chapter  5
16 Pages

Sustaining A Sense of Purpose and the Social Construction of Success

Of central importance in maintaining commitment to the new mission were credible claims of success. Such claims legitimized and reinforced the new mission, proving that the change effort was on the right track. Some of the evidence offered to underscore success was very practical in nature (e.g., the development of a new curriculum, increases in enrollments, success in fundraising, pay raises). However, members also made use of anecdotes and stories. In nearly all cases, members described their institution's progress in highly symbolic ways. To understand this phenomenon, it is important to examine members' conceptions of success. During the interviews, success was substantiated by members in three distinct areas:

1. improvements of programs and policies; 2 . betterment of institutional life; and, 3. enhancement of the attractiveness of the community.