Repository logo

Dynamic harmonization in a school restructuring endeavour



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Degree Level



The purpose of this study was to ascertain the use of dynamic harmonization, a new decision making process, as a means for implementing a second-order change in a school setting. Dynamic harmonization (DH), as conceptualized, consisted of authentic consensus and shared decision making. The components of authentic consensus were cooperation, a sense of the meeting, leadership by consensus, dissent, and dialogue. The elements of shared decision making were collaboration, collegiality, empowerment, shared leadership and the use of win/win strategies. DH encompassed all of the attributes that are promoted as being pivotal for building schools as communities so that improved education for students can be the result. Twenty-two staff members in an inner-city elementary school participated in this study that involved the use of participant observation, reflective meetings, interviews with participating staff members, artifact collection, and personal reflective journals. As well, field notes, journals writing, and tape recordings were used to chronicle each of these activities over the six-month period of the study. The study activities used the cycle of plan-act-observe-reflect-plan again. The school staff's use of DH was examined by looking at the way in which it produced change in the individual and the culture of the group. A set of indicators was used to ascertain the use of DH in the school. The results of the study showed that the staff believed DH encouraged the development of a high level of trust and became an effective process for implementing change at the school. Moreover, DH was a process that not only promoted an effective way to make decisions, but also offered staff a forum that encouraged learning a new way of communicating and that nurtured an appreciation for the importance of collaboration, collegiality, empowerment, and cooperation. Through the process the staff began to understand and value dissenting voices, use win/win strategies, and come to collective agreement. Leadership became a joint venture in which everyone shared ownership of and responsibility for the decisions made and the directions chosen. The consociates reported the belief that DH had helped and was continuing to help them implement their chosen change initiatives. They felt that DH helped them find solutions to problems and to work through the day-to-day reality of instituting change. While this study raises many questions about implementing change, decision making, the use of consensus, and the effects of synergy, it opens the door for anyone who wishes to extend their knowledge about people, the way they communicate, and the importance of valuing others. This study concluded with several noteworthy reflections. DH made the life of the staff better, personally and professionally; “things" were better, more reasonable, coherent, just, humane, and satisfying. In this study the staff lived the reality of the importance of developing trusting relationships, reinforced the significance of leadership style, developed an appreciation for acknowledging differences, and gained new perspectives about themselves and each other. Because of the complexity of decision making the staff came to the understanding that learning a new way to make decisions meant having to learn a new way of being. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)





Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational Administration


Educational Administration



Part Of