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Role of school culture in the career advancement of educators: A case study

Grooms, Rebecca
The purpose of this study was to explain, through the lens of Grid and Group Theory, how different cultural environments promote and inhibit the career advancement of educators. In this qualitative study, purposeful sampling was used to select three school sites within the district as information-rich sources of data due to each school's unique categorization as a corporate, collectivist, and bureaucratic environment. Using the case study model of inquiry, data collection occurred through surveys, interviews, observations, and document analysis. Participants included parents, educators, deans, assistant principals, principals, and one executive director. Surveys were interpreted through Douglas' (1982) grid and group framework to gain a better understanding of the cultural context of the school environments. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with deans, assistant principals, principals, and one executive director. Document analysis completed the data collection experience and included public documents, electronic communication, and school websites. All data were coded according to emerging themes, patterns, and relationships. Triangulation, purposive sampling, member checking, and access to an audit trail were utilized to validate the findings in this study. Douglas's (1982) Grid and Group Typology were applied after data were collected. The findings in this study indicated specific patterns were present in each cultural environment, viewed through the lens of grid and group theory (Douglas, 1970), that promoted and inhibited the career advancement of educators. This research will inform schools and districts across the nation regarding the types of environments most conducive to career advancement. This knowledge can also be utilized by university programs, school districts, administrators, educators, and school personnel to better support the career advancement of educators through cultural aspects embedded within school environments.