Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Dottie Morris


This research study explores the evolution of the battered women’s movement in the United States of America over its thirty-year history. My interest in this topic came from working in two different organizations representing this movement that have very different interpretations of how the work of serving battered women should be best conducted.

The central question that guided this inquiry was: How did “Milltown Battered Women’s Center” and “Family Violence Services of Old Port City” arrive at their current missions and methods? This comparative case study research was conducted through narrative interviews with current and former employees of both organizations, primary source document review from organizational archives, and field notes from my two years of research as a participant-observer. The method of data analysis used was categorical aggregation.

From this research I concluded that “Milltown Battered Women’s Center” was able to preserve the social change agenda of their organization through actively maintaining their exclusive identity as a feminist organization during every round of conflict or in a changing resource environment. “Family Violence Services” however, changed their identity to accommodate different rounds of conflict, and a changing resource environment. The findings of this study show that ideological unity among staff and volunteers of a battered women’s organization are a means for organizational effectiveness.


Organizational Behavior and Theory | Sociology