ERG SES D 08, Poster Session
In addition to so-called failing schools, which show poor performance results despite favorable or unfavorable starting conditions, there are also improving schools in challenging circumstances and turn-around schools. In these schools, the students are able to achieve high performances in spite of unfavorable starting conditions. These so-called "resilient schools" are able to compensate factors of vulnerability and to counteract risk developments successfully. (See Quesel et al., 2012)
In organizational research this phenomenon is described as organizational resilience. This description refers to organizations that have a high "organizational responsiveness" and evolve adaptation to external factors in a constant learning process (see Ungericht et al., 2011). There are already some findings on organizational resilience from organizational research, which, however, have not been transferred to schools as organizations yet. In their theoretical approach, the studies differentiate between the meso and micro level of organizations. While the micro level describes the personal resilience of the staff of an organization, the meso level refers to organizational structures and policies that allow an effective handling of negative influences. It turns out that micro and meso levels and their interdependencies are essential for the description of organizational resilience. It is also striking, that in contrast to, for instance, family resilience research (Walsh 2003) the focus is not set on the level of collective resilience.
The concept of organizational resilience appears to be useful for schools. Several studies point out that school can be made more effective by using specific measures – such as by the reduction of learning objectives and an increased investment into the professional development of teachers, a respectful school culture, collaboration between teachers and between school and parents, local companies, and social work partners, and activities within in school networks (see Racherbäumer et al., 2013: 228-230). However, these strategies cannot be equated with "resilience". The resilience research differentiates between the terms "resilience" and "coping". "Coping strategies" provide a concrete dealing with different challenges. "Resilience" describes the basic beliefs, "inner settings", and basic competencies needed to initiate and implement effective and concrete "coping strategies". (See Wustmann, 2004: 76-82)
In this context, the dissertation project described here purses the idea that the collective resilience is as relevant as the personal resilience (micro level) for the development of organizational resilience. Following to this idea, the project is based on the assumption that collective sensemaking and interpretation patterns of the staff of a school influence the perception of a challenging environment as well as the selection, initiation, and implementation of specific actions in the context of a school. The objective of the project is to reconstruct the collective "conjunctive" meaning (Mannheim 1980) and "tacit knowledge" (Bohnsack 2014) of teachers at successful schools in a deprived situation and specific effective organizational actions and measures that were initiated. To do so, the project uses the systemic approach that was also used in analyses of family resilience (Retzlaff 2010) to focus the collective resilience of families. Understanding schools as "social systems" (Luhmann 2012), the focus is not on individual persons, but on "operations of communication" and communication contents that (re-)produce meaning and the elements of the social system (see Luhmann, 2012). It is expected that there is a relationship between a protective conjunctive meaning and the successful management of deprived contexts. Further, it is assumed that it is possible to typify framework of orientations in conjunction with resulting actions of the organization, and to find patterns of organizational resilience at unexpected good schools.
Bohnsack, R. (2014): Rekonstruktive Sozialforschung. Einführung in qualitative Methoden. 9. Auflage. Opladen&Toronto: Verlag Barbara Budrich. Luhmann, N. (2012): Soziale Systeme. Grundriss einer allgemeinen Theorie. 15. Auflage. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, S. 192. Mannheim, K. (1980): Strukturen des Denkens. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag. Quesel, C./Husfeldt, V./Landwehr, N./Steiner, P.(Hrsg.): Failing schools. Herausforderungen für die Schulentwicklung. Bern: hep Bildungsverlag, S. 9-12. Racherbäumer, K./Funke, C./van Ackeren, I./Clausen, M.: Steuerung und Umstrukturierung von Schulen in herausfordernden Lagen. In: van Ackeren, I./Heinrich, M./Thiel, F. (Hrsg.): Evidenzbasierte Steuerung im Bildungssystem? (Die Deutsche Schule – Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, Bildungspolitik und pädagogische Praxis, 12. Beiheft) Münster 2012, S. 226-254. Ungericht, B./Wiesner, M. (2011): Resilienz. Zur Widerstandskraft von Individuen und Organisationen. In: Zeitschrift Führung und Organisation 80 (3): S. 188-194. Walsh, F. (2003): Family Resilience. A Framework for Clinical Practice. In: Family Process 42 (1), S. 1-18. Wustmann, C. (2004): Resilienz. Widerstandsfähigkeit von Kindern in Tageseinrichtungen fördern. Berlin/Düsseldorf/Mannheim: Corselson Verlag, S. 26; 76-82; 108;
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