Models in strategy: Empirical and qualitative comparisons with applications to non -profits

Chandra Aleong, University of Pennsylvania


The strategy literature focuses on performance for profit enterprises. There is little research done on performance for non-profits and higher education organizations as a result of differences in strategy. This paper discusses whether there are differences in performance based on differences in strategy. First, an attempt was made to determine whether the institution had a strategy, and if so, did it follow a particular model. Major models of strategy are the industry analysis approach, the resource based view or the RBV model and the more recent, relational model. The next step was determining whether the institution actually implemented the strategy by allocating resources. Finally an attempt was made to find out whether any of the models influenced the performance of higher education institutions and whether one model resulted in greater performance than another. Performance was defined as improvements in enrollment, operating surpluses, investments in physical assets and capital structure. The research design was the case study approach. The methods of analysis were qualitative, using content analysis, as well as quantitative, using quartiles, box plots, trend analysis, compound rates of growth, chi-square statistics, regression analysis and mixed models for the longitudinal data. The results showed that there were significant differences in performance between the institution with the well-defined and implemented strategy and other institutions in the same religious and geographic classification. The sample size was small and, thus, it was not possible to make inferences to the larger population. The findings from the in-depth research revealed nuances that helped to tease out the subtleties between some of the key concepts in the strategy literature. On the surface, one would have thought that a niche was the primary ingredient of success. It turned out that a clear and correct analysis of the environment, plus pragmatic implementation and continuous strategizing are the factors that led to improved performance. This research should add to the knowledge base in seeking to improve Higher Education.

Subject Area

Business community|Management|School administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Aleong, Chandra, "Models in strategy: Empirical and qualitative comparisons with applications to non -profits" (2001). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3011635.