A descriptive study of the nature of shared decision making in terms of context and outcomes in selected elementary schools in a large suburban Virginia public school system
Bertrand, Sheila Ellen
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This study was undertaken to produce a "snapshot" description of shared decision making in elementary schools in a large suburban public school system in Virginia; to identify schools for participation in indepth studies; and to provide examples and information to others who may wish to engage in shared decision making. The research questions guiding the study were: How do elementary school principals perceive shared decision making in their schools? How do principals, teachers on the decision-making team, and teachers not currently serving on the decision-making team in selected schools perceive participation in shared decision making relative to context (a. structure, b. purpose, c. function, d. training, and e. obstacles) and outcomes (a. teacher satisfaction, and b. organizational effectiveness)? What similarities and/or differences in participation in shared decision making relative to context (a. structure, b. purpose, c. function, d. training, and e. obstacles) and outcomes (a. teacher satisfaction, and b. organizational effectiveness) appear to exist among principals, teachers on the decision-making team, and teachers not serving currently on the decision-making team, within each selected school and across the selected schools? Major findings revealed that there was much less shared decision making going on in elementary schools in the school system than what was claimed by the principals. Although the context of the shared decision-making committees at each of the three schools studied in depth varied, some outcomes across the three schools were similar. The predominant indicator of teacher satisfaction reported by twenty of the twenty-one principals, team members, and teachers interviewed was increased/improved collegiality. The researcher concludes that the shared decision making committees provided opportunities for principals and teachers to come together to discuss issues, give input, and make decisions, and as a result, collegial relationships began to form. The predominant indicator of organizational effectiveness reported by nineteen of the twenty-one principals, team members, and teachers interviewed was satisfaction with the decisions that emerged from the committee. The researcher concludes that the shared decision-making committees provided opportunities for teachers to join principals in making decisions, so for the most part, teachers had positive perceptions about the decisions that were made.
- Doctoral Dissertations