NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED549892
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 306
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-2533-4
An Ethnographic Study of a Developing Virtual Organization in Education
Couch, Stephanie R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara
This ethnographic study answers calls for research into the ways that virtual organizations (or innovation-driven collaborative teams) form and develop, what supports and constraints their development, and the leadership models that support the organizations' work. The study examines how a virtual organization emerged from an intersegmental and interdisciplinary team in education brought together to conceptualize, develop and implement a statewide hybrid online English language arts and mathematics program for young adults in need of a high school diploma. Participants were dispersed geographically, but they functioned as a coherent unit with the aid of new technologies (or cyber infrastructure) in order to accomplish what no single participant could have accomplished in isolation. The ethnographic philosophy of inquiry and research methods adopted allowed for the discourse and interactions among participants to serve as a primary "lens" for examining the organization's development. As empirical data emerged from the study of who was doing/proposing what, with whom, for what purposes, under what conditions, and with what outcomes, theoretical frameworks were drawn upon from research traditions addressing culture within social groups (such as anthropology, sociology) and traditions examining organizational development, leadership, and the social construction of knowledge. The study of this telling case revealed that a leader's prior histories with participants allowed an innovative team to form in a short period of time, suggesting that there can be a lasting benefit to collaborative endeavors that end. The person who brought people together (one of many forms of leadership) to discuss the potential collaboration represented one of many leaders. The diverse knowledge and expertise participants brought to the team contributed to the team's work. Research and time invested early on to build common knowledge of the students to be served, the students' challenges, and to co-construct the program's design helped bring the diverse backgrounds and ways of working together to create common knowledge. The dynamic nature of emerging virtual organizations was made visible when factors that supported the team in its first six weeks later constrained the team. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High School Equivalency Programs; High Schools; Adult Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A