ASSIGNMENT 1: CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Gorton & Alston (2012) state, “Change is the one persistent phenomenon in education”
(p. 188). Simply stated in education, as in many areas of life, change is the only
constant. As a leader it is imperative that you know how to effectively initiate,
implement, communicate and evaluate change efforts. It is also important that you
know how to identify and manage resistance to change.
Required Reading Material for Module 4:
Gorton, R. & Alston, J. (2012). School Leadership and Administration: Important
Concepts, Case Studies, and Simulations, 9th ed. McGraw Hill: New York, NY.
Chapter 7: Change
1. After reading and watching the mini-lecture on Change Management,
67a-484d-aa5e-a983014c9ec4&start=18), write 2-4 well developed
paragraphs reflecting on your thoughts/ reactions to the topic. Some
questions to consider in your reflection include:
1. How do you feel about leading change efforts?
2. Who, if anyone, would you need to involve to support change
3. What challenges do you anticipate in regard to managing change?
4. What do you feel are the most effective ways to evaluate initiatives
involving change in your institution, program or department?
2. Cite evidence from the course readings and/ or other scholarly evidence to
support your arguments.
ASSIGNMENT 2: ADDRESSING ISSUES OF EQUITY AND DIVERSITY
Today’s educational institutions, programs and departments are becoming increasingly
diverse. When we think about diversity, most people immediately think of racial
diversity. While this is one form of diversity, it is also important to consider other forms
including: academic diversity, socio-economic diversity, diversity of thought and so on.
Educational institutions, like communities, are becoming less and less homogenous.
That said, leaders today must be prepared to face issues of equity and diversity directly,
strategically and effectively, in a manner that supports the needs and well-being of all
that they serve, most importantly students.
1. Write 2-4 well developed paragraphs addressing how educational leaderS
might act strategically to address issues of equity and diversity in their
institutions, departments and programs.
2. Cite evidence from the course readings and/ or other scholarly evidence to
support your arguments.
CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS AND TEACHER ATTITUDES
“School leaders need to understand the change process in order to lead and manage
change and improvement efforts effectively. Furthermore, they must learn to overcome
barriers and cope with the chaos that naturally exists during the complex process of
change” (Gorton & Alston, 2012, p. 188).
You have learned about effectively managing change. This assignment gives you the
opportunity to apply and demonstrate mastery of what you have learned. The case
study that you will examine for this assignment, illustrates a scenario which many
educational leaders will encounter throughout their careers, as education becomes
increasingly more diverse.
Gorton, R. & Alston, J. (2012). School Leadership and Administration: Important
Concepts, Case Studies, and Simulations, 9th ed. McGraw Hill: New York, NY.
1. Read the case study Changing Demographics and Teacher Attitudes found
on page 258 on Gorton & Alston (2012). See next page.
2. Write a 3-5 page paper addressing the following:
1. If you were the principal, what would you do in this situation?
2. What are the alternatives?
3. Do you anticipate any resistance?
3. Support your answer with evidence from the course reading or other scholarly
sources. Be sure to cite and reference your sources in APA format.
CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS AND TEACHER ATTITUDES
Dr. Riccardo Mendozza was in his first year in Capital City and his first position as a principal.
The former principal had left to complete work on his doctorate, but during the last two years of
his administration, the school’s student body demographics had changed and the student body
was currently composed of about 25 percent white and 75 percent non-white. At one time the
faculty had been predominantly white, but several “minority” teachers had been hired. Several
white teachers had transferred or moved to other districts because they felt that the changes
were lowering the standards in the school, a culture that has pervaded the school.
Dr. Mendozza has been very busy during the first few weeks of the school year. He had been
learning the schedule; becoming acquainted with students, teachers, and other people in the
district; familiarizing himself with the program of studies; and dealing with the day-to-day routine
and minor crises that are a part of the job of the building principal.
Although he was reasonably well satisfied with his new situation, two aspects troubled him. In
spite of the fact that the school, including the faculty, had been integrated, there was very little
social interaction between white and non-white teachers. As a rule, they did not mingle in the
faculty room, and they sat together at faculty meetings or during the noon hour. Although Dr.
Mendozza had not detected any actual antagonism or hostility, it was apparent that the two
groups of teachers were not associating with each other.
He had talked to his assistant principal about the matter, but his assistant didn’t believe that any
significant problem existed and took the position that even if it did, there wasn’t much that could
be done about it; people couldn’t be forced to associate with each other. Dr. Mendozza wasn’t
ready to accept his assistant principal’s assessment of the situation, but at the moment he didn’t
have any ideas on how to improve relations between the white and non-white teachers.
Besides, there was another problem that was possibly even more fundamental to quality
education in an integrated school.
Dr. Mendozza had noticed, in the process of becoming familiar with the program of studies in
the school, that the curriculum seemed to give inadequate attention and emphasis to non-white
history and culture. Although the former principal had apparently tried to stimulate some interest
in offering a course focusing on the culture and history of minority groups in the United States,
no one on the faculty had been willing to develop an outline of study. As a result, the present
social studies program was still very traditional.
The same type of situation existed in the language arts curriculum, which devoted little attention
to non-white literature. Although the principal was in favor of students learning about recognized
white U.S. and European writers, he believed that there should be a better balance in the
curriculum and that there was a great deal of worthwhile non-white literature to which all
students should be exposed. Certainly the minority students needed this type of relevant
education to develop a better self-identity and a deeper understanding of their culture and
history. Perhaps even more important, the white students needed a multiracial education if they
were ever going to learn to appreciate the non-white culture and develop a more positive
attitude toward relating and interacting with non-white people.
Dr. Mendozza realized that there would be problems in trying to achieve a truly integrated
faculty and multicultural curriculum. There would no doubt be resistance from teachers of both
backgrounds who did not want to associate with each other and who questioned the need for a
multicultural curriculum or doubted the school district’s commitment to this approach. There was
also likely to be the feeling on the part of many white parents that minority group studies were
either not necessary or not desirable. Dr. Mendozza was deeply committed to the ideal of an
integrated society, however, and believed that it was the school’s responsibility to play a major
role in contributing to that end. It was true that he was new and a little uncertain about how to
proceed, but he had been taught that the principalship was a leadership position, and he
intended to face up to the challenges in his school.
APPLICABLE PSEL STANDARDS*, †
▪ Standard 1:
Mission, Vision, and Core Values
Effective educational leaders develop, advocate, and enact a shared mission, vision, and core
values of high-quality education and academic success and well-being of each student.
▪ Standard 2:
Ethics and Professional Norms
Effective educational leaders act ethically and according to professional norms to promote each
student’s academic success and
▪ Standard 3:
Equity and Cultural Responsiveness
Effective educational leaders strive for equity of educational opportunity and culturally
responsive practices to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.
▪ Standard 4:
Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
Effective educational leaders develop and support intellectually rigorous and coherent systems
of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to promote each student’s academic success and
▪ Standard 7:
Professional Community for Teachers and Staff
Effective educational leaders foster a professional community of teachers and other professional
staff to promote each student’s academic success and well-being.
Change is the one persistent phenomenon in life and in organizations; thus schools
experience change often. For school leaders, implementing and managing change and
improvement in school leadership is a difficult and daunting task. As Michael Fullan and others
note, school leaders need to understand the change process in order to lead and manage
change and improvement efforts effectively. Furthermore, they must learn to overcome barriers
and cope with the chaos that naturally exists during the complex process of change.
