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School leaders' perspectives on effective change in a Thai Catholic School through systems thinking case study /

by 1951- Prichavudhi, Anant

Abstract (Summary)
This research study sought to uncover the school leaders’ perspectives and understandings of systems thinking as a tool to solve educational problems, and to explore the extent to which school leaders view systems thinking as a means to affect change in the school. The investigator used a qualitative research design and selected case study as the method of investigation. To comply with the 1999 National Education Reform Act of Thailand and as a preparation for transferring power to the new school board, this case study investigated all 15 school board members who were selected by the school administration at a large private K-12 Catholic school in Bangkok, Thailand. The individual interviews were conducted in the fall semester of 2002. Using Senge’s (1994) causal-loop model of cause-and-effect relationship and Haines’ (2000) five critical phases of systems thinking as a framework, the study addressed four related issues: (1) What characteristics of “systems thinking” do school leaders exhibit when faced with school-related problems and issues? (2) What characteristics of “systems thinking” do school leaders exhibit when faced with problems and issues from other (nonschool) domains? (3) What characteristics of “systems thinking” do the school leaders employ/use as a means to affect change in the school? (4) What views do the school leaders express about the importance of “systems thinking” in improving schools (or their own areas of expertise)? iv The results of the research indicated that the school leaders exhibited and identified different types of characteristics of systems thinking—holism, cause-effect relationships, feedback, and external environment—when faced with issues from both inside the school domains and from other nonrelated school domains. The research further showed that the school leaders perceived the meaning and the characteristics of systems thinking and later suggested appropriate means to improve the school and its educational system by applying systems thinking. The reviews of literature on change, systems theory and systems thinking, school effectiveness, and leadership were used to align, relate, connect, support, and conclude a transformational process, with four central themes of structure, culture and climate, power and politics, and individuals deemed as important in promoting change in the school system. By using systems thinking as the framework for this case study, the researcher hoped to set a norm for the school leaders to accomplish their leadership roles in the organization by using systems thinking as an effective tool to relate to, connect with, and affect various parts and elements of the system and to be able to plan for change in the complex learning organization with effectiveness and confidence. v
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School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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