Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining Organizational Bias
by Lockard, Andrea, Ed.D., Lewis and Clark College, 2018, 245; 10744391
Abstract (Summary)

This study examined a feature of organizations that, prior to this work had not been identified or defined: Organizational Bias. If an organization can learn, have an identity and memory, then an organization can hold bias. Organizational bias occurs when an organization’s culture, as defined and reproduced within its interactions with agents and actors, prevents actors from becoming agents by denying them the power required to change the organizational structure. This exclusionary aspect of bias creates a significant obstacle for educational institutions, many of whom define their missions as serving all students and providing a place that builds, supports, and serves community. Organizational ethnography was used as the methodology to examine organizational bias. Data were collected in a committee space designed to be inclusive of community members and other actor voices as they evaluated new high school course proposals. Data were comprised of the following: observations of all meetings, documents, such as correspondence between members and documents produced as a result of or that informed the committee’s work, and interviews with members. The data were analyzed using a combination of interactional analysis and axial coding. Findings illustrated that patterns of exclusion initiated through the institutional structure of talk constituted and reconstituted organizational bias. This structure created relevant opportunities for resource use (e.g., credit information), which agents were able to perform, but from which actors were excluded, that afforded them the agency to reconstitute the practical and tacit knowing of the organization, which then reproduced the initial structure. Implications for this work include a clearer understanding of how educational organizations hold bias, what patterns of interaction to examine, and how to interrupt the reconstitution of those practices to be more inclusive of actors in an effort to work more closely toward the defined mission.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Feldman, Sue
Commitee: Figueroa, Mark, Sloan, Tod
School: Lewis and Clark College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Organization Theory
Keywords: Agency, Bias, Organization, Organizational identity, Resources
Publication Number: 10744391
ISBN: 9780355762570
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