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From Isolation to Collaboration: The Emergence of a Collaborative Culture in a Middle School

Gabauer, Timothy M. (2005) From Isolation to Collaboration: The Emergence of a Collaborative Culture in a Middle School. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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FROM ISOLATION TO COLLABORATION:THE EMERGENCE OF A COLLABORATIVE CULTURE IN A MIDDLE SCHOOLTimothy M. Gabauer, Ed.D.University of Pittsburgh, 2005Advisor: Joseph S. WerlinichThe landscape of American education is constantly changing. The most current trend that is dominating the field is accountability that resonates throughout the entire organization. Accountability becomes one of the six "change indicators" that provide the framework for the study. This study recognizes a middle school that has seen success in changing from what Richard Elmore defines as a "default culture" to one that supports collaboration and a focus on student achievement. The foundation of this study is to analyze the change indicators and to determine their influence on moving the culture of the middle school out of its "crisis" and into its more productive realm. The indicators identified as positive contributors to the cultural transformation are Staff Changes, Accountability Measures, Renovations, Middle School Merger, Leadership and Educational Programming. The use of qualitative research and the semi-structured interviewing process known as Responsive Interview Model highlight the inner most thoughts and feelings relating to the dissertation question. The interview data was analyzed by organizing the responses into unanimous, supported and individual themes. A survey derived from the probing questions along with a rank order of the indicators provided a triangulation of data that validates the overwhelming results of the study. The value of the leadership is underscored in each data collection and becomes the primary influence in moving the building culture forward. Palestini's "principles of effective leaders" is the framework chosen in the final chapter to highlight the importance of leadership in cultural change as well as depict the strong relationship between the collected data and those identified principles. This study shows a positive correlation of each indicator in the cultural change and supports the abundant research on the role of the leadership as most critical in promoting effective change in any organization.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gabauer, Timothy,
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWerlinich, Joseph
Committee MemberGraf, Ottoograf@pitt.eduOGRAF
Committee MemberSeckinger,
Committee MemberHughes, Seanshughes@pitt.eduSHUGHES
Committee MemberGolofski, Shirley
Committee MemberGoodwin, Suesgoodwin@pitt.eduSGOODWIN
Date: 9 August 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 2 June 2005
Approval Date: 9 August 2005
Submission Date: 5 August 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: change; change indicators; collaboration; culture; mckeesport; middle school
Other ID:, etd-08052005-143300
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:57
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48


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