthen the financial model for tuition-dependent liberal arts colleges while preserving the values of a liberal education. Also, organizations should find ways to extend and share leadership in order to facilitate necessary organizational learning and time-bound responses to organizational threats.