In the 2020 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll, it was found that a majority of Americans
disapproved of President’s education policies and that they wanted more federal support for
public schools. The American public also wants the federal government to focus on issues of
teacher quality, college affordability, protecting students from discrimination, and early childhood
education. Surveys have continued to show that the majority of American believe that the best
way to improve education is to reform the existing system.
Key findings from the 2020 Phi Delta Kappa Public Poll (conducted March 2020 prior to the
spread of COVID-19) revealed the following:
● Six in 10 parents call public education extremely or very important in their vote for
president this fall, including a quarter who call it extremely important. Importance rises
among parents, to 7 in 10, with a third calling it extremely important.
● For the 19th straight year in PDK polls, lack of financial support tops the list of the
biggest problems facing the public schools.
● School funding also tops the list among parents, cited by 14 percent—but that’s virtually
half of what it was last year (27 %).
● Bullying now runs a close second, at 11 percent. Further, 8 percent of parents now
mention smoking, vaping, or drug use, compared with 4 percent last year. Five percent
overall and 6 percent of parents mentioned COVID-19.
● Four in 10 support adding charter schools, even at expense of public schools.
● Those without four-year college degrees are more likely to support efforts to expand
charter schools, 42 percent versus 29 percent.
● Seventy-two percent of adults think a balanced approach to reading is most effective at
teaching young students how to read. Two-thirds think it’s most effective in teaching
literacy as well.
Standardized testing is just a part of the landscape. The survey reported mixed support,
depending on how test results are used. Thirty-eight percent of respondents think there’s too
much emphasis, compared to 52 percent when asked this question in 2007. Furthermore, 83
percent support using tests to determine placement in special programs (such as academically
selective high schools), although support wanes considerably if such programs have the
unintended consequence of increasing racial and/or economic segregation.4 A special program
that has the effect of reducing ethnic and racial diversity is supported by 24 percent of Black and
38 percent of Latinx respondents, versus 53 percent of whites. Further, it’s backed by 36
percent of those with household incomes less than $50,000, versus 55 percent of those with
incomes $100,000 or higher.
Schools are dynamic, reflecting the constantly changing world around us. However,
schools are also expected to conserve our values while meeting higher achievement standards.
Schools cannot afford to stand still; they must develop processes and techniques to facilitate
PREMISES GUIDING THE CHANGE RATIONALE
The rationale for change in education seems to be based on the following premises: (1)
Even if the status quo is not necessarily bad, there is usually room for improvement; (2) while all
change does not necessarily lead to improvement, improvement is not likely to occur without
change; (3) unless we attempt change, we are not likely to know whether a proposed innovation
is better than the status quo; and (4) participation in the change process can result in greater
understanding and appreciation of the desirable features of the status quo and can lead to a
better understanding and appreciation of, and skill in, the change process itself.
Although it is clear that proposed change holds the potential for improvement in
education, an administrator would be well advised to be skeptical of those who say, “This is new
and therefore good,” or, conversely, “This is old and therefore better.” Periodic assessment of
traditional practices and careful evaluation of proposed innovations are essential first steps in
validating the need for improvement in education.
PRESSURES FOR CHANGE
In recent years schools have been bombarded with proposals, research findings, and
mandates for change. For example, schools have been told that they need to increase student
time on tasks, provide career ladders for teachers, introduce computer study into the curriculum,
enhance their organizational culture, improve students’ basic skills, increase parental
involvement, improve personnel evaluation, tighten curriculum standards, develop partnerships
with business, and so on. Many of these pressures for change emanate from various national
reports and pressure to implement national standards at the state and local levels, as well as
pressure to change principal preparation programs.
Why Change Efforts Fail and What Can Be Done
Although national reports and research findings can be helpful in identifying possible
areas in need of change in the schools, evaluations of change efforts that were made during the
1960s through the 1980s raise grave doubts as to whether national prescriptions, state
mandates, and school district directives can be successful in bringing about significant and
lasting school improvements.6 Sergiovanni has said that educational change itself must be
changed.7 In general, studies show that past attempts to impose certain changes on the
schools have not been successful, for the most part. State regulations frequently usurped the
authority of teachers, principals, parents, and local communities. The regulations sought to
make the curriculum “teacher-proof” when, in fact, they served to make schools “learning-proof.”
Many of the proposed changes either were not implemented at all or were modified in such a
way to fit local needs that the value of the change was questionable.
Schwahn and Spady have highlighted “five interdependent reasons why productive change
doesn’t happen,” and from these reasons, they have extrapolated five change “rules” or
principles: (1) “People don’t change unless they share a compelling reason to change,” (2)
“People don’t change unless they have ownership in the change,” (3) “People don’t change
unless their leaders model that they are serious about the change,” (4) “People are unlikely to
change unless they have a concrete picture of what the change will look like for them
personally,” and (5) “People can’t make a change—or make it last—unless they receive
organizational support for the change.”
Federal and State Mandates Are Not Enough
Although the federal and state governments can make an important contribution to
school reform by publicizing the need for improvement and by providing financial and technical
assistance to schools that would like to change, the history in this country of attempts to change
the schools suggests that significant and lasting school improvement can seldom be prescribed,
mandated, or directed by agencies or individuals outside of the school. Part of the difficulty is
that, as mentioned in Chapter 6, schools are “loosely coupled organizations”; that is, there are
seldom explicit and direct connections or linkages between the external agents pressuring the
schools to change and the people (in most cases, teachers) who will have to implement the
changes. This makes it hard to direct and monitor adequately what is going on in the schools.
Another difficulty is that many teachers and building administrators have become accustomed to
pressures for change—after all, there has been a lot of change over the years—and educators
realize that much proposed change is faddish in nature and that the pressure for change will
likely diminish when the change agent leaves or funds are cut back.
A basic implication of research on change efforts over several decades is that the
primary leadership for bringing about school improvement must come from the organizational
level of education where the change is to take effect. In most situations, that will be at the school
site level, even though important contributions can be made at all levels.
NEEDED LEADERSHIP FOR CHANGE
There is little doubt that the involvement and cooperation of many people will be
necessary for the successful implementation of school improvement. An administrator cannot
and should not attempt to introduce and implement a proposed change single-handedly. As
Joyce and his colleagues have pointed out, “Charismatic superintendents and principals can
change schools, sometimes quite rapidly, by developing ad hoc executive structures; but the
institutionalization of change is very difficult.” In order for change to occur, one
“highly-motivated, goal-oriented individual must serve as the initial change agent. However,
lasting change requires more than the efforts of a single individual.” Consequently, introducing
lasting change will require the cooperation and support of a variety of people.15 The
administrator should recognize that the leadership for introducing school improvement can
come from many sources and thus should try to encourage ideas and support for change
throughout the school or school system.
School Improvement Committees
One specific way in which an administrator can attempt to facilitate school change is to
establish a school improvement committee.16 Such a committee should be established at the
district level to provide overall direction and coordination of school improvement efforts, and
each school should also establish a school improvement committee to focus on improvement at
the school site level. At the latter level, the committee should be headed by the principal and
should comprise representative assistant administrators, teachers, parents, and students who
are interested in school improvement and possess skills and/or insights that would be helpful in
bringing about needed and successful change. For an excellent example of how students can
be involved in the change process, the reader is referred to Furtwengler. The school
improvement committee should be charged with the responsibility for assessing the need for
change, encouraging efforts to improve the school, coordinating and providing assistance to
those efforts, and monitoring and evaluating progress and achievements.
