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Mutual Adaptation in Action


by Leslie Santee Siskin — 2016

Building on an expanded concept of mutual adaptation, this article explores a distinctive and successful aspect of International Baccalaureate’s effort to scale up, as they moved to expand their programs and support services in Title I schools. Based on a three-year, mixed-methods study, it offers a case where we see not only local adaptations that schools made as they implemented IB (mutual adaptation in situ), but also a second level of adaptation. This reflects what we call mutual adaptation in action—as organizational learning took place on both sides. The designers incorporated what they learned from local implementations into the next iteration of their design, potentially strengthening not only the design, but also their capacity to go to scale. On the design side, adaptations include: (1) adapting to context and conditions, (2) reinforcing weak pillars and redesigning procedures, and (3) taking local adaptations to scale.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 118 Number 13, 2016, p. 1-18
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 20558, Date Accessed: 3/28/2017 1:51:50 PM

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About the Author
  • Leslie Siskin
    New York University
    E-mail Author
    LESLIE SANTEE SISKIN (PhD. Stanford) is a Research Professor at NYU/Steinhardt. She is a sociologist whose work focuses on organizational change and educational reform, particularly in urban high schools. Recent work includes The New Accountability (Routledge Press), studies of the International Baccalaureate in Title I schools, and most recently a national study of online/blended learning in day schools.
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