Meningsskabelse blandt medarbejdere i skolens forandringsproces: En komparativ analyse i et prøveår på Gilbjergskolen

Mette Grønvaldt

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


This master thesis sets out to explore sensemaking on a Danish public, primary school during an important and radical transformation. The school, Gilbjergskolen, is currently reorganizing and developing new common learning practises65 in vertical66 teams with multiple professions (teachers and pedagogues). The exploration and analysis in this thesis is based on the hypotheses that on comparison sensemaking will differ from one group of employees to another. And the differences will depend on a number of variables for example: origin of the transformation, management, professional norms and culture, team structure and isomorphic influences. I use three different theoretical perspectives to describe and analyze my findings. Firstly I take a rational approach to transformations provided by H.J. Leavitt and J.P. Kotter. As my second perspective I take K.E. Weicks more systemic view on changes and sensemaking in to account. Finally I examine whether the transformations shows any signs of isomorphic pressure as suggested by Di Maggio & Powell. I expect to identify indicators from all of the three theories upon analyzing my data with regards to the different variables. From data it is evident, that differences do exist between the different professions, sections and teams as expected. A typical example is a noticeable difference in perception and interpretation of the present results and impact with regards to the children. The difference is most significant on comparing teachers and pedagogues but also on comparing two parallel and structural similar sections of the school, that have just recently merged. Findings like these suggest, that the differences primarily emerge from social constructions like norm and culture in the different groups, professions and teams rather that rational reasons such as objective, plan, structure end deployment. Thus not said that rational and cognitive factors don’t contribute to sensemaking; they do partially. A good example of this is the fact, that a huge majority of all employees find it sensible and necessary to transform the school. So the objective is clear, if the objective in it self is to transform. But when asking why the transformation is necessary, the answers vary a lot. In a similar fashion both teachers and pedagogues are concerned with establishing a structure, which supports and endorses the transformation and development of a common learning practise. But they do not agree on which structure does in fact serve that purpose. This leads me to conclude, that the differences in sensemaking primarily arise from differences in norms and culture as mentioned. Currently these norms are still being confirmed and verified in the dialogues within each of the two professions in stead of being renegotiated and reinterpreted in the team dialogues between teachers and pedagogues. This finding confirms that several of Weicks seven features of sensemaking are present on Gilbjergskolen, and that these features influence the transformation process and early results. As headmaster of Gilbjergskolen I find it crucial for the progress of the transformation that we succeed in developing a true common language and practise with one common objective: to increase the children’s learning and capacity. This inspires me to find further ways to establish and develop dialogues and reflections on learning and thus also sensemaking as close to the learning practise and children as possible. We need to help the professionals to identify the small steps and positive results, which will take them and their practise to the next level. To do so we might need to repeat, revitalise and highlight our mutual objective and narrative for Gilbjergskolen so that they drown some of the dominant norms and culture that currently inhibit part of our transformation.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages56