Mission Alignment and Operationalization: The Case of the United World Colleges

Angel B Perez


This research study explored how a large, complex global educational organization operationalizes its mission and socializes its constituents to support its mission and values. The study’s unit of analysis was the United World Colleges (UWC), a group of complex international schools whose multi-campus and multinational structure shares a values-driven and activist-oriented mission. With an interest in exploring causation, the researcher employed case study methods to understand how this large organization brings its mission to life on a daily basis.
Extensive interviews, observations and document analysis at five units of the organization led to eight themes consistent across all data collected. The research study revealed that the following factors play a significant role in mission operationalization and alignment: (1) The entrance and exit strategy for members of the organization; (2) selection of the organization’s members; (3) curricular choice and teaching methods; (4) use and structure of the physical space; (5) programming; (6) residential life; (7) reflection; and (8) simplicity and tangibility of the mission statement.
The study has implications for international schools and organizations keen to create strategic alignment between their mission and daily operations. The findings in the study are generalizable and could inform international organizations in their attempt to implement best practices and make resource allocation decisions to maintain mission fidelity.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/irhe.v3n4p55


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International Research in Higher Education  ISSN 2380-9183 (Print)  ISSN 2380-9205 (Online)

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