Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Douglas B. Fisher, PhD; Barbara Moss, PhD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


academic achievement, cultural norms, educational reform, evaluative case study, K-8 schools, mixed methods study, No Child Left Behind Act--NCLB, organizational level, professional development, school administrators, systemic change, teachers


The purpose of this evaluative case study was to explore teachers' and administrators' perceptions of the organizational capacity during an initial implementation of a systemic change in professional development at a K-8 school. Educational reform acts such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 pressure public school systems to increase student achievement. School district personnel abide by making systemic changes in professional development. For organizations to make such systemic changes, first the culture must change. In an era of ongoing educational reform, it remains important to continually build upon the evidentiary body of literature so that the nation's students will potentially benefit from the highest quality of instruction provided by teachers working within a system of highly developed organizational capacity. Through application of Guskey's evaluation model, the researcher employed a mixed methodology approach that examined the following five critical aspects of organizational capacity: school vision and leadership, collective commitment and cultural norms, knowledge or access to knowledge, organizational structure and management, and resources. Data collection of the purposeful sample occurred in three phases and included a two-part teacher participant survey, teacher focus group interviews, and administrator semi structured interviews. Key findings emerged from cross case and within case data analysis. These key findings emphasized that perceptions of collective commitment and cultural norms may potentially influence other critical aspects of organizational capacity and therefore may potentially increase or decrease the complexities of systemic change during the initial implementation of a professional development program. Recommendations for future research include studies designed to explore the collective commitment and cultural norms of successful local schools' within the context of systems that sustain a continuous cycle of learning. Recommendations for future practice include assessing collective commitment and cultural norms prior to systemic change and during the life of a program.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access