THE CONTRIBUTION OF ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE TO INNOVATION AND CHANGE IN SCHOOLS
Universidad de Deusto (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:This research is part of a major project involving teacher training in an innovative pedagogical and school management system, which was funded by the Directorate for Development Cooperation of the Basque Country, Spain. It was conducted in Uruguay, collaboratively by the University of Deusto (Spain), the Horreum Foundation (Spain) and the Catholic University of Uruguay from November 2008 to November 2010.
The main objective of this study was to analyze the level of contribution of the organizational culture to innovation and change perceived by teachers of forty schools in Uruguay. To accomplish this objective, a theoretical model containing eight key elements of the organizational culture is used, namely: collegiality, shared vision, shared planning, collaboration, teachers as learners, teacher effectiveness, stimulation and professional recognition, and transformational leadership.
The data obtained from questionnaires applied to teachers are quantitatively analyzed using descriptive, inferential and multivariate statistics as well as the construction of indicators for each element of the culture and an aggregated total. Data are analyzed first using the principal component analysis to validate the structure of the model and to create indicators for each element of the organizational culture. Indicator scores are then compared using inferential statistical techniques.
In this study, we state that the organizational culture is a relevant school element and a mainstream process that should be considered in planning due to its importance to innovation and change at the institutional and classroom levels, in methodological and pedagogical processes, and so on.
We also found that the level of contribution of the organizational culture to innovation and change, as perceived by teachers, is significantly influenced by a number of factors. For instance, when schools are compared according to geographical factors, two specific elements vary significantly. These are collaboration, which is higher in schools in the capital city, and collegiality, which is higher in schools of the interior.
Other hypotheses emerge when comparing the perceptions of teachers sorted by the level at which they teach. For example, elementary teachers perceive more openness to change than do secondary teachers in all dimensions except for “transformational leadership” and “collegiality”.
It was further determined that teachers’ perceptions are significantly influenced by their years of teaching experience. Therefore, those with greater experience were found to be more accepting of innovation and change.
Another important finding is that staff size is a relevant factor in organizational culture. Smaller schools tend to have a culture that is more favorable to change than larger schools. The most outstanding difference found in the data, however, is that it is not the smallest schools but rather the middle-sized schools that have a better perception of openness to change.
Finally, it was found that transformational leadership is the most important element for innovation and change in this model of organizational culture. A high level of transformational leadership promotes a sense of permanent support for generating and maintaining innovative processes, promotes commitment and a shared vision, ensures cooperation, collaboration and teamwork, provides autonomy and encourages professional development and stimulation for the implementation of new projects for teachers.
Keywords: Organizational Culture, Schools, Innovation and Change, Transformational Leadership, Uruguay, Education.