Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Organizational Mission and the Phenomenon of Mission Drift/Creep: A perspective from the Nonprofit sector
by Gooding, Claude Ivan, D.Mgt., University of Maryland University College, 2012, 135; 3609089
Abstract (Summary)

Academics and practitioners have continually called for more research to provide a deeper understanding of the nonprofit sector in light of its growing importance in society. Peter Drucker's (1985) seminal work suggested that there is much the business sector can learn from the nonprofit sector. Mission drift/creep as a phenomenon in strategic management has received little academic attention even though the practitioner journals are replete with references of its proliferation. The nonprofit sector in particular, a widely diverse group, linked by a Federal tax exemption to conduct business for almost any lawful purpose, seems particularly susceptible. In the absence of a profit motive, managers and stakeholders alike look to the organizations' mission for direction as well as measurements of success. Mission is generally the principal reason for being and therefore is held as a statement upon which public trust is built. Departure either in the form of drift or creep is widely discouraged. The notion that organizations learn, therefore challenges the fundamental premise that missions should remain static.

Extant practitioner literature documents the widespread nature of mission drift within the sector and decries its proliferation. This study attempts to elevate the discourse, bringing attention to the phenomenon of mission drift/creep by first defining it and putting it in proper contextual frame. The study also through research and scholarship attempts to identify the importance of mission in organizational strategy by using secondary studies to examine this role of mission and thereby provide a fuller explanation for the occurrence of mission drift/creep.

This paper utilized a systematic procedure and content analysis to explore the contingency, resource dependency, population ecology, as well as institutional theories, to find meaningful explanations for mission drift/creep's causation in nonprofit organizations and ultimately support or refute the notion that mission drift/creep should be discouraged.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Andersen, G. David, Dent, Eric
School: University of Maryland University College
Department: Doctor of Management Program
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 75/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Business administration, Management
Keywords: For-profit, Mission drift/creep, Mission statements, Nonprofit, Organizational mission, Strategic planning
Publication Number: 3609089
ISBN: 9781303677984
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