Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring Educational Leadership Practices of Collective Mindfulness and Organizational Conditions
by Alazemi, Fatema M., Ph.D., Washington State University, 2019, 152; 13859934
Abstract (Summary)

The challenge facing educational leadership is to create schools that have the capacity to react effectively and courageously, not only to current problems but also to new and emerging issues over time. This advocates for school leadership to be transformative toward ensuring pedagogical practices, deep learning environments, and more democratic participation in schools. Therefore, educational leaders need to consider the organizational approaches that transform systems and sustain improvement so that schools can develop deep learning for now and for tomorrow. This research examines the nature of leadership practices in approaching collective mindfulness of high reliability organizations (HRO) as described by Weick, Sutcliffe, and Obstfeld (1999). Using the qualitative method, data were collected during the 2018-2019 school year with five educational leaders in a Northwestern U.S. school district.

While collective mindfulness in organization is often difficult to process, this study offers a distinct story. Although it addresses the significance of collective mindfulness in attending to school operations, it also suggests some limitations in the theory as aligned with the school setting. Findings evidenced the kind of preoccupation with system efforts to reach goals, which is a hallmark of high reliability organization theory. Yet, this preoccupation does not evidence mindfulness across the district in coherent or consistent ways. Data suggested that the leadership practices of the research participants fell along a continuum of variations in the levels of leadership practice of collective mindfulness in schools. Additionally, the data showed mindful behaviors varied depending on the issues faced and the ways in which problems were defined.

Examination of study findings surfaced three synthetic themes. These themes were (1) attention solely to learning standards may limit broader organizational understanding(s) (2) classroom contexts matter; and (3) Data use is problematic in school. In general, defining and assessing student learning by depending solely and unthoughtfully on standards, procedures, and routines has the potential to hide problems and may cause further deterioration in the teaching learning process. Instead, leaders and teachers should uphold dynamic, continuous learning in order to create deep organizational understanding.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kruse, Sharon
Commitee: Lupinacci, John, McDonald, Teena
School: Washington State University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: DAI-A 81/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational administration
Keywords: collective mindfulness, continuous improvement, Educational Leadership, Professional Learning Commuity, Quality of educational orgnization, transformative leadership
Publication Number: 13859934
ISBN: 9781687972934
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