Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Lori D. Patton Davis


This study looked at organizational identity in higher education. First conceptualized by organizational and management theorists Stuart Albert and David Whetten in 1985, it is defined as those attributes and features members believe to be most central and enduring about their organization and that distinguish it from others. Using case study methodology, the study explored how the identity at Sweet Briar, a women's college in Sweet Briar, Virginia was developed, sustained, and preserved and its influence in the college. The study found a high degree of identity salience at Sweet Briar evidenced by clear identity claims and identity-referencing discourse as well as corresponding practices, behaviors, and attitudes that gave expression to the identity in the culture of the college. The study also revealed the presence of facilitating protocols, which were those campus-sponsored procedures, systems, and commemorative events that kept its identity at the center of institutional life at Sweet Briar. Overall findings suggest that a high level of identity salience is a powerful resource a college can draw on to build a cohesive community, strengthen itself in times of challenge, and firmly position itself in the marketplace.


Copyright Owner

Denice Katherine Ross Haynes



Date Available


File Format


File Size

218 pages