An examination of the idea of decision making consensus applied to educational innovations in four countries : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Education at Massey University

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Massey University
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This study sets out to make an examination of decision making with a particular emphasis on consensus in the process of innovation. Four countries provide the context - Indonesia, Malaysia, the Länd (State) of Nordrhein-Westfalen in the Federal Republic of Germany, and New Zealand. The study has two purposes. To examine; 1. The relationship between concordance between specific, but interdependent groups in each society and the nature of the innovation, and, 2. The degree of consensus among those same groups. The theoretical foundation is a simplified version of a Parsonian position, based on normative consensus within a social system. The data base was derived from three sources. The main source was; (a) A data gathering instrument called an innovation dossier which was completed by respondents in each of the countries studied, and who were closely involved with the innovations as part of a research project involving seven countries, which agreed to work together on the problem of educational innovation under the auspices of UNESCO's International Institute for Planning, IIEP, in Paris. An important source of background information was; (b) The working draft of a book to be published for the IIEP by UNESCO, edited by Raymond S. Adams and David Chen, entitled The Process of Educational Innovation: An International Perspective which gave valuable information and insights on the chosen innovations not available in the dossiers; (c) Certain relevant literature, Reports and Acts of Parliament concerning the countries studied. The method employed is 'case study' based and is intended to be both qualitative and illuminative. The emphasis is placed on description and analysis of consensus events occurring in the processes of each innovation and not on developing 'findings'. Certain broad trends, however, did become apparent among many other events which occurred within each innovation. For example: In all four innovations the people actually involved in carrying out the reform had no part in determining what the reform would be. Those who determined an innovation planned it, and, in two.cases legislated for it. The operation of the innovation was left in the hands of those excluded from determing what the solution would be. Decision making at Government, Ministry and Educator level was greater in frequency than decisions made by groups lower down the societal hierarchy. These, and many other insights yielded into problems encountered within each innovation, are presented as tentative conjectures on the function of consensus within the innovative process.
Educational innovation, Decision making, Educational innovation, Indonesia, Educational innovation, Malaysia, Educational innovation, Germany, Educational innovation, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Educational innovation, New Zealand