Importance of a Collaborative Approach
In order for this type of committee to be successful, its membership should be voluntary
rather than required, and each member should have something useful to offer. Once
established, the committee will need adequate resources, assistance, and periodic recognition
from the administrator. In some cases, in-service training for committee members may even be
needed. It will also be important for the committee to be supported by the rest of the school.
Every effort needs to be made to avoid a perception that the committee is a behind-the-scenes,
elitist group. Open meetings and frequent communications will help eliminate or reduce this
Principals and Implementation of Innovation
While the establishment of a school improvement committee represents an important
organizational step toward successfully bringing about school improvement, it also needs to be
recognized that the administrator, particularly the principal (if the proposed change is to be
introduced at the building level), is a key figure in the implementation of an innovation. Seldom
can a proposed change be successfully implemented without the understanding, support, and,
frequently, the leadership of the building administrator. As Demeter observed in his study of
innovation in local schools, “Building principals are key figures in the innovation process. Where
they are both aware of and sympathetic to an innovation, it tends to prosper. Where they are
ignorant of its existence, or apathetic, if not hostile, it tends to remain outside the bloodstream of
Reinforcing the importance of the principal to the successful implementation of any
proposed change, Sarason emphasized, “The principal is the crucial implementor of change.
That is to say, any proposal for change that intends to alter the quality of life in the school
depends primarily on the principal.” Nickols has said that managing change requires numerous
skills—especially political skills, analytical skills, people skills, system skills, and business skills.
According to Nickols, four basic questions can help direct change. Each is built around a
particular concept as expressed in the verbs “achieve, preserve, avoid,” and “eliminate.” The
questions are (1) “What do you want that you don’t have?” (achievement goals), (2) “What do
you want that you already have?” (preservation goals), (3) “What don’t you have that you don’t
want?” (avoidance goals), and (4) “What do you have now that you don’t want?” (elimination
Characteristics of Principals Who Implement Change
The nature of the situation should determine the specific role an administrator should play in
regard to introducing and implementing a particular change. One study of principals who had
successfully implemented new programs in their schools found that:
[The principal] was a believer, feeling a genuine commitment to the project; an
advocate who promoted and defended the project before a variety of audiences;
a linker who connected the project with other parts of the system; a resource
acquirer who obtained and allocated tangible and intangible resources for the
project; an employer who hired project staff or assigned teachers to it; a leader
who supplied initiative, energy, and direction; a manager who provided
problem-solving assistance and support; a delegator who “moved backstage”
when teachers assumed leadership; a supporter who provided words of
encouragement and acts of assistance; and an information source who gave
feedback to teachers and project staff.
Another study finds six common characteristics of principals who were successful
when implementing educational change: being visionary, believing that schools
are for learning, valuing human resources, communicating and listening
effectively, being proactive, and taking risks.
Leadership Styles of Principals
Hall found that the principal’s leadership style determines the successful implementation
of change. Principals in his study had three main styles: (1) the initiator, (2) the manager, and
(3) the responder. The initiator’s style was most successful, followed by the manager’s; the
responder’s style was least successful. The specific styles are described as follows:
1. Initiators: Have clear goals that include implementation of innovation. They place high
expectations upon the students, their staff, and themselves.
2. Managers: Fall between initiators and responders. They may initiate action in support of
change but also demonstrate responsive behavior.
3. Responders: Rely on teachers and others to act as change agents while they proceed
with administrative tasks.
Havelock and Shaskin offer HELP Scores as characteristics for a change agent leader. They
note the following:
1. Homophily: The extent of closeness which exists between the client and also the change
agent; change is expected to achieve successful outcomes if the extent of closeness is
higher between them.
2. Empathy: The change agent should be empathetic. This understanding will strengthen
client and change agent’s relationship; will improve communication which in turn will
favorably influence the change.
3. Linkage: This implies the extent of collaborative relationship which exists between the
client and the change agent.
4. Proximity: The client, as well as the change agent, should be readily available to each
other, it’s because greater the accessibility, stronger will be the bond or the relationship
between the two.
5. Structuring: This involves effective and a step by step planning of various activities
associated with the implementation of change.
6. Capacity: This factor is connected with the organization’s capability in providing the
required resources which are essentially needed for successfully implementing
interventions and the change.
7. Openness: This is the ability of a change agent as well as the leadership in facilitating an
open environment for building facilitating mechanisms and fostering mutual respect,
trust, and sensitivity toward the feelings of others.
8. Reward: Any change initiative should have the potential for benefitting the beneficiaries
both in the short run as well as in the long run.
9. Energy: Energy implies the extent of efforts applied for making change realizable.
Energy involves both mental as well as physical energy, directed in a focused manner for
achieving synergy in the outcomes.
10. Synergy: Synergy is the sum of two or more is greater than the parts. Synergy in
outcomes happens when all the above-mentioned factors are combined with the right set
of people, resources, and activities.
The multifaceted role of these principals may seem a little overwhelming to many
readers, especially prospective administrators. As a change agent, a leader is capable of
enforcing change broadly in four areas: Structure, Physical Setting, Technology, and People:
Structural change is all about making changes in the organizational structure, authority and
hierarchical framework, job redesign, and various other structural variables. Change in
technology implies a change in the techniques, methods, processes or best practices, or the
way of working itself. Change in the physical setting involves a change in the layout and also the
spatial arrangements. Change agents also facilitate a change in the attitudes of people, skills,
behavior and also their perceptions. All in all, it simply takes commitment, time, and
THE PROCESS OF CHANGE
Although it seems clear that the administrator is a pivotal figure in the change process
and, in many cases, may need to be the primary change agent in introducing and implementing
a proposed innovation, the administrator’s effectiveness and the innovation’s success are not
automatic or inevitable. Although many factors can influence the likelihood of successful school
improvement, it is not likely to occur in a school or school district without the administrator and
the school improvement committee developing an understanding of, and skill in, the process of
introducing and implementing change. Kilmann identifies the following four critical stages in
planning a “completely integrated program for improving organizations”:
1. Ascertaining whether the organization is ready for a successful
2. Diagnosing problems—using a questionnaire.
a. Designating the barriers (problems).
b. Designating the channels for success (opportunities).
3. Scheduling planning tracks.
b. Management skills.
c. Team building.
d. Strategy structure.
e. Reward system.
4. Implementing planning tracks.
a. Encouraging flexibility as change is implemented in each track.
b. Making sure employees take responsibility for the change.
Although theorists on change may differ somewhat in their terminology and emphasis,
most social scientists and innovators would agree that the process of introducing change should
include the stages and steps listed in Figure 7.1. The administrator and school improvement
committee who adopt the process outlined in Figure 7.1 should greatly increase the likelihood of
successfully introducing and institutionalizing a proposed change in a school and school district.
The process recommended is a rational one, although it is recognized that what actually occurs
does not always follow rational lines. It begins with the identification of the need for change and
ends with the integration of the proposed innovation into the routine of the school. Throughout
the process, there is an emphasis on decision making, planning, organizing, diagnosing, and
evaluating—the very skills that are central to administration.
