Reforming Faculty Work: Culture, Structure, and the Dilemma of Organizational Change
by Michael Paul Wong & William G. Tierney — 2001
The authors present findings from an ethnographic study of faculty work at the Charter School of Education at the California State University at Los Angeles (Cal. State L.A.). Much like the K-12 version of this innovation, this unique higher education organization is a school within a larger public state university that has created a charter relationship with the system chancellor and the university president that releases the school from most system and state requirements in return for increased performance. At the time of the writing of this article, Charter School of Education at Cal. State L.A. is the only higher education charter school in the nation.
This study addresses the dynamics of organizational change in higher education institutions, and whether chartering a higher education organization leads to increased faculty responsiveness and involvement in reform efforts. The authors present three themes that define the culture of the Charter School of Education, and discuss theoretical and practical implications for this reform. They suggest that the changes that matter are as much cultural in nature as they are structural, which in turn implies where change agents ought to focus their energies as they try to develop a more engaged, responsive faculty.
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