g stressing the need to change co unt erproducti ve school cultures make PR

G stressing the need to change co unt erproducti ve

This preview shows page 21 - 22 out of 27 pages.

cturing concepts (e.g., stressing the need to change co unt erproducti ve school cultures) make PR more essentia l. The former increases the need for marketing and imaging; the latter increases the need for civic engagement. Discussing the pursuit of school restructuring at the local leve l, Wadsworth (1997) concluded that reac hin g pub li c consensus was essential -and that atta ining this goal required a shared vision, a plan, lead- ers who li sten, diverse participants, choices, and productive communication. Sc holars who have studied change in organizations genera ll y (e.g., Schein, 1999) and in sc hools specif- ically (e.g., Fu ll an, 2001; Fullan & St iege lb auer, 1991; Hall & Hord, 2001) conclude th at new ideas are likely to be rejected if they con fli ct with prevailing cultur es. Thu s, reform becomes more probable in situ at ions where stakeholders co ll aborate to state and test their values and be li efs about educati on . Communication In this rapidly changing world, inform at i on and int egrated commu nicat i on programs are essential in a ll organizations (Caywood, 1997). In school s, they are necessary to id entify and correct problems that deter stud en t learning. Thi s point is especially rele- vant to understanding how school culture and communi cat ive behavior are connected. So me communi cat i on scholars view this relationship to be rec ip roca l. Co nr ad (1 994 ), for example, wrote, "Cultur es are communi cat i ve cr eat ion s. Th ey emerge and are su s- tained by the communi cat iv e acts of a ll employees, not just th e conscious persuasive strategies of upper management. C ultures do n ot exist separately from people comm u- nicating with one another" ( p. 27 ). Axley (1 996) described the connect ion t hi s way: "Comm uni cat i on gives rise to organizational culture, which gives rise to communica- tion, whi ch perpetuates culture" (p. 153 ). In this vein, communi cat ion is a process through whi ch organizational members express their collective inclination to coordi- nate be li efs, behaviors, and att itudes. Put more s im p ly, communi cat ion is the act that people use to give meaning to th eir organizati ona l li ves by sharing perceptions of real- ity (Kowalski, 1998, 2008). A negotiated order evolves from bo th int ernal an d exter- nal in teract ions among individuals and group s, an d this interpl ay occurs in the inf ormal as we ll as the formal organization. When viewed from this social system perspective, co mmuni cat i on is a process th at shapes, transmit s, and reinforces a socially constructed c ul tu re (Mohan, 1993 ). If administrators are to lead o th ers in reshaping sc hool c ul tures, they must know how ot hers perceive realit y, and they must u se this inf orm at ion to create mutual understa nd - in gs about a school 's purposes and practices. Those who restri ct the open debate of val- ues, discourage conflict, or li mit access to inf ormati on are unlikely to do these things (Deetz, 1992; Sarason, 1996). Nor are they likely to communi cate effect iv ely across racial and economic li nes (W alker-Dalhou se & Dalhouse, 2001). Com munica ti on is both the backbone of
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