32 SES 12 A, Counseling and Guidance Services as Change Agents in Organizations
This paper presents and discusses the preliminary data from approximately 60 organizational interventions reports focusing on educational psychological counsellors as change agents in Norwegian kindergartens and schools.
In Norway, the Educational Psychological Services (hereafter EPS) are localized at the municipal and county levels. Counselors provide services to kindergartens (early childhood education and care institutions – ECEC-centers) and schools. According to the Education Act, the services are twofold. Section 5.6 states that: “The services shall assist the schools in work on competence enhancement and organizational development in order to improve the adaptation of the education for children with special needs” (Ministry of Education and Research, 1998). Further, the EPS-counselors are to prepare expert assessments where required. However, little emphasis has been placed upon the competence enhancement and organizational change, largely due to the extensive work needed for expert assessments (Hustad, Strøm, & Strømsvik, 2013; Mathiesen & Vedøy, 2012). Kindergartens and schools will need a stronger emphasis upon becoming learning organizations by working continually to improve inclusive educational practices (Haug, 2014; Booth, 1996). This entails a need for enhanced competence and stronger emphasis by the EPS and EPS-counselors on organizational development to strengthen their work as change agents in collaboration with kindergartens and schools (French & Bell 1999).
A strategy for continuing education for employees in the educational psychological service, SEVU-PPT, 2013-2018 has been initiated by the Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training. The aim is to enhance competence on organizational change and development. The strategy program consists of series of in-service programs at the graduate level in different universities and colleges in Norway. Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet, former Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences) is a partner in the implementation of the strategy, and in developing new programs for EPS-counselors in organization change and development.
To our knowledge, there are no studies exploring how EPS-counselors negotiate their role as change agents when working with organizational development. Hence, the aim of this study is to explore the EPS-counselors’ project reports submitted in the university’s SEVU-PPT program. As part of the program, it is mandatory to develop plans for organizational change and to initiate them in collaboration with kindergartens and schools. Details on these efforts are given in their reports. The research question we want to explore is: How do EPS-counsellors negotiate their roles and positions in working with change in kindergartens and schools?
The research design is based on content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005; Krippendorff, 2004) to analyze interventions and initiatives at the organizational level. The design is based on three intertwining approaches: conventional content analysis (CC-analysis), directed content analysis (DC-analysis), and summative content analysis (SC-analysis). The first analytic step uses a stratified sample of randomly selected reports (11) to extract and define the tools which describe the actions of the EPS-counselors. This step generates concepts and categories extracted from the project reports. The initial baseline is followed by DC-analysis, based on the study program’s learning outcome descriptions, to refine and extend the first set of inductively driven concepts and categories. In total, the analytic processes facilitate an abductive analytic process in developing the concepts and categories focusing on the negotiations between EPS-counselors and kindergartens or schools. The total body of text (60 reports) is finally analyzed by series of SC-analysis, exploring the use of the concepts and categories to make interpretations and inferences, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. The analytic process intends to develop insight in how the reports describe the negotiations and actions initiated by EPS-counselors as a change agents.
As a result of our analyses, we expect to find detailed accounts and reflections on how EPS counsellors develop their role as change agents. In other words, we expect that the reports describe the initiatives towards organizational change and development, how they negotiate their roles and positions as change agents, how they work to compose and develop groups or teams which have sufficient power and resources to effect changes, which strategies they collaboratively develop and how they plan to institutionalize new sustainable practices in the organization and among individual members of staff. We anticipate to find a coherent and specific set of concepts and indicators that describe these processes. These initiatives and strategies may serve as a knowledge base both for the professionals in the field in developing competence as change agents, and for kindergartens and schools in developing their collaborative efforts with the EPS services in working with organizational change towards inclusive education. This study contributes to understanding the EPS-counselor’s work as change agents at the organizational level.
Booth, T. (1996). Stories of exclusion: Natural and unnatural selection. In E. Blyth & J. Milner (Eds.), Exclusion from School: Inter-professional Issues for Policy and Practice. London: Routledge. French, Wendell L. og Bell, Cecil H. (1999). Organization development: behavioral science interventions for organization improvement (4th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. Haug, P. (2014). The practices of dealing with children with special needs in school: a Norwegian perspective. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 19(3), 1-15. doi:10.1080/13632752.2014.883788 Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. (2005). Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277-1288. Hustad, B.-C., Strøm, T., & Strømsvik, C. L. (2013). Kompetanse i PP-tjenesten - til de nye forventningene?: kartlegging av kompetansen i PP-tjenesten (Vol. nr. 2/2013). Bodø: Nordlandsforskning. Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis : an introduction to its methodology (2nd ed. ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage. Mathiesen, I. H., & Vedøy, G. (2012). Spesialundervisning - drivere og dilemma. Stavanger: http://gammelweb.iris.no/internet/student.nsf/199f312efd2a0cacc125680e00635b85/70546072bcb60cacc12580ca0041b20b/$FILE/IRIS%202012-017%20Spesialundervisning.pdf Ministry of Education and Research. (1998). Education Act (Lov om grunnskolen og den vidaregåande opplæringa) with amendments. Oslo: Ministry of Education and Research [http://www.utdanningsdirektoratet.no/Artikler/_toppmeny/_English/Education-Act/] OECD. (2011). Social Justice in the OECD – How Do the Member States Compare? Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011. [http://www.sgi-network.org/docs/studies/SGI11_Social_Justice_OECD.pdf]
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