Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2015

Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name



Business, Accounting, & Economics


Michael A. Levin, PhD

First Committee Member

Michael A. Levin, PhD

Second Committee Member

Kate Lehman, PhD


Motivations, Identity salience, Withdrawal, Financial orientation, Prediction, University, Higher Education

Subject Categories

Applied Behavior Analysis | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Strategic Management Policy


Broadly, this research examines a student’s likelihood to withdraw from a university based on the relationship between motivations, financial orientation, and identity salience. Specifically, this study empirically examines the relationship between extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation, and apathetic motivation, perceived opportunity loss and lifestyle activities related to financial orientation, and satisfaction and reciprocity related to identity salience, as predictors of a student’s likelihood of withdrawing from a university.

A questionnaire was designed by extending scale items related to the constructs of interest. First-year students at a private university located in the upper Midwest were sampled. A hypothesized model was tested using partial least squares regression. Consistent with theory, four of the eight hypothesized paths are statistically significant.

Four research questions were analyzed using multigroup analysis. Differences in relationships are shown for gender, major, college GPA and ACT score.

Conclusions provide more insight on understanding what drives undergraduate students’ likelihood to withdraw. Higher education administrators could create different programs, services, or strategies that accommodate to the needs of students’ at various levels of motivation, financial orientation, and identity salience. Limitations of this research include measuring a student’s likelihood to withdraw rather than a student actually withdrawing. Additionally, an R2 value of 50% which means the model is missing variables. With this said, directions for future research should involve tracking who changes in motivations, financials, and identity salience as well as analyzing who actually withdrew versus the likelihood that they would withdraw.

Quinn Distinction Survey.pdf (118 kB)
Appendix A Survey