Individual, organizational, and contextual determinants of realized strategy in not -for -profit organizations

Henry T Ulrich, University of Rhode Island


This study addresses organizational direction form the perspective of organizational strategy. It explores the factors that influence realized strategy and especially the degree to which realized strategy is deliberate or emergent. A model is offered that proposes both direct and indirect factors as determinants of realized strategy. Specific direct and indirect factors are hypothesized and the relationships are statistically examined. ^ The sample is composed of twenty nonprofit organizations with a primary base of operations in southern New England. Data was collected for multiple respondents within each organization representing the various levels of management. Most participating organizations were mid-sized, social service agencies. ^ The results of the study indicate that the level of comprehensiveness of the organization's strategic plan, modified by perceived instability in the external environment explains a significant amount of the variance in realized strategy. The primary determinant of the variance, however, is the level of organizational control from both formal and informal sources. These strong organizational controls are the primary determinant of the deliberate versus emergent nature of realized strategy. ^ There was very little significant support for any of the individual, organizational, or contextual factors that might contribute in an indirect way to realized strategy, however the proportion of business executives on the board of directors led to a significantly more comprehensive strategic decision making process. The strength of organizational controls also positively influenced that process. The employment of consultants did not have any significant impact on any part of the strategic process or on the nature of realized strategy. These results and several post hoc analyses are discussed as well as the theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the study. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management

Recommended Citation

Henry T Ulrich, "Individual, organizational, and contextual determinants of realized strategy in not -for -profit organizations" (2004). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3135921.