Journal of Educational Change

, 12:421

Contrasting perspectives on organizational culture change in schools


DOI: 10.1007/s10833-011-9166-x

Cite this article as:
Connolly, M., James, C. & Beales, B. J Educ Change (2011) 12: 421. doi:10.1007/s10833-011-9166-x


The concept of organizational culture continues to be widely used for descriptive and explanatory purposes in academic, policy, and managerial debates in education and other contexts. The range of perspectives on its meaning, which are readily apparent in both educational and non-educational literature, is directly relevant to the analysis of organizational culture change. This article contributes to organizational culture change theory in education by conceptualizing different perspectives on organizational culture—external reality, interpretation, organization, competing subcultures, and process. It then analyzes aspects of an 8-year culture change process in a school staff group using the different perspectives to illustrate their utility. In the paper, we describe the methodology, outline the case study, explain each perspective, and explore the culture change process from that perspective. The paper concludes with a discussion of the usefulness of the analysis for understanding and organizing culture change in educational settings.


Organizational cultureCulture changeSchoolsLeadershipEducational change

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GlamorganWalesUK
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of BathBathUK