14 SES 16 A, Collaboration and Networks in Education – Promoting Educational Participation and Benefits through Coordinated Action
This contribution reports on final findings of the five-year national program in Switzerland with the title ‘Education Landscapes Switzerland’. The program comprises 22 regional networks in several Swiss cantons which include formal (schools) and non-formal agents (e.g. kindergarten, associations, clubs, libraries, theatres, etc.) aiming to improve education by developing new education opportunities for children from disadvantaged socio-economic background. In this contribution, we focus on the question of what the facilitators of cooperation in networked systems are. The analysis in this paper draws on quantitative (survey with all different actors) as well as qualitative data (documents, interviews with all different actors) from 22 networks. It was collected at three measurement points in time for nine networks of phase 1 (2013/14, 2015, 2016) and 13 networks of phase 2 (2015, 2017, 2018/2019). The quantitative analysis includes several steps. Descriptive statistics were conducted followed by confirmatory factor analysis. Cross lagged models were conducted to determine which of the factors with respect to conditions of effective cooperation and different forms/levels of cooperation which had an influence on the overall effectiveness of networked systems. Finally, a path model was conducted to present the linkages between the various factors. In total, 50 persons were interviewed three times. The interviews were analysed in several passes, first an inductive approach followed by axial coding (Charmaz, 2006), then a deductive approach based on categories derived from the theoretical model. The analysis of qualitative data shows the central role of the project leader for the success of educational landscapes, e.g. as motivator, communicator for internal and external communications or creator of opportunities for the creation and solidification of networks. The quantitative analysis point to the same direction and shows that the project leader substantially influences the conditions of effective cooperation. Cooperation has positive effects for the participants involved what in turn might have an impact on the project results. As also other colleagues show, e.g. Gronn (2002), sufficient time structure, agreements on fundamental educational ideas and strategies, an open communication as well as reciprocal trust are important. Trust in educational networks is crucial and besides a common goal inalienable for cooperation, given that the collaboration generally occurs without any contracts (Hajer & Versteeg, 2005). Trust also is a key element for a functioning communication (Hoy, Smith, & Sweetland, 2002). Communities are characterised through common opinions and attitudes (Seligman, 2012), what may foster a common goal.
Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide Through Qualitative Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Gronn, P. (2002). Distributed Leadership. In K. Leithwood, P. Hallinger, K. Seashore-Louis, G. Furman-Brown, P. Gronn, W. Mulford, & K. Riley (Hrsg.), Second International Handbook of Educational Leadership and Administration (S. 653–696). Dordrecht: Kluwer. Hajer, M., & Versteeg, W. (2005). Performing Governance Through Networks. European Political Science, 4(3), 340–347. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.eps.2210034 Hoy, W. K., Smith, P. A., & Sweetland, S. R. (2002). The Development of the Organizational Climate Index for High Schools: Its Measure and Relationship to Faculty Trust. The High School Journal, 86(2), 38–49. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/hsj.2002.0023 Seligman, A. B. (2012). Trust, Tolerance and the Challenge of Difference, 189–208. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004221383_009
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