▪FIGURE 7.1 IMPORTANT STAGES AND STEPS IN THE CHANGE PROCESS
Conduct a Needs Assessment
A. Identify the need for change. Examine the present system to ascertain which aspects
need to be improved.
B. Develop or evaluate and select a new approach or system that will replace the former
Orient the Target Group to the Proposed Change
A. Create an awareness of and interest in the proposed innovation on the part of the
target group, e.g., teachers.
B. Institute with the target group an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the
proposed change. Pilot-test and refine the new system prior to its introduction.
C. Identify, with the help of the target group, the commitments that will need to be made
in terms of additional resources, in-service training programs, and/or building
Decide Whether to Introduce the Proposed Change
A. Identify those who should participate in the decision.
B. Decide on the process by which the decision will be made.
C. Decide whether to proceed with the implementation of the proposed change.
Plan a Program of Implementation
A. Plan and carry out a program of in-service education for those involved in the
B. Provide the resources and facilities necessary for successfully introducing the change.
C. Anticipate and attempt to resolve in advance the operational problems that may be
encountered in implementing the proposed innovation.
Implement the Proposed Innovation
Conduct In-Process Evaluation
A. Design and institute a system that will provide feedback on the extent to which the
proposed change is accomplishing its objectives.
B. Diagnose those aspects of the program or its implementation that need improvement.
Refine and Institutionalize the Innovation
A. Modify the innovation and, if necessary, provide additional orientation, training,
resources, facilities, etc.
B. Gain the acceptance of the innovation (if it is successful) as a regular and permanent
part of the total educational program in the school or school district.
In the remaining sections of this chapter, each stage in the change process found in
Figure 7.1 will be further analyzed and discussed.
Assessing the Need for Change
The first stage in the process of change may well be the most important one. If the
administrator, with the cooperation of relevant others, does not periodically evaluate the current
program, activities, and practices in the school and school district, the administrator is unlikely to
be aware of, or be sensitive to, the need for change. Worse yet, the administrator may react
defensively to external pressures for change and attempt to defend a status quo that has not
been examined carefully. Therefore, an effective administrator will have in operation a needs
assessment plan providing objective information about the strengths and weaknesses of the
various educational programs and activities. Such an assessment plan will be essential for
identifying and validating the need for change, and it will also be helpful to others in developing
an understanding of the need for change. An excellent description of how to develop such a
plan is presented by Kaufman and Stone.
Determining the New Direction
Once the need for change has been established, the administrator, in cooperation with
relevant others, should attempt to develop, or evaluate and select from various alternatives, a
new approach or system to replace or modify the current program or practice. This will be a
challenging task. Administrators are faced with what must seem at times to be a virtual barrage
of proposals for changing the school program. The challenge for the school practitioner is to
select those innovations that show potential for significantly improving education in the school.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. The main problem is finding an innovation that has
been systematically developed on the basis of theory and research, with subsequent
experimental testing and refinement before dissemination to the schools. Research and
development centers and regional laboratories are a source for information on innovations.
Since many of the innovations to be considered are not “proven” products in any sense of the
term, the administrator will need to evaluate carefully the strengths and limitations of each
proposed change before seeking its adoption in the school or school district.
Evaluating a Proposed Innovation
In conducting an evaluation of a proposed innovation, the administrator and the school
improvement committee should attempt to seek answers to the following basic questions:
1. What are the objectives of the proposed change or innovation? What is it supposed to
2. Are the objectives of the proposed innovation sufficiently relevant to the particular need
for improvement in the local school or school district? How do we know this?
3. How will the proposed innovation accomplish its objectives? What is the evidence that
the proposed innovation will accomplish its objectives, and how adequate is that
4. How difficult will it be for people to understand and accept the proposed innovation?
5. To what extent do people have the skills to implement the proposed innovation? If skills
are lacking, how easily can these skills be acquired?
6. What are the financial costs of implementing the proposed innovation? Are there
sufficient resources for implementing the proposed
7. How will we know, if we implement the proposed innovation, that it has accomplished its
8. In general, what are the advantages and disadvantages of implementing the proposed
As mentioned earlier, evaluating a proposed innovation is seldom an easy task. It is an
essential activity, however, for the administrator who wishes to avoid introducing an innovation
that may not only be inappropriate for the needs of the school or school district but, if not
successful, also result in disillusionment and cynicism about future efforts to innovate.
Important Reference Groups
For most proposed changes, it will be important for the change agent to develop
understanding, commitment, and possibly new skills on the part of those individuals or groups
who will be affected by a school innovation. Generally, the groups who will be most affected will
include the faculty, the students, the parents, the school board, the administrator’s superiors,
and the state department of public instruction.
Gaining Support, Reducing Resistance
In most circumstances, the six groups just mentioned represent the greatest sources of
potential support for—or resistance to—a proposed change. The administrator who wishes to
play the role of the change agent needs to recognize that the acceptance and effectiveness of
the proposed innovation may also be enhanced or impeded by the attitudes and actions of other
individuals and groups associated with the school district: principals feel successful educational
reform and change requires a commitment of a whole system approach, which includes the
community as well. Because each group is part of the informal communication network within a
school district or community, the change agent must identify the potential of these groups for
support or resistance and must consider these factors in introducing an innovation. As Baldridge
and Deal have perceptively noted in regard to the external environment of the school (which
includes not only local community but also the state and national scenes), “The environment is a
major impetus for change, for new environmental demands are an initial source of new ideas,
new procedures and new activities. Not only is change promoted by the environment, but
changes made internally must also be supported by environmental connections.”
Involving the Faculty
Perhaps the most important group to consider in establishing the need for change, and
in selecting and introducing a proposed innovation, is the faculty. If the faculty of a school or
school district does not understand a proposed innovation, or lacks the skill for participating
effectively in its implementation, the likelihood of the innovation’s successful implementation is
slight. This is particularly true of an innovation that is to be implemented in the classroom.
Therefore, the administrator should make every effort to be sure that the faculty or its
representatives are involved in each step of the change process, that they understand
thoroughly the different facets of the proposed innovation, and that they are provided with
adequate opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to implement the change.
Adoption of the Innovation
According to Havelock and his colleagues, an individual (or group) in the process of
adopting an innovation goes through the following six stages:
1. Awareness stage: The individual is exposed to an innovation and becomes aware of it,
although not necessarily knowledgeable about it or possessing a strong interest in
finding out more about it.
2. Interest stage: The individual is developing an interest in finding out more about the
innovation and is beginning to develop some possible negative and positive attitudes
3. Mental stage: The individual is now actively evaluating the innovation as to how it might
be implemented and is also seeking the assessment of the innovation from respected
4. Trial stage: The individual actually attempts to implement the innovation on a pilot basis
to see if it will work.
5. Adoption stage: The individual adopts the innovation and implements it fully.
6. Integration stage: The individual internalizes the innovation in such a way that it
becomes a routine part of the person’s behavior or situation.
