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Title:Sacred Norms and Their Effect on Decision-Making: A Case Study of Riverside Elementary School District 96 During the Time Span, 1981-1991
Author(s):Varga, Robert W.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Merchant, Betty
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Abstract:This research study was designed to determine the plausibility of sacred norms of operation of a Board of Education. Specifically, the study focused on the influence of sacred norms on the decision making process. A sacred norm was defined as an activity or behavior which was not subject to change. Sacred norms were hypothesized in the areas of district finance, neighborhood school concept, curriculum, personnel, collective bargaining and board member selection.
A case study research design was used that relied solely upon qualitative methods, and data generated from field research. This study is a descriptive case study.
The setting for this case was Riverside Elementary School District 96, a small K-8 public school system in the suburban village of Riverside, Cook County, Illinois. The district has four K-5 attendance centers and one junior high school. Total district enrollment is 930 students. Traditional thinking and a conservative style of operation were the heart of Board of Education practice. A "perpetuating Board of Education" maintained the philosophy of operation. Closing an attendance center was discussed constantly, but no action occurred because, as verified by this study, a financial need could not be proven.
Data for this study were gathered from focused interviews with Presidents of the Board of Education, key administrators and select members of community agencies. In addition, data from Board of Education Minutes and financial records was used.
Conclusions which can be drawn from this study include the existence of sacred norms in the areas of district finance, neighborhood school concept, and the selection of board members. Each contributed to the decision making process of the Board of Education, and significantly influenced the operation of the school district. Perhaps the strongest conclusions which can be drawn from this study are: (a) the need for critical, ongoing Board-Superintendent relations building; and (b) the need to be cognizant of the existence of such norms prior to the acceptance of a new administrative position.
Issue Date:1994
Description:206 p.
Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9503340
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1994

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