Leading and Learning From Innovation at Teach for America
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CitationPetersen, Matthew. 2015. Leading and Learning From Innovation at Teach for America. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractThis capstone explores my efforts to lead the implementation of new learning structures for internally funded innovation projects at Teach For America (TFA), a nationwide non-profit organization with a twenty-five year history in the educational sector. My initial Theory of Action for the development of learning processes was informed by an approach to evaluation called Developmental Evaluation (Patton, 2011) based on the Adaptive Cycle of ecological change (Gunderson & Holling, 2002), and research on organizational learning (Argyris, 1999). Major activities in my strategic project were initial exploration and project scoping, the development of individual project learning plans, and engaging in reflective stepback meetings with project grantees and their national learning partners.
In order to make inferences about the nature of learning that occurred as a result of the newly developed processes, I collected and coded data on leading indicators of desired capabilities and routines. Early results suggest that the entirety of new learning processes were not associated with leading indicators of desired learning behaviors. There was, however, suggestive evidence that certain, structured, interactions were associated with higher rates of desired behaviors.
My explanation for the results includes partial implementation of the initial strategy, and a postulation that the organization’s default culture was previously organized for efficiency at the expense of learning (Edmonson, 2008). Suggestive bright spots in the results and future implications for both the site and the sector are informed by Edmonson’s research on learning organizations, open innovation strategy, and developmental evaluation.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:16645014