The Complexity of Instituting Change
An individual or group will not always, of course, go through all six stages. Possibly at
the end of the mental or trial stage the proposed innovation will be rejected. Clearly, Havelock’s
concept of stages indicates that adoption is a more complicated process than perhaps is
realized. For example, the implementation of an innovation from a leadership perspective
occurs in four different stages, according to Sergiovanni. In the first stage, initiation, the leader
and the follower have independent, but organizationally related objectives. Sergiovanni refers to
this stage in leadership as “bartering.” Stage two, uncertainty, is a time to muddle through. The
leadership is “building.” In the third stage, transformation, there is a breakthrough as the goals
of leaders and followers are shared. The leaders and followers are bonded together in a moral
commitment. In the fourth stage, routinization, improvements are turned into routines so that
they become second nature. Leadership is “banking.”
Hall and Hord have divided change facilitator behaviors into several clusters: (1) a
“concern for people” cluster that is composed of social/informal and formal/meaningful
interactions, (2) an “organizational efficiency” cluster in which the focus is on the degree of trust
in others to carry out responsibilities and the establishment of procedures that keep the system
running smoothly and permit teachers to do their jobs better, and (3) a “strategic sense” cluster
that focuses on the dimensions of day-to-day activities in the context of a long-range vision and
the planning that accompanies it.
What Teachers Worry About
Adequate orientation to the innovation is a key factor to successfully proceeding through
Havelock’s first three stages of adoption. In attempting to orient the faculty to the proposed
innovation, the administrator needs to be aware of the typical concerns teachers have about
innovations. According to a model developed at the Research and Development (R&D) Center
at the University of Texas, teachers go through several stages of concern. Initially, their
concerns seem to focus on how the proposed innovation, if it is implemented, will affect them
personally. If these self-concerns can be ameliorated or eliminated, then the teachers’ questions
are likely to reflect concern about how to perform the tasks associated with the innovation.
Finally, if the task-related concerns can be resolved, then the teachers’ concerns will center on
how the innovation will affect students.
Most teachers are interested in improving their teaching and are not opposed to trying a
new innovation. The biggest concern is usually the effort required to incorporate a given
innovation with their current practice. Work with them to see how the innovation may speak to
their particular needs, and how to assist them with its integration into their teaching. Teachers
simply need time, support, and encouragement.
Creating an Atmosphere of Trust
“Trust is a key to system change that appears to be in short supply,” write Hall and Hord.
“Currently it seems as if everyone at each point across the system not only does not trust and
respect persons at other points along the continuum, but also is cynical about the intents of
those other people.” During the process of addressing concerns, the administrator’s role should
not be one of “selling” or “advocating” an innovation. Such an approach will impair the
administrator’s objectivity and sensitivity to people’s concerns. Instead, the administrator should
be trying to develop an understanding of the innovation and people’s concerns about it. To
accomplish these objectives, the administrator needs to create a climate or atmosphere
conducive to objectivity, trust, and confidence. Research by a number of individuals and groups
suggests that to create this type of atmosphere, the change agent will need to be perceived by
the teachers as someone who:
1. Is not trying to “foist” a change on them or manipulate them into making a change.
2. Is a good communicator who not only understands a particular innovation but also knows
how to explain it clearly.
3. Respects teachers and encourages them to voice their concerns.
4. Listens carefully when concerns or objections surface and takes action to try to
ameliorate those concerns and objectives.
5. Practices the perspective that successful change requires the cooperation and
contribution of everyone.
6. Has skills for helping to facilitate the proposed change.
RESISTANCE TO CHANGE
Resistance to change exists in all organizations, be they public or private. Bowsher
classified seven types of resisters to change in the following manner:
1. “Positive” resister: The person who agrees with all the new programs but never does
anything about them.
2. “Unique” resister: Although the changes may be good for other areas of the organization,
they are never right for this individual’s department.
3. “Let me be last” resister: Will not say change is wrong, but uses the strategy of trying to
be last to implement change, hoping all new ideas will die out before his or her
department must institute a new program.
4. “We need more time to study” resister.
5. “States rights” resister: Resists any new program from headquarters, stressing that only
local programs will be effective.
6. “Cost justifier” resister: Prior to any changes, everything must be cost-justified.
7. “Incremental change” resister: The most difficult to win over to a new system. New
approaches are tried only if they have everything the old system had.
Two Kinds of Forces: Facilitating and Restraining
In every situation involving change, there will operate certain restraining, as well as
facilitating, forces. The facilitating forces—those conditions that make it easier to introduce a
particular innovation—will probably be obvious to the administrator. They include such factors
as outside pressures for change and the administrator’s own convictions about the need for
change. On the other hand, the restraining forces—those conditions that will make it difficult to
introduce the innovation—may not be so obvious. Their symptoms are usually manifested,
however, in people’s concerns or expressions of resistance to a proposed change. One should
assume that change will often be resisted; experience and research both indicate that
resistance to change is not unusual. Sample verbal reactions to proposed change that suggest
resistance include the following.
“Everything is going all right, so why change?”
“People aren’t ready for change.”
“Has anyone else tried this?”
“It won’t work in this school.”
“We’ve never done it before.”
“We’re not ready for that.”
“We’re doing all right without it.”
“It’s too radical a change.”
“We don’t have enough time to do it.”
“It’s too complicated.”
Factors behind Resistance
These comments suggest concern as well as possible resistance to proposed change
and should not be dismissed lightly. The worst thing the administrator can do is to dismiss
resistance without examining its merits or to react defensively when opposition to change is
expressed. Instead, the administrator should view the expression of resistance or concern as a
warning sign that needs to be taken seriously, and should attempt to better understand and
diagnose the motivation and reasoning behind such expressions. In so doing, the administrator
needs to be aware that resistance to change may be based on one or more of the following
Habit is the tendency of people to behave in the same way that they have always
behaved, and the familiar becomes a form of security. Proposed change challenges this
security, and the challenge is frequently met with resistance.
The Bureaucratic Structure of the School District.
The school district as a bureaucratic institution emphasizes the maintenance of order,
rationality, and continuity. Uniformity of educational programs and procedures among the
schools of the district seems to be valued, whereas diversity does not. Attempts by individual
schools to introduce new programs or procedures are sometimes viewed with suspicion.
Because of these attitudes and the hierarchical structure of the district, proposed change may
be diluted before it is finally approved, or it may be rejected because it threatens the stability of
the institution. Recent research suggests, however, that the bureaucratic structure of a school
district can, depending on its nature and on how it is used, facilitate the process of change
rather than restrict it.
The Lack of Incentive.
Change can be a difficult and frustrating experience for the individuals or groups
involved. Although the administrator may be personally convinced of the benefits that will accrue
if a proposed change is adopted, the administrator can seldom guarantee those benefits or offer
incentives (monetary or otherwise) to persuade others to adopt the innovation. As a result, the
administrator is dependent upon the ability to influence others to adopt a proposed change that
may have high personal costs in terms of time and frustration and no immediate gain.
The Nature of the Proposed Change.
Innovations can vary according to complexity, financial cost, compatibility with the other
phases of the school’s operation, ease of communicability, and time and energy needed to
make the change. Some innovations, because of these factors, are more difficult to introduce
into a school system than are other proposed changes. As Baldridge and Deal note, “Many
plans fail because they simply are not viable in terms of what the organization can afford.”
Therefore, the characteristics of the innovation itself may constitute a major obstacle or problem
in securing its adoption.
Teacher and Community Norms.
