- Surviving and Thriving: The Adaptive Responses of U.S. Four-Year Colleges and Universities during the Great Recession
- The Journal of Higher Education
- The Ohio State University Press
- Volume 87, Number 6, November/December 2016
- pp. 859-885
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Press reports and industry statistics both give incomplete pictures of the outcomes of the Great Recession for U.S. four-year colleges and universities. To address these gaps, we conducted a statistical analysis of all articles that appeared in Lexis-Nexis on a sample of more than 300 U.S. colleges and universities during the Recession years. We identify four clusters of institutional responses, which we label “consumer service,” “market search,” “growing and greening,” and “the complete arsenal.” Overviews of actions taken in each of these clusters provide qualitative texture and evidence of senior managers’ intentions. Our findings are broadly consistent with organizational theories emphasizing divergent institutional logics, but we question the extent to which the fourth of our clusters can be characterized as a coherent adaptive “logic,” and we add an emphasis on interorganizational stratification as an influence on adaptive responses.