A case study of listening to educators

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In British Columbia, the matter of effectiveness has been a particularly powerful concern, as demands for a higher quality education system were expressed during the late 1980s and early 1990s, a time of extended conflict in the realm of public education. Difficulty in meeting these demands made school district administrative personnel, that is, those who were directly accountable to their respective School Boards and communities, especially vulnerable to public scrutiny and criticism. As a consequence, school district administrators needed to probe the views of their stakeholders to find ways to improve the nature of work life, that is, to develop and maintain an organisational culture conducive to an effective administrative process. But the problem was that there was no practical means of inquiring into overall school district effectiveness through stakeholder participatory input. In response, the purpose of this thesis was to explore a practical-collaborative approach to study the general administrative effectiveness of a school district. To accomplish this task, it was necessary to research the symbiotic relationship between the organisational culture and the administrative process. And a fundamental conclusion that can be drawn from this thesis for future research is that culture cannot be separated from the institutions and processes that are incorporated into the administrative process. This thesis argues that organisational culture embodies prior negotiations and accommodations made by stakeholders, and by defining the realm of preferred norms it thereby ties the administrative process to the future. The rationale for the interpretive approach taken in this thesis emerged from a challenge to the assumption of potential availability of complete information. The interpretive approach challenged the assumption of determinacy, and instead pointed to the fundamental indeterminacy of social knowledge. But at the same time, in a practical manner this thesis recognised the goal-oriented activities of the administrative process, which are based on the belief that more informed decisions are better decisions. Evidence of indeterminacy and of attempts to come to better informed decisions existed in a dynamic tension. Therefore, the practical-collaborative framework carried out in this thesis followed a way of thinking about administration that was both interpretive and reflexive. As this thesis accomplished the purpose of providing formative feedback for improved operational, curricular, and instructional policies and practices in the school district, an argument supporting a practical-collaborative approach for inquiring into school district effectiveness was made. As this thesis reported, school district effectiveness could be determined in a manner acceptable to the stakeholders of the school district that it served, for the evolutionary nature of this research served in the development of long-range plans for school district improvement and overall effectiveness.
Bibliography: p. 264-288.
Murray, D. W. (1996). A case study of listening to educators (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/21055