Organizations of all types devote time, resources and attention in pursuit of the perfect mission statement. Mission statements may serve to provide purpose, identity and direction to those both internal and external to an organization. After an organizational mission statement is adopted, the totality of benefit is not always clear. This dissertation examines what, if any, influence mission statements have with respect to leader decision making. More specifically, this dissertation focuses on Executive Directors of California State University nonprofit charitable foundations and what, if any, influence the mission statement of their organization may have on their decision making. In order to evaluate the mission statement influence consistently amongst these leaders, a survey was developed to assess decision making within five functional areas common to each. The five functional areas include, human resources, grants and contracts, accounting, finance and investments, and information systems. The survey also asked each leader to assess mission statement influence on overall decision making and on organizational planning. Lastly, these leaders were asked to provide an example of a decision they made that was influenced by their organizational mission statement. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed. This mixed methods approach provided data which complement one another and support the conclusion that finance and investment decisions are more heavily influenced by organizational mission statements for these leaders than are other types of decisions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Mission statements; Decision making; Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent