Change and Effectiveness in Schools: A Cultural Perspective by Gretchen B. Rossman

By Gretchen B. Rossman

The search for greater colleges has might be by no means been tougher than it really is this present day. the following, the authors examine and examine that problem from the cultural point of view. Rossman, Corbett, and Firestone tested 3 excessive faculties in the middle of swap. academics and directors consented to supply the authors a yr in each one in their respective settings so as to comprehend higher their special approach of norms, ideals, and values in addition to to trace their reactions to occasions. the consequent observations and interviews demonstrate a wealthy and distinct photo of the efforts to deal with new regulations and practices in addition to the various resources of resistance to alter within the faculties. The checklist of the authors’ trips with those colleges offers educators, coverage makers, and researchers--all these drawn to institution switch and renewal in addition to employees improvement within the schools--with a greater figuring out of the advanced texture and which means of academic reform.

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One exception is that the cases all begin with a brief summary of the schools' contribution to the development of the six concluding statements listed above and explained more fully in chapter 5. This device is intended to orient the reader to the common themes underlying each of the rich, complex, and diverse stories. Chapter 5 elaborates each of the propositions about culture and its relationship to change. In addition, it engages in some speculation about the conditions under which behavioral change leads to cultural change.

What is the culture of an organization? The definition relied on in this study has two major facets. The first is that culture describes the way things are; it interprets events, behaviors, words, and actsand gives them meaning. The second facet is that culture also prescribes the way people should act; it normatively regulates appropriate and acceptable behaviors in given situations. Thus culture defines what is true and good. From a cultural perspective, organizational reality is viewed as pluralistic, subjective, and dynamic.

Historically, for example, new norms about who should be taughtfor example, all children rather than just those of the wealthyhave lead to changed beliefs about the nature of education, teaching, and subject matter that now undergird the comprehensive ideal of American secondary education. Often, however, the champions of such changes do not intend to instigate cultural change and may not have thought through the cultural implications of their actions. Innovators who sought to introduce program planning and budgeting systems (PPBS) to schools, for instance, did not always recognize how their systems undermined teacher autonomy in the name of financial accountability (Wolcott, 1977).

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