Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The double-edged sword: How the sociomaterial features of e-mail shape the dynamics of teacher work expectations and work actions
by Jordan, James E., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2014, 388; 3613990
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigated how the sociomaterial features of e-mail shaped the dynamics of teacher work expectations and work actions in one high school. Drawing on Greenhalgh and Stones' (2010) Strong Structuration Theory Incorporating a Technology Dimension, the study utilized Stones' (2005) Quadripartite Cycle of Structuration to make meaning from the data. The research site was a k-12 independent school in the Southeast United States. The network-in-focus was the high school and the agents-in-focus were high school teachers. Three administrators, all of whom taught at least one high school class, were also included in the sample. Data were collected primarily through interviews with the participants, supplemented by relevant documents, and a participant-generated e-mail communication log. Data were analyzed through a multi-step open coding process, as well as document analysis and analysis of the e-mail communication logs. The study's findings demonstrate that the sociomaterial features of e-mail played a significant role in shaping the dynamics of teachers' work expectations and work actions at Southeast. Teachers all utilized e-mail on a daily basis as both an efficiency and accountability device; however, some also appropriated it for task and work management purposes. Those teachers that used a smartphone in the execution of their jobs experienced feelings of increased availability, stress, and disruption to their work/home lives. There was a strong theme of accountability that was enabled--perhaps even encouraged--by uninhibited e-mail use. Finally, the research demonstrated that e-mail was at the center of how teachers understood their job(s) and what it meant to be "professional."

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ehrensal, Patricia A. L.
Commitee: Howard, Lionel C., Schwandt, David R.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, Education, Organization Theory
Keywords: Accountability, E-mail, Organizational communication, Smartphone, Strong structuration theory, Teacher professionalism
Publication Number: 3613990
ISBN: 978-1-303-78564-1
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