ERIC Number: ED535025
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Decision-Making: A Comparative Case Study "Should We or Shouldn't We" Undertake a Reinvented Accreditation System?
Nicolet, Diane M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Nevada, Reno
Early childhood education (ECE) administrators seeking to demonstrate quality programming consider undertaking the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation system. In 2006, NAEYC reinvented the accreditation system. The new system consisted of 10 standards and 417 criteria. In particular, ECE program administrators aligned with institutions of higher education began to ask a question, "should we" or "shouldn't we," undertake the reinvented system? The purpose of this study was to reveal the decision-making process experienced by the participants from two ECE programs. Both programs were affiliated with institutions of higher education, but in different American cities. Each program was specifically chosen because of the opposite decisions. A "yes" decision was reached by participants from one program; while a "no" decision was reached by participants from the other program. Qualitative in nature, this study utilized instrumental comparative case study methods in order to discover the influencing factors that contributed to each organization's final decision. Three data sources were incorporated as a strategy for collecting corroborative evidence: person-to-person interviews of key players, review of relevant program documents, and on-site observations. Initially data from each program were analyzed as separate sources, followed by systematically comparing and contrasting data for similar and differing categories. Analysis revealed three salient themes with distinctive properties: higher duty of the profession, external validation, and tensions within the process. The study identifies unique turning points that appeared to be situational to each program and that ultimately influenced the final decisions. Interview data revealed that participants believed in a professional obligation to model best practice and that they valued NAEYC's "gold standard" for ECE accreditation. Tensions surrounding the reinvented NAEYC Accreditation system emerged as concerns for philosophical disconnect and redundancy related to the reinvented criteria. The study discusses specific decision making strategies as identified by Harris (1998) and Mintzberg, Raisinghani, and Theoet (1976). Hegel's dialectic (Kojeve, 1969) provided a lens for exploring the participants' notions that were integral to the decision-making process. Symbolic lnteractionism (Blumer, 1969) provided a theoretical framework for the discovery of the objects that held meaning for the participants. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
Descriptors: Decision Making, Comparative Analysis, Case Studies, Accreditation (Institutions), Early Childhood Education, Qualitative Research, Interviews, Observation, Content Analysis, Administrators, College Programs, Standards, Evaluation Criteria, Educational Quality, Organizational Change
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A