Creating constellations of culture: The value of organizational culture in confronting change in enrollment management at a liberal arts college

Noel C Hogan, University of Pennsylvania


A supportive organizational culture is often viewed as a valuable asset in helping institutions adapt to changes in their environment. Too often attempts to understand or nurture an organizational culture by practitioners are met with failure and confusion. Part of the confusion may emanate from the paradox of having organizational culture portrayed as a unifying experience for participants while at the same time it is a personal experience interpreted by each member in unique ways. This research uses as a case study the development of an enrollment management function at a small liberal arts college to explore how models of organizational culture and personal development combine to create a performance enhancing organizational culture. As a result of research findings a three constellation model of organizational culture was developed to provide readers with a framework for evaluating the elements and relationships of the network that creates an organizational culture attentive to organization goals and to individual member needs. The three constellation model suggests two measures of structural integrity, congruence and equilibrium to harness the power of immersion through triangulation and alignment. The model reinforces the importance of the acceptance into group membership and acceptance of leadership by the group as central transactions which utilize the exchange of trust as currency. Most importantly, this research supports the importance and centrality of a core ideology to the development of and maintenance of strong, performance-enhancing organizational cultures. A core ideology serves as the touchstone that defines how the organization measures success, redefines success amid changing circumstances, and outlines the common goals and responsibilities necessary in mediating between group goals and individual needs. The combination of the three constellation model, measures of alignment, and core ideology promote the development of trust necessary to resolve differences between individual members and the organization in the pursuit of group goals.

Subject Area

Higher education|Management|School administration

Recommended Citation

Hogan, Noel C, "Creating constellations of culture: The value of organizational culture in confronting change in enrollment management at a liberal arts college" (2004). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3124690.