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School vision: a stakeholder analysis

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Vision and its role in the life of business and educational organisations has been the subject of extensive research over the past eight decades. Nonetheless, an examination of the extant research literature reveals that the bilateral relationship between educational stakeholders and their school's vision has not been given the attention it deserves.

The research reveals a growing consensus among educational researchers about the importance of the School Vision. However, most studies tend to draw solely on the testimonies of head-teachers (Stemler et al., 2011), with merely a handful including teachers and/or other stakeholders as sources of information. To address this methodological gap, and following Stemler's recommendation (Stemler et al., 2011, p. 33), this study adopted an inclusive approach, targeting head-teachers' perspectives, as well as hereto neglected stakeholder groups, in order to carry out an in-depth exploration of their diverse perspectives on, and expectations from, their School Vision.

Hence, representatives of four groups of stakeholders (head-teachers, teachers, students, and parents) from three Israeli high-schools were interviewed. This, in turn, provided a cogent and comprehensive basis for the subsequent exploration of educational stakeholders' perceptions and degree of ownership re their School Vision, as well as the extent to which the said level of ownership impacts the role played by the Vision in the school’s culture and everyday life.

A thorough analysis of the stakeholders' interviews, alongside content analysis of relevant printed material (e.g. vision statements, school publications etc.), and direct observations, yielded a holistic rich description of each school's specific culture and modus operandi, followed by an in-depth cross-case analysis that highlights similarities and differences between the schools under investigation.

The results of the said analysis show that participants' perspectives are for the most part consistent with prior research as to the strong correspondence between the levels of stakeholders' sense of ownership of their School Vision and the latter’s viability. Moreover, throughout the analysis, additional insights emerged from the plethora of stakeholders' reports, e.g. the crucial role played by head-teachers' approach in determining the viability of their School Vision. These findings address what deems to be a theoretical gap.

Complementary inferences of this kind have further significance as they can assist in reducing the research-practice gap by increasing the utility of research and effectiveness of practice (Sandelowski, 2006). That is, these findings may equip decision-makers with new theoretical notions of stakeholder management, as well as serve the practical purpose of guiding and improving head-teacher training, thus addressing a third lacuna, namely: the applied gap.
Original languageEnglish
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Supervisors/Advisors
Award dateMay 2018

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