Journal of Educational Change

, 12:421

Contrasting perspectives on organizational culture change in schools

Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Organizational culture Culture change Schools Leadership Educational change 

References

  1. Allaire, Y., & Firsirotu, M. E. (1984). Theories of organisation culture. Organisation Studies, 5, 193–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altheide, D. L., & Johnson, J. M. (1994). Criteria for assessing interpretive validity in qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 485–499). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Alvesson, M. (1993). Organizations as rhetoric: Knowledge-intensive firms and the struggle with ambiguity. Journal of Management Studies, 30(6), 997–1015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alvesson, M. (2002). Understanding organizational culture. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  5. Aubrey-Hopkins, J., & James, C. R. (2002). Improving practice in subject departments: The experience of secondary school subject leaders in Wales. School Leadership and Management, 22, 305–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barth, R. (2002). The culture builder. Educational Leadership, 59, 6–11.Google Scholar
  7. Bate, P. (1994). Strategies for cultural change. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  8. Bates, R. (1987). Corporate culture, schooling and educational administration. Educational Administration Quarterly, 23, 70–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beales, W. E. (2006). Transforming leadership: A case study of the dynamic nature of educational leadership and school development. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, UK.Google Scholar
  10. Bell, J. (2002). Questionnaires. In M. Coleman & A. Briggs (Eds.), Research methods in educational leadership and management (pp. 224–236). London: Paul Chapman Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. Beugelsdijk, S., Koen, C., & Norderhaven, N. (2006). Organisational culture and relationship skills. Organization Studies, 26, 833–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bogdan, R., & Biklen, S. (1992). Qualitative research for education (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  13. Broadbent, J., & Laughlin, R. (2002). Public service professionals and the new public management: Control of the professions in the public services. In K. McLaughlin, S. Osborne, & E. Ferlie (Eds.), New public management: Current trends and future prospects (pp. 95–108). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Brown, A. (1998). Organisational culture (2nd ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited.Google Scholar
  15. Cameron, K., & Quinn, R. (1999). Diagnosing and changing organisational culture. London: Addison Wesley.Google Scholar
  16. Chia, R. (1996). Organizational analysis as deconstructive practice. New York: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  17. Cohen, A. (1974). Two dimensional man: An essay on the anthropology of power and symbolism in complex society. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  18. Connolly, M., & James, C. (2009). An analysis of the relationship between the organisational culture and performance of staff work groups in schools and the development of an explanatory model. The International Journal of Leadership in Education, 12, 389–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Curry, G., Boyet, I., & Sumhinilova, O. (2005). Transformational leadership within secondary schools in England: A panacea for organisational ills. Public Administration, 83, 265–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Davis, S. (1984). Managing corporate culture. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.Google Scholar
  21. Deal, T., & Kennedy, A. (1982). Corporate cultures. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  22. Deal, T., & Kennedy, A. (1983). Culture and school performance. Educational Leadership, 40, 14–16.Google Scholar
  23. Denzin, N. (1978). The research act: A theoretical introduction to sociological methods. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  24. Farrell, C., & Law, J. (1999). Changing forms of accountability in education? A case study of LEAs in Wales. Public Administration, 77(2), 293–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Firestone, W., & Louis, K. (1999). Schools as cultures. In J. Murphy & K. Louis (Eds.), The handbook of research on educational administration (pp. 297–322). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  26. Friedman, A., Galligan, H., Albano, C., & O’Connor, K. (2009). Teacher subcultures of democratic practice amidst the oppression of educational reform. Journal of Educational Change, 10, 249–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frost, P., Moore, L., Louis, M., Lundberg, C., & Martin, J. (1985). Organisational culture. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  28. Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change: Being effective in complex times. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  29. Fullan, M. (2006). Turnaround leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  30. Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  31. Guba, E., & Lincoln, Y. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 105–107). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  32. Hannay, L., Ross, J., & Seller, W. (2005). Clashing cultures, clashing paradigms: Lessons from district research on secondary school restructuring. Journal of Educational Change, 6, 7–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hatch, M. (2004). Dynamics in organizational culture. In M. Poole & A. Van de Ven (Eds.), Handbook of organizational change and innovation (pp. 190–211). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Inglis, T. (2008). Global Ireland: Same difference. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. James, C., Connolly, M., Dunning, G., & Elliott, T. (2006). How very effective primary schools work. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  36. Jeffcutt, P. (1994). From interpretation to representation in organisational analysis: Postmodernism, ethnography and organizational symbolism. Organization Studies, 15, 241–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jermier, J., Slocum, J., Fry, L., & Gaines, J. (1991). Organizational subcultures in a soft bureaucracy: Resistance behind the myth and façade of an official culture. Organizational Science, 2, 170–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jung, T., Scott, T., Davies, H., Bower, P., Whalley, D., McNally, R., et al. (2009). Instruments for exploring organizational culture: A review of the literature. Public Administration Review, 69(6), 1087–1096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kunda, G. (1992). Engineering culture: Control and commitment in a high-tech corporation. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Leithwood, K., Jantzi, D., & Steinback, R. (1999). Changing leadership for changing times. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics. Human Relations, 1, 5–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Martin, J. (2002). Organizational culture: Mapping the terrain. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  43. McCarthy, E. (1996). Knowledge as culture: The new sociology of knowledge. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Mead, G. (1932). The philosophy of the present. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  45. Medhurst, B. W. (2006). Inspection under section 10 of the schools inspections act 1996: Cwmcarn High School. Cardiff, UK: Estyn. Retrieved from http://estyn.org.uk/inspection_reports/Cwmcarn_High_Sec_06.pdf.
  46. Mills, T., Boylstein, C., & Lorean, S. (2001). Doing organizational culture in the Saturn Corporation. Organization Studies, 22, 117–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Morgan, G. (1988). Images of organisation. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  48. Northouse, P. (2007). Leadership: Theory and practice. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  49. Ouchi, W. (1981). Theory Z. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  50. Parker, M. (2000). Organizational culture and identity. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  51. Platt, J. (1981). Evidence and proof in documentary research: Some specific problems of documentary research. Sociology Review, 29, 31–52.Google Scholar
  52. Pye, A. (2005). Leadership and organising: Sense-making in action. Leadership, 1, 31–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Riad, S. (2005). The power of ‘organisational culture’ as a discursive formation on merger integration. Organizational Studies, 26, 1529–1554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Riley, P. (1983). Structurationist account of political culture. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28, 414–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rodriques, S. (2006). The political dynamics of organizational culture in an institutional environment. Organization Studies, 27, 537–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sammons, P. (1999). School effectiveness coming of age in the 21st century. London: Swets and Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  57. Schein, E. (1992). Organizational cultures and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  58. Shachar, H., Suss, G., & Shlomo, S. (2010). Changing organizational culture and instructional methods in elementary schools: Perceptions of teachers and professional educational consultants. Journal of Educational Change, 11(3), 273–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Smircich, L. (1983). Concepts of culture and organisational analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28, 339–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stake, R. (1994). The art of case study research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 236–247). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  61. Stoll, L. (1999). Realising our potential: Understanding and developing capacity for lasting improvement. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 10, 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Stoll, L. (2009). Capacity building for school improvement or creating capacity for learning? A changing landscape. Journal of Educational Change, 10, 115–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Stoll, L., & Bolam, R. (2005). Developing leadership for learning communities. In M. Coles & G. Southworth (Eds.), Developing leadership: Creating the schools of tomorrow (pp. 50–64). Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Sztompka, P. (1994). Society as social becoming: Beyond individualism and collectivism. In P. Sztompka (Ed.), Agency and social structure: Reorienting social structure (pp. 251–282). Yverdon, Switzerland: Gordon and Breach.Google Scholar
  65. Tjosvold, D., & Wisse, B. (2009). Power and interdependence in organizations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wilson, N., & McLean, S. (1994). Questionnaire design: A practical introduction. Newtonabbey, UK: University of Ulster Press.Google Scholar
  67. Yukl, G. (2006). Leadership in organizations (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations