Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How educational leaders learn to develop strategy for their institution: A case study
by VanDenBerghe, Claire L., Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2010, 189; 3425020
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this research study was to acquire greater insight into how educational leaders learn to develop strategies for their institution. Through a better understanding of the process by which such learning occurs, the researcher sought to uncover the factors that facilitate or impede these learning opportunities, particularly with regard to the informal aspect of learning. The following three research questions guided the study: What learning strategies are employed by educational leaders involved in a formal strategic planning effort? How did they learn these strategies? What factors facilitated or impeded their learning?

The study was an interpretive case study consisting of in-depth interviews with a team of educational leaders involved in a formal strategic planning process in a large community college setting. Data collection methods included document analysis, personal data forms, and in-depth interviews. The researcher examined the learning strategies the leaders used when developing strategy for their institution and how they learned these strategies, with regard to context, intent, and learning process.

The qualitative data analysis revealed the following five core findings: (1) Strategic Planning = Culture Change; (2) Strategic Thinking is an On-going 24/7, 365 day Mindset; (3) Reciprocal Relationship Between Strategic Thinking and Planning; (4) Working With and Through Others; and (5) Factors That Impacted Learning.

The findings confirmed that past experience with strategic planning may be a predictor of future success. Leaders who can use reflective processes to connect a past experience to a future challenge—those who learn from their experiences—are likely to be successful at developing strategy. The findings also determined that the most valuable aspect of this strategic planning process came from the collaborative framework it provided for facilitating the natural emergence of new ideas by encouraging ongoing strategic conversations, creating opportunities for new voices and ideas to be heard, and developing an organizational atmosphere open to new perspectives and experimentation. Recommendations were offered to facilitate the informal learning aspect of strategy development within organizations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yorks, Lyle
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Adult education, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Educational leaders, Informal learning, Strategic planning
Publication Number: 3425020
ISBN: 978-1-124-25394-7
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