Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Elementary School Consolidation and Reconfiguration: An Autoethnographic Case Study
by Winer, Ellen J., Ed.D., Northcentral University, 2010, 153; 3436600
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study was designed to examine the processes and practices that occurred before, during and after consolidation of the four elementary schools in the Great Local School district with the goal of developing a conceptual framework to be utilized by school districts that plan on implementing a school consolidation or reconfiguration. Without literature to provide a direction, this study focused on the problem of determining the critical components in a successful school consolidation. The components focused on included organizational change, significance of culture, and the roles of leadership. The theoretical framework for this study, which is rooted in social constructivism, is based upon Edgar Schein and Kurt Lewin's work on the psychology of change and change theory, as well Etienne Wenger's work focused on social learning theory. Autoethnography as a research method combined analysis and interpretation of the various cultures in this study with narrative details. Triangulated data presented included documentation, archival records and transcriptions from one individual and six focus group interviews. Participants in this study included 32 stakeholders who had been members of the four elementary school cultures for a minimum of five years and continued to be members of the new school culture. Additionally, one individual interview with a key informant provided depth and richness to the data that told the story of the consolidation process. Data from interviews, documentation and archival records were coded for themes and patterns. Results indicated that a successful consolidation begins one year prior to consolidation with a clear plan and involves identified stakeholders in establishing collaborative communities of practice focused on student learning. Strong leadership in all stakeholder groups proved necessary in facilitating the communities of practice through the stages of organizational change to create a new organizational culture. Recommendations for further study include: (a) replication of this study, (b) studying components other than the three in this study could prove to be critical, (c) interviews should be conducted by someone other than the researcher who was the principal of the school in this study, and (d) focusing on additional leadership roles could positively impact a consolidation and reconfiguration.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Shultz, Robert F.
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Educational leadership, Elementary education, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Communities of learners, Cultural change, Leadership, Organizational change, Reconfiguration, School consolidation
Publication Number: 3436600
ISBN: 978-1-124-36204-5
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