Teacher and community norms can act as significant barriers to innovating in the
schools. For example, there is evidence that teacher norms support autonomy and do not
encourage interaction and exchange of new ideas among colleagues. As a result, efforts by the
administrator to bring about change in a teacher’s role or methods may be viewed as a
challenge to that teacher’s professional autonomy. Research has further revealed that
community groups may feel threatened by change because of its implications for upsetting the
stability of the power relations within the community.50 Both sets of norms—teacher and
community—can act as powerful sources of resistance to the administrator who is trying to
introduce a particular innovation.
Lack of Understanding.
People may resist a proposed change because they don’t possess an adequate or
accurate understanding of it. Their deficiency may be caused by a failure to pay close attention
when the proposed change was explained, or, on the other hand, information about the change
may have been poorly or inaccurately communicated. In any respect, a lack of understanding of
a proposed change can act as a significant deterrent in its successful implementation.
A Difference of Opinion.
A proposed change may be resisted because of an honest difference of opinion about
whether it is needed or whether it will accomplish all that its proponents claim. The difference in
opinion may be based on conflicting philosophies and values of education in regard to teaching
and learning, or it may result from variant assessments of how much improvement would
actually occur if the proposed change were
A Lack of Skill.
A proposed change may be resisted by an individual or group who will be required to
perform new skills and roles. The change from traditional roles and skills to new ones is viewed
as an unsettling experience by many people. Therefore, any innovation requiring new skills or
roles from the participants should be accompanied by an in-service program enabling these
people to develop the new skills or roles.
Resistance to change is a complex phenomenon, and the administrator should spend a
considerable amount of time in diagnosing its source or sources before drawing any conclusions
about how it might best be reduced. Many situations manifest more than one reason for
resistance to change, and the administrator should assess the validity of each of the possible
factors identified previously. By accurately diagnosing the reasons for resistance, the
administrator will be in a better position to ameliorate it and smooth the way for successful
implementation of a proposed improvement.
One recommended means for dealing with the possibility of resistance to change is to
introduce an innovation in such a manner as to avoid or minimize the likelihood of resistance.
Readiness for change involves:
1. leadership support for the desired change and the ability to lead it;
2. shared vision and understanding of the change by school stakeholders;
3. alignment with school core values, focused on student learning and well-being;
4. a shared understanding that the initiative is a school priority;
5. a collaborative school climate with trusting, respectful relationships between leaders and
6. an implementation plan that school participants comprehend;
7. plans for building staff capacity for successful implementation; and
8. an understanding of needed and available resources, and a strategy for obtaining critical
resources that are missing.
Furthermore, McKnight and Glennie noted in their study of 48 principals and change
readiness that more than half of the principals indicated that their schools were not ready for the
targeted change, suggesting a low probability of success for this initiative. Additionally, school
climate, strong relationships, available resources, and leadership capacity rely and build upon
each other to impact the success of change initiatives.
FACILITATING THE INTRODUCTION OF CHANGE
Although many administrators have felt that the crucial, if not the sole, problem in
successfully introducing an innovation was to overcome the initial resistance of the individuals
and/or groups whose behavior and attitude were going to be affected by a change, this belief
has now been challenged. Gross and his associates, for example, found that despite an initially
favorable predisposition by those who were going to be especially affected by a certain change
in a school, the proposed innovation ultimately met with failure.
Reasons for Unsuccessful Innovations
Based on teacher interviews, questionnaires, and daily field observations, Gross and his
colleagues identified four factors that seemed to account for the innovation’s lack of success, all
possessing implications for the educator who is concerned about the successful implementation
of a proposed change.
1. Although the faculty had received orientation about the innovation prior to its
introduction, six months after the innovation had finally been initiated, most teachers still
did not seem to understand what was involved in their new role.
Implication. The administrator should not assume that one or two explanations of an
innovation will be adequate. Rather, the administrator must continuously secure
feedback and provide clarification to those who will be affected by the change.
2. The teachers seemed to lack the knowledge and skills necessary for performing their
new role. When they encountered problems as a result of these inadequacies, teacher
resistance to the innovation developed.
Implication. Behavioral and attitudinal change is complex and difficult to achieve. The job
of the administrator is to identify clearly and precisely those skills and understandings
needed by the people affected by the innovation and to provide the training necessary to
acquire them. Teachers, for example, need continual assistance in adopting a new role.
3. The teachers’ role in the new program was designed on the assumption that much of the
student learning would result from contact among the students, who were using highly
motivating, self-instructional materials. Unfortunately, the materials were in short supply
and apparently not sufficiently motivating and self-instructing.
Implication. If the success of an innovation depends on materials possessing special
characteristics, (for example, highly motivating, self-instructing), the administrator must
see that such materials are available in sufficient quantity.
4. Other aspects of the school program, such as grading and developing the school
schedule, were not changed to facilitate the adoption of the new teacher role.
Implication. A change in one aspect of the school program may affect and be affected by
other aspects of the program and may necessitate further change.
The research conducted by Gross would appear to suggest two conclusions about
proposed change: (1) that it will not always be initially resisted and (2) that an innovation may
ultimately fail, despite its preliminary acceptance, if the people involved have not been provided
with adequate role orientation, training, materials, and other prerequisites.
More Reasons for Failure in Attempts at Innovation
In a related review of the literature on the implementation of change, Kritek found that, in
addition to the factors identified by Gross, attempts to innovate failed because of goals that
were too vague and ambitious, minimal planning to operationalize the innovation and to
integrate it into the school, resources that were too limited, and failure to anticipate adequately
and address constructively the developments that occurred after the innovation was
What Administrators Can Learn from Failed Attempts at Change
Several implications are suggested by Kritek’s review. The administrator who is thinking
about introducing change must define the objectives of the innovation clearly and realistically.
Full and accurate communication to those who could be affected by the proposed change is
Pilot Projects to Introduce Change
To avoid the problem of excessively ambitious goals, it may be necessary to consider
introducing the innovation on a pilot project basis rather than to the entire school or school
district. A pilot project represents a scaled-down version of the originally proposed change. The
proposed innovation might be reduced in terms of size, length of operation, or number of
participants involved. For example, rather than introducing a new, schoolwide language arts
curriculum, the change could be implemented on a pilot basis at only one grade level; or
perhaps rather than implementing a curricular change at one grade level, several units of the
curriculum could be introduced by all the teachers in the school during the first semester of the
school year; and, of course, other variations of the pilot project approach are also possible.
The pilot project approach to introducing change has several distinct advantages. It can
be conducted with a smaller number of participants and can involve those who would be more
willing to try out new ideas. If the pilot project is successful, its results may favorably influence
other people who initially resisted the proposed change. It can also be useful in identifying and
addressing defects or weaknesses in the originally proposed innovation that may not have been
obvious before implementation. Finally, a pilot project may prove useful in demonstrating that a
proposed change will not work, either because of a defect in the concept of the proposed
change or because local conditions make it impossible to implement fully.
