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ERIC Number: EJ821164
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Dec
Pages: 29
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-1570-0763
Facing Extinction: Organizational Learning in a Small Secondary School under Duress
Symons, Cam
Leadership and Policy in Schools, v4 n4 p281-309 Dec 2005
This study examined the process of organizational learning in a small secondary school in a company town during a protracted period of turbulence, arising from the downsizing of the community's main employer. The hypothesis was that distributed leadership among school staff created a change in teaching practices from a limited repertoire of instructional methods to greater methodological diversity, and from an ethic of "excellence for most" to "success for all learners." Semi-structured interviews with 22 participants representing staff, administrators, trustees, municipal officials, and community members garnered data which were sorted into units of analysis based on a conceptual framework which combined two models. The first was Leithwood's (2000) model of organizational learning in which a stimulus for learning engenders a set of organizational learning processes that leads to outcomes for the organization. Within the learning processes area of this model, the model of Crossan, Lane, and White (1999) was embedded. In this model, intuiting, interpreting, integrating, and institutionalizing were identified as the four stages of the organizational learning process. Contrary to expectations, the data suggested that this change in identity and theory-in-use was neither universal, nor solely the result of distributed leadership among staff. Rather, consistent and meaningful change among staff required the influence of central leadership. Moreover, it was found that certain variables were both unexpectedly and extraordinarily influential in this metamorphosis. The Ministry created large effects through a program of curricular renewal, through a "Schools of Choice" program, and through a threatened amalgamation of school districts. Community and student culture were strongly influential both in the direction of change and in the direction of stability at the same time. Leadership of different styles and from varied sources at different stages was also a significant factor. The study's results pointed to the value of the Crossan, Lane, and White model as a diagnostic tool for identifying the stage at which organizational learning falters. Leithwood's model was shown to be invaluable in bringing to light the manifold effects of organizational learning factors that may not otherwise have been recognized. (Contains 2 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada