Conditions that facilitate the use of shared decision-making in schools
Author(s)Read, Charles Edward
Elementary Education and Teaching
Teacher Education and Professional Development
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AbstractSchool districts are implementing shared decision making at the school site in order to bring about change in educational practice: to empower school staff to create conditions in schools that facilitate improvements, innovation, and continuous professional growth (e.g., Goodlad 1984, Carnegie Forum 1986). Processes, like products, can be viewed as innovations. The purpose of this study was to determine if there were factors or conditions that facilitate the use of shared decision making in schools. Ely (1990) lists eight conditions that facilitate the implementation of educational technology innovations. The conditions are: dissatisfaction with the status quo, knowledge and skills about the innovation, resources and funding, rewards and incentives, time, participation in the decision to adopt an innovation, commitment and support by key people, and leadership. Using these eight conditions as a starting point, this study examined the literature on implementation of shared decision making at the school site, and employed data gathering methods to determine if these same conditions or other conditions predict the successful implementation and use of shared decision making as an innovation in schools. Using a Peters and Waterman (1982) In Search of Excellence approach, the principals and teachers in 23 elementary schools were selected from a sample of 77 elementary schools that experts had identified as having successful shared decision making programs in place. Surveys were completed by 369 educators from a sample of 779 possible respondents for a 47.4% rate of return. A step wise multiple regression analysis was performed in order to determine which of Ely's conditions best predict or associate with the existence of the components and characteristics of shared decision making programs in schools. The data indicate that leadership and knowledge and skills about shared decision making are two conditions that accounted for 46% of the variance in the level of shared decision making in the total sample surveyed. Other factors contributed less than 3% of the variance in the level of shared decision making in the schools. Data from responses to an open ended section of the survey did not indicate strong evidence of any factors or conditions other than Ely's that facilitated the use of shared decision making in the schools.