Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

May 2008


Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics in the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania
Advisor: Larry Starr


The purpose of this thesis is to explore and explain some of the history and internal dynamics that concern Shabahang, a non-profit Iranian cultural society located in the United States. The organization was started by a group of culturally devoted immigrants who wanted to create an environment to preserve and promote Iranian culture and heritage for those living outside Iran. I examine the reasons and steps followed during the establishment of this society and note significant changes over the seventeen years of its existence. In particular, I describe the causes and effects of the transition of leadership from founders to members. I also compare the organization before and after the transition, and I argue that survival of Shabahang in spite of periodical membership decreases and conflicts over objectives between founders and members shows resiliency among a group of people dedicated to maintaining cultural patterns. I suggest that the continued survival of Shabahang may depend on the degree of assimilation and mode of communication among the first and subsequent generations of members and founders.



Date Posted: 21 May 2008