Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Mario C. Martinez

Second Committee Member

Gerald C. Kops

Third Committee Member

Brandy D. Smith

Fourth Committee Member

Joseph T. Gilbert

Number of Pages



This study examined whether coercive, normative and mimetic isomorphic mechanisms contribute to the strategies public MBA programs develop and implement in their quests to differentiate themselves. An additional purpose was to examine whether influential environmental elements impact strategy development in ways that make these organizations more similar than different.

In depth interviews were conducted in an attempt to discover the experiences and perspectives of five current directors of MBA programs in public institutions of higher education. Purposeful sampling, in the form of convenience sampling within a clearly defined population, was used.

The findings suggest that none of the five MBA program administrators described a single strategy but instead described how their programs functioned, what their program priorities were, and how they planned to achieve their program objectives. Common approaches to strategy were: the pursuit of assigned objectives, local and regional approaches to program focus and differentiation, and product extension.

The programs experienced common influences on their strategy formulation: strategy definition, stakeholders, institutional characteristics, and leadership. It was apparent that each MBA program administrator viewed their program's sphere of influence as local or at its widest, regional. Coercive, mimetic and normative isomorphic mechanisms were present and influenced the MBA programs. The power of stakeholders, from advisory boards to the state, greatly influence the extent to which isomorphic mechanisms affected programs.


AACSB; Business education; Master of business administration degree; MBA Programs; Strategy


Educational Leadership | Higher Education | Other Education

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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