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ERIC Number: ED560319
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 146
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-7517-0
Making a Good Match: How Schools and External Service Providers Negotiate Needs and Services in Support of School Improvement
Vixie Sandy, Mary
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
This study investigated a problem facing policy makers, education leaders, and external providers of service that support or facilitate school-based change designed to improve teaching and learning: How to match school needs with providers' services in ways that maximize school improvement. A growing number of organizations provide service to schools, and considerable amounts of money set aside by state and national policy makers to facilitate school improvement. Despite escalating pressures for performance and the availability of both funding and external expertise, more and more schools and districts across the country are failing to meet expectations and experiencing an array of sanctions. Although research on the role of intermediary organizations is growing in some areas, lack of attention to the match between partners during the formation of working relationships warranted this inquiry. This was a comparative case study focused on two partnerships that were at the beginning of the negotiation and contracting process, and drew from both the education and the management literature to frame the investigation. Each partnership was intended to focus on improving student performance on standardized tests. The relationship most critical to the success or failure of a match existed between the principal and the external provider. Early congruence between these two key players overcame lack of teacher buy-in over time in one case, and lack of early congruence between these two undermined the match in the other. The communication strategy during early negotiations enabled or impeded the development congruent understanding about the nature of the work to be undertaken. The level of early congruence between principal and provider regarding the problem they were going to work on, and how they would assign and enact their different leadership roles, was associated with later-stage progress and perceived satisfaction with the match. Finally, school-level (versus district) control over school improvement decisions, efforts to place the initiative in the context of a coherent school improvement plan, and willingness to adapt the initiative to prevailing school conditions were the aspects of context most relevant to match formation. The findings have implications for school leaders and external providers seeking to foster more productive relationships in the service of school improvement. [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: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A