Organizational Culture at a University Education Center: A Case Study Open Access

Abstract of DissertationOrganizational Culture at a University Education Center: A Case Study Historically, colleges and universities, public and private, have expanded their reach and enhanced their competitiveness by launching regional branch campuses. Regional branch campuses continue to play a unique and underappreciated role in the post-secondary educational attainment goals of the United States catering to the growing population of non-traditional, non-residential students seeking and/or completing post-secondary credentialing, and operating in an external environment characterized by more intense competition, greater demands to support economic growth, and more demands for job readiness from parents and students. Organizational culture can help navigate the challenging operational environment of these regional branch campuses; culture has been identified as a key component in the successful management of organizations and a key driver and predictor of organizational effectiveness (Kezar & Eckel, 2002) as evidenced by the successful completion of campus goals. The culture profile of the regional branch campus developed in this study included the culture types in the following rank order: Clan, Adhocracy, Market, and Hierarchy. Clan dominated and supported the collegial, family-like working environment that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork, and an internal emphasis. Adhocracy supported the mission and vision to innovate and provide unique programs to the region as well as to lead the university to unique and untapped enrollment markets for students and for programs. The Market culture supported the purpose of the regional campus to gain market share in the region, and Hierarchy provided the operational infrastructure and the stability required to innovate and grow successfully. The presence of the four cultures and the ability of the regional branch campus to manage and reconcile the competing priorities and attributes inherent in the four culture types represented a fundamental exercise required of high performing organizations, the integration of opposing attributes and the management of the paradoxes inherent in the integration. The literature on culture suggests that managing the contradictions and tensions of competing values leads to heightened organizational performance (Cameron, 1984; Cameron & Quinn, 2011; Cameron et al., 2014). This study offers researchers and practitioners an example of how to diagnose culture and its attendant characteristics; researchers and practitioners are provided an opportunity to understand how those characteristics are aligned in support of or are misaligned with the goals and aspirations of an organization. Using the culture profile practitioners and organization leaders can purposefully strike a balance among cultural characteristics to enhance performance.

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