Shaping Our Buildings: A Case Study of Organizational Learning in a Collaborative School District.

Public Deposited

The purpose of this case study was to seek insight into the evolution of the Delran School District, within the New Jersey Public School Labor-Management Collaborative. The Labor-Management Collaborative brings together leaders from New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA), the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ), the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA), and the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA). This has created a state-level learning network that strives to create labor-management partnerships, which improve collaboration at the school-district level. Our schools are hierarchical organizations, seemingly at odds with the notion of power sharing as collaboration. The Labor-Management Collaborative, however, tries to build a system that, at the very least, makes a difference in how control is expressed. Results from this study indicated that named collaborative structures such as the School Leadership Teams and District Leadership Teams are functional and have an impact on the success of the collaborative process. Although not originally a finding that was planned for, transformative leadership emerged as a key factor that makes Delran's experience unique. Authentic collaboration in our schools is deeply dependent upon the partnership built between the teachers and administrators, and directly related to the level of trust that partnership engenders. Organizations may appear to collaborate, but in fact it is individuals representing organizations who collaborate (Huxham and Vangen, 2005). The results from the study indicate the Delran School District has created a strong collaborative structure and culture. Delran's structure takes the traditional hierarchical structure common in education but adds new roles and processes that allow a stable, functioning, democratic network to take shape. These results can help inform the work of the New Jersey Public School Labor-Management Collaborative, providing a working set of organization structures and processes. These can provide not only a frame of reference for school districts looking for sustainable change, but also an architecture, within which a positive organizational culture can develop.

Last modified
  • 02/16/2024
Date created
Resource type
Rights statement


In Collection: