Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



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: Lawrence Starr


Nonprofit organizations are an integral part of our communities, providing a vast array of services, fostering civic participation, and building social cohesion. Although operating models and economic drivers vary across the nonprofit sector, unlike for-profits the drive of competition may not provide the impetus for organizational change models such as process improvement. Nevertheless, in order for any organization to be efficient and effective, it is generally necessary to strive for the development of processes that track and document why organizational changes are necessary; why the changes mark improvement within the organization; and how to continuously refine and re-evaluate what the organization is doing to achieve its mission.

This thesis examines basic process improvement principles that can be implemented by nonprofit organizations. Guidance is provided on process improvement activities appropriate to the current state of the organization’s process as well as frameworks for action. A primary goal of process improvement is to develop organizational commitment and energy to facilitate continued process improvement. The strategies discussed for nonprofit organizations in this thesis borrow from a variety of well respected, scholarly sources, and are supported from the author’s experiences in the nonprofit sector.



Date Posted: 28 June 2007