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How School Organizational Structures Impact Micro-Level Decision Making Open Access

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How School Organizational Structures Impact Micro-Level Decision Making Schools are complex organizations that are not comprised of single-minded individuals who are equally equipped with knowledge, power, or skill. Schools are not monolithic bodies moving toward collective goals, where school members equally gather knowledge and make sense of it in universal ways. The complexity of the school site necessitates that building leaders rely on a number of groups with members who are skillful at gathering and processing information and making decisions. Group members are constant learners who operate individually, within, and across groups. This year-long phenomenological study of one elementary school captured how decision-group leaders experientially negotiate the educational environment. The participants were asked to reflect on their practice as decision makers and as learners. Mezirow's Transformational Adult Learning Theory provided the vehicle through which participants' experiences were filtered as they negotiated the micro, meso, and macro environments. Key findings include principal power, resource allocation, student performance, and ways of knowing, which emerged as broad themes when examining the environmental factors that influence individual decision makers within a collaborative setting. These results suggest that information is developed, manipulated, and transferred constantly. The knowledge that is attained and created plays a critical role in developing strategies to serve the stakeholders inside and outside of schools. Decision making happens continually throughout the educational environment. Individuals produce the ideas that are talked about and drive the decisions that are made. Within educational environments, individuals rarely act alone. Although not all educators wield equal power, educators rely on collaborative teams to justify and further the decisions that do get made.

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