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Title:A naturalistic examination of successful change in junior high schools
Author(s):Voris, James Kirkham
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Education, Secondary
Abstract:Having successfully orchestrated a substantial change in his own junior high school, the author went to the literature on change in educational organizations for insight into the change process. The literature, though quite pessimistic about change in schools, did offer a kind of classic change implementation model. The model paralleled quite accurately the pattern of implementation followed by the administrator in his school, though he had employed a mere "common-sensical" approach. The problems presented themselves clearly: if the appropriate approach to the implementation of change in a school setting is so pedestrian, why is it that the literature is so pessimistic, and why do so many change attempts apparently meet with failure? And conversely, why was this change attempt, and other similar change experiences, successful?
A qualitative approach to the problem seemed most appropriate, and within that paradigm a grounded theory strategy was chosen. Representative staff members from three middle schools which had gone through a common successful change process (the adoption of academic teams) were interviewed in free form and structured style. From the resulting 60 interviews, the hypothesis emerged that, perhaps, most innovations in education lacked the necessary motivators to entice teachers, the true arbiters of change, to fully accept the innovation. The interview data were consequently compared to Maslow's (1970) Needs Hierarchy model, and the results of that comparison were shared with the staffs. Another round of interviews with the teachers/administrators of the three schools lent support to the notion of necessity of attention to the psychological needs of teachers, as outlined by Maslow, and, to a lesser extent, to those of their students on the part of change agents. The study suggests, then, that those innovations and change processes which to some degree help satisfy the basic psychological needs of teachers have greatly enhanced changes of success. It appears that the degree of psychological satisfaction inherent to the nature of a change itself is much more elusive than is the more common-sensical classic model for change orchestration.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Voris, James Kirkham
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9011064
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9011064

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