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The purpose of this study was to examine the little-known phenomenon of organizational birth, growth and development through the analysis of a microcosm organization: the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. The study was not a history, although constructing a history of the organization was necessary in order to provide a base line upon which to plot impact points which were significant to the development of the organization. The study involved an analysis of written material, including legislation directly or indirectly impacting upon the organizational subject of this study. The major method of this study, however, required in-depth interviews with the principals involved in the birth, growth and development of the organization. Because the interview subjects were sophisticated and knowledgeable, not only about the topic but also in terms of interview techniques, and because of the "politically sensitive" nature of the information, it was necessary to develop interview techniques applicable to the subjects and to develop a validation system to deal with "dross" in its many manifestations. The result of the study was the tracing of the evolution of the organization from its origin (as the Kanawha Valley Graduate Center of Science and Engineering in 1958) brought about as a result of the efforts of the powerful chemical industry in order to obtain a source of upgrading for scientists and engineers employed in the Kanawha Valley (the "Chemical Valley") in West Virginia during the mid-1950's. Creation of the graduate center at that time required legislative changes and subtle coercion on several fronts, but was accomplished with relative ease by the committee established by the chemical concerns to act on their behalf. In 1967, the Kanawha Valley Graduate Center (through more legislation) emerged with a broader mission, and with a legislative appropriation which enabled the organizational structure to solidify. It was, however, as a result of the creation of the West Virginia Board of Regents and the subsequent selection of a Chancellor to govern statewide higher education that the organization emerged as an independent institution: the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. As a "creature of the board" the new institution enjoyed certain protections which enabled it to survive the critical first years and to define itself as an organization. The study ends with the accreditation of the institution, as an independent graduate school, by a national accrediting agency. From a theoretical perspective, the study concludes that the phenomenon of organizational birth, growth and development involved: the interplay of favorable environmental conditions and environmental demand factors from within the organization; the thrust of the organization to define its own organizational space; the manifestation of entrepreneurship; and the organizational dynamic of institutionalization.