The pilot project is no panacea for introducing change, but it may avoid the problem of overly
ambitious objectives for an innovation and, for that reason alone, should be considered by the
Making Sure a Realistic Plan Is in Place
After planning for the introduction of an innovation, the administrator should attempt to
ascertain whether or not it was planned carefully enough and in sufficient detail. Many
innovations seem to fail because there was not a well-conceived plan for implementing the
innovation. Planning is concerned primarily with the question of how an objective is to be
achieved or a decision implemented.In a situation involving the planned implementation of an
innovation, the following types of questions need to be answered:
1. What kinds of activities or actions must occur in order to introduce
2. What kinds of resources—personnel, facilities, supplies—must be obtained to introduce
3. What kinds of problems and possible consequences might the introduction of the
innovation generate? How should these problems and consequences be addressed?
4. How should activities be sequenced to the best advantage and resources most efficiently
coordinated in order to introduce the innovation?
5. What kind of time schedule should be followed in implementing the plan of action?
In an oversimplified sense, the administrator who engages in the planning process is
attempting to answer the question, “Who does what, with whom, and over what period of time in
order to implement the innovation?”
Another important question that faces administrators in a time of budget constraints is
the availability of funding. Many schools have turned to grant writing to obtain the needed
dollars to implement change. To write successful grants requires additional expertise that
administrators and leaders may acquire by following Orlich’s three suggested steps: (1) begin
with a good idea, (2) search out a source that has funded similar ideas, and (3) craft a
well-written proposal. Novice grant writers should realize that the basic elements of any grant,
no matter what the dollar amount, are similar. These are (1) a carefully worded introduction, (2)
an identification of the problem to be solved or the need to be addressed, (3) a list of goals and
objectives, (4) a work plan or procedures, (5) the evaluation plan to measure the program’s
success, and (6) an expenditure plan with budget justifications.
In summary, a well-conceived plan for implementing an innovation will go far toward
avoiding the problems referred to by Gross and Kritek and will increase the possibility that the
innovation will be successfully implemented.
Although somewhat mixed, considerable evidence indicates that many implemented
innovations are later abandoned or drastically modified. There are many possible reasons for
the failure of an innovation, most of which have been discussed in the previous two sections of
this chapter. Certainly any innovation attempt in which the objectives and operational activities
are not well understood, the implementation is not well planned, and implementation is
attempted despite the opposition of significant members of relevant reference groups carries
with it the seeds of self-destruction. Even if these negative factors can be avoided, however,
some innovations still encounter problems after they are implemented, problems that can lead
to their demise.
One of these problems is that the individuals who are responsible for implementing the
innovation may eventually become “burned out.” Implementing change frequently requires a
high level of energy expenditure. There may be new roles to be learned and long hours to be
invested; furthermore, anxiety and frustration often are associated with the implementation of an
innovation. Introducing change is usually hard work, and, typically, there are few external
rewards for the participants. The morale in a school implementing an innovation frequently
vacillates from high to low, without much stability.
If not ameliorated, over a period of time these conditions will negatively influence the
attitude of the participants toward the innovation and will impair their effectiveness. The
administrator who is sensitive to conditions in the school will provide timely assistance and
rewards to those individuals who need them, and the problem of the participants becoming
burned out can be prevented or reduced.
Coping with problems is very important for successful change. According to Miles and
Louis, “Good problem coping (dealing with problems, actively and with some depth) is the single
biggest determinant of program success.” The authors suggest that problems should be solved
structurally. For example, if teachers complain about being overloaded, a proper solution would
be to allow shared planning or to give added technical assistance rather than just asking
teachers to persevere or to be more dedicated. Problems should be located and seen as
“natural, even helpful occurrences, without blaming anyone, arousing defensiveness, or
implying a predetermined solution.”
Negative Media Coverage
Two frequently unanticipated problems that can occur after an innovation has been
implemented are a “bad press” and the reduction of resources and support by the district
administration or external agency funding the innovation. Negative newspaper or television
reports on an innovation can immeasurably damage the image of the innovation and can
significantly affect the spirit of the participants and the attitudes of those who are judging the
merits of the innovation. It matters little whether the press or television reports are accurate or
not—media coverage usually has the appearance of validity.
A major problem with press coverage is that generally the press will want to report on the
innovation soon after it has been implemented, even though at that stage the school is still
discovering and trying to iron out the “bugs.” Consequently, the media spotlight is on the
innovation early and tends to focus on the problems it is encountering, resulting in a “bad
press.” There is no easy answer to this problem, given the nature of the press and the process
of introducing change. The media are generally more interested in problems because they are
newsworthy, and the period just after the innovation has been implemented is frequently the
time when many problems arise. The administrator can, however, attempt to develop a positive
relationship with the news reporters in the community and try to develop an understanding on
their part (before the innovation is introduced) about types of problems likely to occur because
of the innovation’s novelty as well as the school’s contingency plans for addressing those
Funding Reduction or Loss of Other Resources
Another possible postimplementation problem is the gradual reduction in resources and
moral support provided by the central office of the district or an outside funding agency. A school
attempting to innovate will frequently need a higher level of resources and support than one that
is not. Over a period of time, the central office may encounter budgeting pressures, as well as
criticism from the other schools in the district about the better treatment of the innovative school;
or, if the innovative school is funded by an external agency, that source of funding may be
gradually reduced or terminated and the school district may not make up the difference. If the
innovative school has received any bad press and/or has encountered some problems after the
innovation has been implemented, the principal may find that the moral support of the central
administration may be lacking when it is most needed.
Coping with Problems
Fortunately, most of the circumstances described in this section can be avoided, or at
least reduced, if the administrator anticipates them and takes corrective action before the
problems become major. The difficulties essentially are a result of events going less smoothly
after the innovation has been implemented than had been anticipated. In these situations some
of the famous Murphy’s laws are operating: “Most things are more complicated than they initially
appear to be,” and “Most things take longer than originally anticipated.”
WINDOW ON DIVERSITY
Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions
by Josh Greenberg
Workplace diversity refers to the variety of differences between people in an organization.
That sounds simple, but diversity encompasses race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality,
cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background, and more.
Diversity not only involves how people perceive themselves, but how they perceive others.
Those perceptions affect their interactions. For a wide assortment of employees to function
effectively as an organization, human resource professionals need to deal effectively with
issues such as communication, adaptability, and change. Diversity will increase significantly in
the coming years. Successful organizations recognize the need for immediate action and are
ready and willing to spend resources on managing diversity in the workplace now.
Benefits of Workplace Diversity
An organization’s success and competitiveness depends upon its ability to embrace diversity
and realize the benefits. When organizations actively assess their handling of workplace
diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported such
Organizations employing a diverse workforce can supply a greater variety of solutions to
problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse
backgrounds bring individual talents and experiences in suggesting ideas that are flexible in
adapting to fluctuating markets and customer demands.
Broader service range
A diverse collection of skills and experiences (e.g., languages, cultural understanding) allows
a company to provide service to customers on a global basis.
Variety of viewpoints
A diverse workforce that feels comfortable communicating varying points of view provides a
larger pool of ideas and experiences. The organization can draw from that pool to meet
business strategy needs and the needs of customers more effectively.
More effective execution
Companies that encourage diversity in the workplace inspire all of their employees to perform
to their highest ability. Company-wide strategies can then be executed; resulting in higher
productivity, profit, and return on investment.
Challenges of Diversity in the Workplace
Taking full advantage of the benefits of diversity in the workplace is not without its challenges.
Some of those challenges are:
Communication—Perceptual, cultural, and language barriers need to be overcome for
diversity programs to succeed. Ineffective communication of key objectives results in
confusion, lack of teamwork, and low morale.
