Putting money where the mission is
Oliver, Scott Anthony
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The way an organization’s leadership budgets for and allocates resources can reflect that organization’s values and its mission. This is true even within college and university environments, as well for individual departments within these environments. This study examined university housing and residence life departments in a higher education environment to explore whether chief housing officers understood their departmental mission statement, to examine the extent to which this understanding guided or influenced their budget decisions, the relationship between understanding and usage, and to identify any other factors that influenced these administrators’ use of mission to guide budget decisions. The Management of Meaning Scale (Fairhurst, 1993, as cited in Fairhurst, Jordan, & Neuwirth, 1997) and the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1985) provided the theoretical framework and were used to construct appropriate survey instruments to measure chief housing officers’ understanding of and intention to use mission to make budgetary decisions. Follow-up interviews were conducted with a group of chief housing officers to provide additional insight and support for the survey data. The findings from the survey data and supporting interviews are considered exploratory, but indicate that chief housing officers do understand and use their mission statements in making budgetary or financial decisions. Additionally, data indicate a positive correlational relationship between the concepts of understanding and usage and identify a number of factors that may have influenced mission usage.