Ontario teacher unions' confidence in postmodern society: a multiple case study
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AbstractWe live in a postmodern world, characterized by rapid dissemination of information through technology, the decline of the factory system, decentralized decision-making, and workplace intensification (Hargreaves, 1994). In such a context, so different from the modern industrial world, some question the relevance of unions (Verma & Kochan, 2004). In this thesis, I argue that unions-and teacher unions in particular-are not only relevant in this postmodern world, but crucial. As the world adapts to shifts in global power, immigration, work, and resource allocation (Canton, 2006; Friedman, 2007; Gratton, 2011; OECD, 2008; Quinlan, 2011), and as those shifts influence education (Toole & Seashore Louis, 2002), teacher unions are needed to meet both the traditional industrial and professional interests of their membership and also to address broader democratic and social justice issues affecting those within and beyond their membership. However, to meet those demands and to be viable organizations in today's postmodern world, teacher unions must be confident. This exploratory multiple case study, conducted in the Interpretive tradition, is based on Rosabeth Moss Kanter' s (2006) Theory of Confidence, which asserts that confident or winning organizations exhibit or promote accountability, collaboration, and initiative. The study sought to determine the extent to which the members of one teacher union in Ontario, Canada-the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA)-perceived their union as confident. Data were collected through observations; an examination of the documents on OECTA's website; and interviews with thirty OECTA members, including provincial executives, local executives, staff representatives, and rank-and-file members. The results of the study indicated that OECT A generally demonstrates accountability, collaboration, and initiative, and thus is a confident organization; however, like many organizations, it can improve in these areas in the short, mid, and long term.
Bibliography: p. 248-287
CitationBurton Spohn, R. T. (2012). Ontario teacher unions' confidence in postmodern society: a multiple case study (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/4977
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