ERIC Number: ED274064
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Using Rites to Change the Culture of a Principal's Council.
Conway, James A.
Some organizational activities can be understood in anthropological terms as "rites" affecting and reinforcing the organizational culture. Six specific rites are described and a case study is reported in which a change in a school committee's culture was attempted through a change in its rites. The first three rites examined relate to the individual's role and status in the organization: the rite of passage, focusing on acceptance of new individuals; the rite of enhancement, recognizing individuals' contributions; and the rite of degradation, reducing individuals' social positions in response to infractions. The other three rites reviewed serve as social glue uniting the organization's members: rites of integration, in which social distinctions are set aside to encourage group identity; rites of conflict reduction; and rites of renewal, such as staff development workshops. Such a workshop, conducted to improve relationships within a committee formed of school principals and central office administrators, provided an opportunity to change organizational culture. The committee members made a concerted effort to trust one another enough to allow concerns and criticisms to be brought into the open. The result, illustrated in terms of changes in the committee's rites, was distinct improvement in morale and communication. (PGD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, San Francisco, CA, April 16-20, 1986).