Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)



First Advisor

Dr. Lars Mathiassen

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Keil

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen Gibler


This in-depth exploratory case study examines the real estate decision-making processes in four small, charitable organizations through the lens of Actor Network Theory (ANT). While decision-makers in these cases followed logical pathways and criteria in searching for and evaluating alternatives, this investigation also found these processes were often lengthy, complex, bounded rational, and political. The analysis looked at the relative roles played by various internal and external actors (including influential non-human actors such as feasibility studies, renderings, budgets, and plans) and the resulting fragile, but acceptable outcomes. From the presented engaged scholarship, practical implications emerged that can aid nonprofit managers and their boards in their real estate decision-making processes. Lastly, in addition to helping understand the process of creating real estate decisions in the context of nonprofit organizations, the analysis demonstrates how ANT with its focus on how heterogeneous human and non-human actors interact and come together to act as a whole, can be a valuable framework in examining the socio-technical, political process of real estate decision-making.