The Change Delineator Theory: a Test With a Case Study of an Innovation in School-Community Relations
Lensch, John E.
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The Change Delineator Theory, a theory of change developed by the researcher, is proposed and tested for validity against an identified case of change. In the theory's propositions, the researcher describes the roles individuals play in the process of change and reform, and suggests how these roles may also impact the process of change as it occurs on organizational and societal levels. By proposing this perspective on the process of change, it is the intent of the researcher to assist leaders in schools and other organizations in becoming more knowledgeable about the phenomenon of change as it affects individuals, organizations, and societies. The Change Delineator Theory may also provide leaders with additional insights that could be useful in determining whether their organizations' policies, practices, and structures support or discourage change processes. In Change Delineator Theory, the researcher proposes that all persons involved in the process of change think and consequently behave in one of four primary modes called conceptual domains. These domains are: Creators, Translators, Innovators, and Practitioners. All persons have within them, to one degree or another, these four capacities. The environment in which an individual is functioning determines to a large degree which of these four domains will manifest itself at any given time. The four conceptual domains may also be used to describe how change tends to occur on organizational or societal levels. The researcher suggests that leaders have the power to establish organizational structures that support change by enabling persons in their schools or organizations to act more frequently out of their creator and innovator domains, or conversely, that hinder these activities through use of autocratic leadership styles or those that support maintenance of the status quo. The theory is tested by applying its propositions to an identified case of change in school-community relations known as the Computing Seniors Program. A case study approach is utilized to determine whether or not the theory has any validity when used to describe the roles people played in this case of change.
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