Effectiveness in changing a primary school's culture : a case study : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Educational Administration at Massey University
Change has been a constant feature of contemporary educational organisations since 1989 and the instituting of Tomorrow's Schools. However, knowing that change is required is one thing, achieving 'real change' is quite another. Contemporary educational writers and researchers strongly suggest that an organisation's culture, effectiveness, improvements and leadership are the major, interconnected, concepts that enable an organisation - whether it be educational or a corporate business - to initiate, manage, maintain and monitor real change. This research study, using ethnographic approaches of participant observation, interviews and document collection, attempted to view an educational organisation in the throes of re-establishing itself from an 'historical culture', to a more 'contemporary culture'. The research indicated, by comparing historical and present ways of doing things, that organisational concepts - culture, effectiveness, improvement and leadership - were interpreted in different ways to produce quite contrasting sets of beliefs and assumptions, norms and expectations. The research also highlighted the fact that leadership was at the 'heart' in influencing the way/s in which - both historically and in the present - culture, effectiveness and improvements were to be implemented and shaped. This research concluded that the concept of organisational culture (as an umbrella for defining how things are done, effectiveness, improvements and leadership) was useful in developing an understanding of what creates real change in an organisation. This research study, in adding to current debate and research, implies that, in identifying beliefs and assumptions, norms and expectations, an environment could be prudently positioned to design and change systems, rather than merely to identify systems that are possibly inadequate to meet contemporary educational (or other) challenges.