Resistance to change—There are always employees who will refuse to accept the fact that
the social and cultural makeup of their workplace is changing. The “we’ve always done it this
way” mentality silences new ideas and inhibits progress.
Implementation of diversity in the workplace policies—This can be the overriding challenge to
all diversity advocates. Armed with the results of employee assessments and research data,
they must build and implement a customized strategy to maximize the effects of diversity in
the workplace for their particular organization.
Successful management of diversity in the workplace—Diversity training alone is not sufficient
for your organization’s diversity management plan. A strategy must be created and
implemented to create a culture of diversity that permeates every department and function of
Recommended steps that have been proven successful in world-class organizations are:
Assessment of diversity in the workplace—Top companies make assessing and evaluating
their diversity process an integral part of their management system. A customizable employee
satisfaction survey can accomplish this assessment for your company efficiently and
conveniently. It can help your management team determine which challenges and obstacles
to diversity are present in your workplace and which policies need to be added or eliminated.
Reassessment can then determine the success of you diversity in the workplace plan
Development of diversity in the workplace plan—Choosing a survey provider that provides
comprehensive reporting is a key decision. That report will be the beginning structure of your
diversity in the workplace plan. The plan must be comprehensive, attainable, and measurable.
An organization must decide what changes need to be made and a timeline for that change to
Implementation of diversity in the workplace plan—The personal commitment of executive
and managerial teams is a must. Leaders and managers within organizations must
incorporate diversity policies into every aspect of the organization’s function and purpose.
Attitudes toward diversity originate at the top and filter downward. Management cooperation
and participation is required to create a culture conducive to the success of your
Recommended diversity in the workplace solutions include:
Ward off change resistance with inclusion—Involve every employee possible in formulating
and executing diversity initiatives in your workplace.
Foster an attitude of openness in your organization—Encourage employees to express their
ideas and opinions and attribute a sense of equal value to all.
Promote diversity in leadership positions—This practice provides visibility and realizes the
benefits of diversity in the workplace.
Utilize diversity training—Use it as a tool to shape your diversity policy.
Launch a customizable employee satisfaction survey that provides comprehensive reporting–
Use the results to build and implement successful diversity in the workplace policies.
As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly
diverse. Organizational success and competitiveness will depend on the ability to manage
diversity in the workplace effectively. Evaluate your organization’s diversity policies and plan
for the future, starting today.
Source: Greenberg, Josh. (2004). “Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges and Solutions. The
Multicultural Advantage.” Retrieved from
. Used with permission of AlphaMeasure Inc. All rights reserved.
Problems are a normal occurrence because the planning process—even under the best
of conditions—always involves assumptions, some of which may turn out to be untenable.
Problems need not significantly influence the fate of an innovation, however, if the administrator
becomes aware of them at an early stage before they develop into a crisis and if the
administrator takes quick action to remedy the situation. Catching problems early requires the
initiation of a formative evaluation system that will alert the administrator to incipient problems,
and good leadership skills on the part of the administrator are necessary for quick action in a
FORMATIVE AND SUMMATIVE EVALUATION
If the administrator is to be aware of problems associated with the implementation of an
innovation before these problems become major crises, arrangements need to be made for the
initiation of some type of formative evaluation. A formative evaluation represents an assessment
of both an innovation’s strengths and its areas in need of improvement before a conclusion or
decision is reached on its success. Formative evaluation is diagnostic in nature because it is
searching for aspects of the innovation, or the implementation plan, that are in need of
This type of evaluation is very important in the early stages of implementing an
innovation because it is during this period that unanticipated problems are likely to arise and
immediate corrective action may be needed to avoid exacerbating the problems. For ease of
understanding, an example of a relatively simple formative evaluation survey used by one
school is presented in Figure 7.2.
▪FIGURE 7.2 FORMATIVE EVALUATION SURVEY
Feedback on the Implementation of the Financial Literary Program
Instructions: Please make an X below to indicate whether you are a teacher or a student, add
your grade level, and then give your reactions on the remainder of the form. You need not
sign your name on this form unless you so desire.
Teacher ____________________ Grade Level ____________________
Student ____________________ Grade Level ____________________
1. What do you see as the main problems that need immediate action? Please be as
specific as possible, and if you have ideas about resolving these problems, so
2. What do you see as the main advantage or advantages of the financial literacy
program so far?__________________________________________
3. Is there any special help or assistance that you
A formative evaluation can range from simple to complex in the nature of its data
gathering format and analysis, but the important consideration is that it provides the
administrator with useful information on the progress and problems of the innovation and/or the
plan for implementation. This type of evaluation should not, however, be used by the
administrator, or anyone else for that matter, for making decisions about whether or not the
innovation is a success and should be continued or discontinued. After the innovation has been
given a reasonable amount of time to prove itself, then a decision should be considered with
regard to continuing or discontinuing the innovation, and, at that point, the administrator will
need to make arrangements for the initiation of what is referred to as summative evaluation.
Summative evaluation, as applied to the assessment of an innovation, represents an
attempt to ascertain whether or not the innovation is adequately meeting school or school
district objectives and whether or not the advantages of the innovation sufficiently outweigh the
disadvantages. Summative evaluation usually necessitates the collection of data, but it also
frequently involves subjective judgments on what the data mean. Examples of some different
kinds of summative evaluations include the following:
1. Comparison of student behavior before and after the innovation has been implemented.
2. Comparison of student achievement before and after the innovation has been
3. Comparison of student attitudes before and after the innovation has been implemented.
4. Comparison of teacher attitudes toward the innovation before and after the change.
5. Comparison of parent attitudes toward the innovation before and after the change.
6. Effectiveness of the plan for introducing the innovation.
7. Extent of disruption of other activities because of the change.
8. Amount of additional costs as a result of implementing and operating the innovation.
Methods of Summative Evaluation
The methods one uses to conduct summative evaluation should depend on three factors: (1)
what is to be evaluated, (2) what information is needed, and (3) what method is most
appropriate and most accessible to provide the desired information. Possible evaluation
methods range from questionnaires and interviews to content analysis and standardized
tests.66 There is no perfect method! All too frequently administrators reject or criticize an
evaluation method without offering a better alternative; as a result, no evaluation is ever
performed. Instead, administrators should select the best possible alternative from the
evaluation methods that are available and appropriate for assessing the innovation.
Ultimately, administrators cannot avoid evaluating an innovation. If arrangements are not made
to see that a sound assessment is carried out, then other people, including parents and
members of the community, will make their own evaluation, using their own criteria and
methods. Furthermore, the US Department of Education’s Office of Elementary & Secondary
Education offers funding for innovation programs that will include formative and summative
A FINAL NOTE
Change is unavoidable; it is certain to happen. The question is how the
leader will deal with the change. An administrator can watch it occur, can resist it,
or can help guide and direct it. By utilizing the concepts presented in this chapter,
the administrator should be able to make an effective contribution by responding
constructively to the need for improvement in education.
Although many of the case studies, suggested learning activities, and
simulations presented in Part II require the appropriate use of the ideas in this
chapter on school improvement, Cases 62–71 in Chapter 15 should provide the
best opportunities for testing understanding and effective use of the concepts
concerning the change process.