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En flerstämmig kulturanalys: Om värden, värderingar och motiv i skolors vardagsarbete
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education, Department of Education.
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Polyphonic Reanalysis of School Cultures : A study on school stakeholders’ goals and values in their daily work (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to design and develop a polyphonic reanalysis instrument for analysis of school cultures, as a part of the efforts to understand and develop schools as organizations. The purpose of the new instrument is to achieve an extended possibility to highlight the values and motives underlying a school´s everyday work from the actors´ micro-oriented perspective. The concept of school culture refers to Gunnar Berg and his school development strategy of scope for action, which in turn can be understood as an empirically grounded development of Gerhard Arfwedson´s concept of school codex.  The new instrument is intended to complement these two existing and long-established analytical instruments.

School development is an ambiguous concept, open to different explanation and interpretation, depending on the choice of perspectives and approaches. Christopher Hodgkinson emphasizes the difficulty in conceptualizing a discussion of the motives and values held by members of an organization. It is all about subjective concepts, the meanings of which vary, depending on the situation and the context in which they are observed. A central issue in organizations is how to reconcile the organization’s nomothetic and idiographic aspirations and structures. In school organizations the problem can be understood as the dialectical interaction between institutional and organizational values. In order to provide the kind of empirical knowledge of school development that is called for, an analytical tool is required that can capture both individual and organizational and institutional aspects of the school's everyday work.

My empirical evidence is drawn from cultural analysis of schools in three municipalities and municipal districts. In the reanalysis, the emerging common features were lack of continuity in school leadership and the expectations of school leaders as educational leaders to participate more actively in the everyday work. The frequent changes of directors, was by many perceived as an inhibiting and counterproductive obstacle to sustainable school improvement. The results also showed significant differences in the schools' organizational structures of formal and informal decision-making.

Knowledge of the underlying patterns that affect the school's everyday work can probably be used to make the organization more transparent and malleable. The dialectical interplay between the organization and its nomothetic-idiographic aspirations differs from school to school. The driving forces in the members’ collective action clarify the relationship between the organization and its members' goals. In-depth knowledge of actors' behavior and attitudes in the context of this interaction increases the possibility of real school development on pedagogical terms to the pupils' benefit.

In conclusion: The polyphonic culture assay is still an underdeveloped area. Access to the polyphonic school culture will hopefully be the starting-point for the challenge to increase new and exciting empirical knowledge of the daily work at school.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet , 2011. , 201 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2011:62
Keyword [en]
polyphonic reanalysis, school culture, scope for action, nomothetic and idiographic interaction, institutional and organizational values
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-8839ISBN: 978-91-7063-401-7OAI: diva2:460287
Public defence
2012-01-19, Nyqvistsalen, 9C 203, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-12-14 Created: 2011-11-29 Last updated: 2011-12-21Bibliographically approved

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