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Psychological ownership of a team of change agents during second-order change in schools and its implications for school culture

Shiran Benji-Rabinovitz (The Open University of Israel, Raanana, Israel)
Izhak Berkovich (The Open University of Israel, Raanana, Israel)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 1 September 2020

Issue publication date: 29 December 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Taking ownership is considered vital for sustaining change in organizations, particularly when second-order changes are the goal. Yet, few studies explored psychological ownership of change agents in educational organizations. Moreover, no knowledge exists on how agents' individual psychological ownership augments psychological ownership in schools and on how collective psychological ownership of change relates to school culture. The present study aims to address these two lacunae.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study method was adopted to investigate the psychological ownership of teams of change agents in schools. Six Israeli secondary state religious schools adopting a new liberal curricular program were studied. Thirty one interviews were conducted with principals, program coordinators, mid-level teacher leaders and teachers who were active change agents in the promotion of the program. The interviews were complemented by quantitative data on students' perceptions of school discipline and tolerance of diversity based on the national school culture survey.

Findings

The analyses revealed the prevalence of three types of psychological ownership in the sample of schools. The analyses also showed how key components of psychological ownership, i.e. responsibility and territoriality in relation to change manifest in the schools that were explored. Institution-level analysis shed light on the different effects psychological ownership of the change team had on sharing within the faculty. In addition, analyses showed how the scope of agreement between two key change agents, the program initiator and the principal, on psychological ownership affected various psychological ownership aspects of the team. Last, the analysis shows that two types of collective psychological ownership emerged in the course of a liberal school change, and that types were differently related to school outcomes.

Originality/value

The study offers an innovative typology of collective psychological ownership during second-order change in schools, mapping two ideal types: cooperative and fragmented collective psychological ownership. The new types provide a better understanding of the dynamic of collective psychological ownership and its outcomes in organizations in general and schools in particular.

Keywords

Citation

Benji-Rabinovitz, S. and Berkovich, I. (2021), "Psychological ownership of a team of change agents during second-order change in schools and its implications for school culture", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 75-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-05-2020-0279

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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