Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

James Barott

Committee Member

Elizabeth Broughton

Committee Member

Ronald Flowers

Committee Member

Sarah Ginsberg

Committee Member

Jaclynn Tracy


The purpose of this study was to understand the organizational functions of studentaffairs at Indiana University and to understand the nature of the conflict between studentaffairs and the larger organization. This study utilized the case-study research design. Much of the data collected and analyzed during this case study were of a historical nature. Both primary and secondary sources were utilized. The conceptual framework that informed this study and that this study served to advance is drawn from classic organization theory, specifically contingency theory, which argues that there is no one best way to organize (Galbraith, 1973; Parsons, 1960; Scott, 2003; Thompson, 2004;). The study sought to answer two primary questions: 1. What is the nature of the conflict between student-affairs and the organization? 2. What are the organizational functions of student-affairs at Indiana University? Student-affairs at Indiana University emerged as a set of managerial activities in response to various conflicts and environmental demands over time. These activities emerged to provide four key functions for the organization: To privatize conflict, to maintain, to buffer the technical activities from environmental influences, and to provide symbolic reassurance to the cultural environment. Student-affairs functions emerged at Indiana University as responses to various environmental demands. The function of student-affairs was historically to engage in the managerial activities of privatizing conflict, buffering the institution’s technical activities, providing symbolic reassurance to the cultural environment, and securing legitimacy in the institutional environment through various isomorphic activities.

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