Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Petra Snowden

Committee Member

Ulysses V. Spiva

Committee Member

Michael Glenn

Committee Member

Jack Robinson


Organizational culture in traditional terms, encompasses the beliefs, mores, customs, behavioral norms and ways of doing business. The theoretical research and studies conducted by practitioners and scholars such as Max Weber, Mary Parker Follett, Frederick Taylor, Chester Barnard, Elton Mayo, Rensis Likert and Edgar Schein contribute much to the intellectual framework for studying today's complex and ever changing organizations.

This study on the "Impact of Educational Interventions on Organizational Culture" is an evaluation of a major educational initiative undertaken by an urban federal agency, namely the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Langley Research Center (NASA-LARC). The design of this educational evaluation captures the essence of NASA-LARC's efforts to continue its distinguished and international statute in the aeronautical research community following the Challenger tragedy. More specifically, this study is an evaluation of the educational initiative designed to ameliorate organizational culture via educational interventions, with emphasis on communications, rewards and recognition, and career development.

After completing a review of the related literature, chronicling the educational initiative, interviewing senior managers and employees, and critically examining thousands of free responses on employee perceptions of organizational culture, this researcher finds that previous definitions of organizational culture are more accurately classified as manifestations of organizational culture. Based on the research conducted during this study, this researcher has endeavored to redefine "organizational culture" by offering a more accurate and diagnostic perspective.

At the conclusion of this evaluation of the educational initiative undertaken by NASA-LARC, several findings are significant. First among these findings is that employees in this highly complex and internationally competitive organization have the potential for continued and greater levels of productivity provided management remains vigilant in its efforts to depart from traditional top-down relationships, reduce and/or eliminate undesirable working conditions, and stimulate a culture which is responsive to the higher order needs of employees.

Second, management's capacity to move the organization into the 21st century is in large part, a function of the extent to which organizational culture can be positively influenced via the effective implementation of educational interventions.

Finally, the results of this study are significant in that they contribute to the dialog and broaden the scope of knowledge related to the impact of educational interventions on organizational culture, particularly within urban federal agencies.


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