Department

Organization Development

Date of Paper/Work

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organization Development (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Alla Heorhiadi, John Conbere, Karen Kozen-Lien

Abstract

The focus of this research was in the area of organization development and culture within the context of a rural, Minnesota, charter school. The methodology best suited for this work was ethnography; through observation and interviews, the levels of culture were defined including the outermost layer of tangible artifacts, the deeper layer of espoused beliefs and values, and the deepest, most tacit layer of basic underlying assumptions. The analysis of these layers utilized Schein’s culture model and another lens of Adizes corporate lifecycles model. Such a study is important in order to expand the limited body of ethnographic research within charter schools and continue the conversation about culture in education.

The findings from this research were intended to give a comprehensive look at the culture of North Shore Community School and how the groups of adults in the building made meaning of it. The school has been successful in nurturing its students and upholding its mission as a small, rural school that served its surrounding community. As the school has grown and drawn students and staff from a broader area, the changes have been aligned with their espoused beliefs and values, but challenge the tacit, basic assumptions of their culture. Change presents the excitement and hope for continuing their innovation and conversely raises concerns that the history and tradition that distinguishes them may change beyond recognition.

Keywords

charter schools, rural schools, school culture, ethnography, education, organization development

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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