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Constructive Conflict: How Controversy Can Contribute to School Improvement


by Cynthia Uline, Megan Tschannen-Moran & Lynne Perez — 2003

Conflict, though often unsettling, is a natural part of collective human experience. It can leave participants ill at ease, so it is often avoided and suppressed. Yet conflict, when well managed, breathes life and energy into relationships and can cause individuals to be more innovative and productive. Conflict is present within our schools whether we like it or not. Educators must find ways to legitimize critique and controversy within organizational life. This article examines constructive conflict within the context of a comprehensive Midwestern high school engaged in significant reform efforts. Here conflict is employed as a means to promote individual and organizational learning and growth.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 5, 2003, p. 782-816
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11137, Date Accessed: 12/14/2017 7:50:30 PM

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About the Author
  • Cynthia Uline
    The Ohio State University
    E-mail Author
    CYNTHIA L. ULINE is an associate professor in the School of Educational Policy and Leadership at the Ohio State University. Her current research focuses on school improvement, school leadership, and ethics in educational decision making. One of her recent articles, ‘‘The Alleged Demise of Science: A Critical Inquest,’’ coauthored with Donald J. Willower, was chosen as the Outstanding Paper of 2001 by the Journal of Educational Administration.
  • Megan Tschannen-Moran
    The College of William and Mary
    E-mail Author
    MEGAN TSCHANNEN-MORAN is an assistant professor in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership at the College of William and Mary. Her research interests focus on the social psychology of schools, especially trust, teachers’ and principals’ sense of efficacy, and school climate. Her work on trust and teachers’ sense of efficacy has appeared in the Review of Educational Research.
  • Lynne Perez
    The Ohio State University
    E-mail Author
    LYNNE PEREZ is a visiting assistant professor at The Ohio State University. Her research interests are administrative problem solving and organizational learning. Currently in press with the Journal of Educational Administration is a manuscript she coauthored with Cynthia Uline, titled ‘‘Administrative Problem Solving in the Information Age: Creating Technological Capacity.’’
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