The purpose of this paper is to argue that school innovation is a complex process requiring a detailed accounting of the relational activity characterising everyday innovating activity. It is further proposed that complex accounts of innovation practice that describe social factors only are insufficient.
Using a case study methodology, a focus on ideas of resistance and tension is used to explore the character of actual innovating experiences. Underpinned by assumptions of relationality and indicative of a poststructuralist and postmodern perspective, Actor‐Network Theory is applied as an analytical tool to investigate the sociomaterial character of everyday enactments of innovation practice in four independent boys' schools in Australia.
Four data stories describe multiple patterns of innovating activity that cannot accurately be accounted for in terms of a general notion of resistance. The idea that tension enables innovation practice is proposed.
Approaches to school innovation that assume difference should be smoothed out or there is a risk of obstructing its practical accomplishment.
This paper provides a case for school leaders to expect and cultivate conditions that enable innovative tension and the co‐presence of multiple patterns of innovating activity.
In addition to critically viewing managerial notions of school innovation, this paper draws on the cross‐disciplinary research to include materiality as an active agent shaping, as opposed to providing a context for, innovating in schools.
Perillo, S. (2007), "Tension as an enabling characteristic of innovating in schools", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 21 No. 7, pp. 621-633. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540710822210Download as .RIS
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