Dynamics of the Decision-Making Process of A Rural School Board in the Commonwelth of Virginia

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Virginia Tech

This is a case study of the dynamics of the decision-making process of one rural school board in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The case study focused on a five member elected rural school board and the division superintendent. Four decisions of the board were studied. The researcher and the division superintendent identified the four decisions (cases) after a review of board meeting agenda items and board minutes from July 1, 1996, through June 30, 1999.

The researcher interviewed all board members and the superintendent and reviewed board minutes and other documents to gather data on the decision-making process by the board on the four selected issues. Data were entered into matrices for analysis.

Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Triangulation of the data served as a means of data validation. Conclusions and recommendations for future study and practice are included.

The major findings were that this board relied heavily on the superintendent for information, external and internal factors influenced the board during the decision-making process, and communication and information sharing were key to this board as it worked to make what it felt was the best decision on each of the four issues. During the decision-making process, this board, depending on the issue, used numerous decision-making process steps. These steps ranged from a minimum of seven to a maximum of eleven. The first step on each issue was becoming aware of the issue and the final step was voting on the solution to the issue.

Decision-making process, Virginia, Dynamics, Rural school board