Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Many theoretical paradigms have been created in an effort to successfully measure organizational performance. One of the more recent approaches, known as the "population perspective," focuses on populations of organizations as its unit of analysis, and attempts to explain the relationships among organizations, populations, and environments. These relationships are explored by (a) grouping organizations into homogeneous clusters or populations, and (b) assessing alternative selection mechanisms or predictors of organizational prosperity. The studying of populations help define the organizational forms allowing survival within an environment, while increasing the generalizability of the study's findings. Studying selection mechanisms within their populations allows the researcher to distinguish environments from niches, and helps specify how different selection mechanisms impact upon organizational longevity. This dissertation presents and tests a population perspective on organizations. One hundred forty seven banks in the State of Louisiana were grouped into populations using two clustering techniques. The results of this analysis allowed the identification of three distinct populations. Five selection mechanisms were measured: strategy, resource dependence, investment intensity, market share, and marketing intensity. These selection mechanisms were then tested to determine their contribution toward the explanation of firm performance. Through these analyses, it was found that more variance in organizational performance can be explained when studying populations, and that selection mechanisms have differential impact by population. Overall, the findings reported in this dissertation provide encouraging support for the theoretical concepts of the population perspective.