Journal of Educational Change

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 67–94 | Cite as

Examining organizational learning in schools: The role of psychological safety, experimentation, and leadership that reinforces learning

  • Monica HigginsEmail author
  • Ann Ishimaru
  • Rebecca Holcombe
  • Amy Fowler


This study draws upon theory and methods from the field of organizational behavior to examine organizational learning (OL) in the context of a large urban US school district. We build upon prior literature on OL from the field of organizational behavior to introduce and validate three subscales that assess key dimensions of organizational learning that build upon and extend prior education research: psychological safety, experimentation, and leadership that reinforces learning. Data from 941 teachers across 60 schools in this urban district suggest that organizational learning is an underlying condition which is expressed by teacher perceptions of subfactors of psychological safety, experimentation, and leadership that reinforces learning. Implications for adopting the conceptual framework and methods employed in this research for studying organizational learning and school change are discussed.


Organizational learning Psychological safety Experimentation Leadership School change Teacher perceptions Confirmatory factor analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica Higgins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ann Ishimaru
    • 1
  • Rebecca Holcombe
    • 1
  • Amy Fowler
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Graduate School of EducationCambridgeUSA

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