Thursday, January 12, 2012

Diane S. Burt completes dissertation in the School of Educational Leadership and Change

Exploring Employee Involvement in Change: Appreciative Conversations with Community College Leaders -- Diane S. Burt

The objective of this study was to examine critically the leadership stories of six community college Principals as they collaboratively navigated through a time of transformational change. The study contributes to, and is based on, two areas of literature: appreciative inquiry and employee involvement in change. While this time of change was unique to this college and its leaders, their stories are likely to speak broadly to leaders experiencing different kinds of change. Through an appreciative inquiry approach, the study engaged the Principals in narrative inquiry to promote conversation and storytelling as a way to share and better understand what they did well to involve people in the change process. The approach focused on what was working well and what the potential was for the future.

The findings and implications of the study were grouped into two areas: the process and the results. The appreciative inquiry process is a methodology that could be used in transformational change, not only for engaging employees, but also for building the change leadership team. The affirmative and appreciative approach helped to bring out the best in the team and promote positive communications. The results were grouped by themes. The main themes identified in the study included: building relationships, communicating face-to-face, empowering leaders, creating collaborative and data-driven decision-making processes, being positive and passionate, understanding the organizational culture, embracing opportunities for learning, and ensuring balance.

Key words: appreciative inquiry, narrative inquiry, organizational change, employee involvement, leadership, community college

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