Must decline lead to death? A case study of two Catholic women's colleges as they evolved through life cycle phases
Abstract (Summary)The number of Catholic women's colleges has decreased dramatically since 1970. This has caused a void in the Roman Catholic Church's educational system. This research investigated life-cycle theory and its application to organizations. A college as an organization can be analyzed within the framework of organizational life-cycle theory. The phases identified in life-cycle theory are birth, growth, maintenance, decline, and death. The birth phase includes all the events which make the organization a reality; ideas, funding, location, and personnel. The growth phase is of indeterminate length. It details the movement of the organization from the end of the birth phase until the organization has earned a place for itself in the organizational world. The maintenance phase is a period in the organization's history when it stops to take stock of its accomplishments and sets a direction for its future. The decline phase of life-cycle theory is characterized by a drop in production or in delivery of service with subsequent loss of income. The final phase, death, occurs when the organization no longer functions as intended--going out of business, experiencing a take-over, submitting to a merger. The case study of the two Catholic women's colleges presented in this research were developed around these life-cycle phases. In the account of one college, the case study chronicles the college's movement from birth to its untimely death. The other case study follows the college from birth through decline. It then describes the college's activities during decline which turned the college from death to new growth. The comparison of the events in the decline phase may lead administrators of other Catholic women's colleges to examine comparable factors in their settings and make adjustments to insure continued existence.
School Location:USA - Massachusetts
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/1990