Realizing change in a Manitoba high school: a multi-lens perspective and integrative framework explaining the linkages among contexts, agents, and strategy

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Dowsett, Eric Samuel
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In September 2009, the Seven Oaks School Division (SOSD) in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada operating in accordance with an agreement it had signed with Big Picture Learning Inc. of Providence, Rhode Island opened a Met (Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center) school and housed it in an existing division high school. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the factors that supported the development of the design of this Met school. The analysis in this instrumental case study (Stake, 2006) used an adaptation of a multi-lens integrative framework (Rajagopalan & Spreitzer, 1997) to answer the following overarching research question – To what extent are the features of the SOSD Met school explained by factors in the environment of the collective leadership group that was assigned the task of developing the school, by factors in the secondary school where the Met school was hosted, and by the mindsets, interactions and actions of the four members of the collective leadership group? The study utilized elite interviewing methods (Dexter (1970) with nine individuals and an analysis (Neuendorf, 2002) of primary and secondary documents. The theoretical model as developed through the adapted Rajagopalan- Spreitzer Multiple-Lens Integrative Framework proved useful in identifying environmental and organizational factors that shaped cognitions, which lead to the actions of the principal and advisors of the collective leadership group. The study shows that the collective leadership group chose a design for the SOSD Met school that was rational in that it met the goals and constraints of major agents in the group’s environment, and that it reflected the cognitions and actions of the individual members of the group. More generally, the thesis adds to the literature of strategic organizational change.
change, management, model, organization, high school