Main Dimensions in Schools Or Organizaitons Changing Processes

Main Dimensions in Schools Or Organizaitons Changing Processes

March 5, 2015


Description of a Four Dimensional Model for Consistent Observation of Change Progress Toward Reaching the Objective

Author: Dr. Yael Steimberg

Research and Evaluation Division, The Institute for Democratic Education in Israel


Illustration No. 1: General description of the four dimensional model


Although the education system adopts specific changes or wide range reforms over the years, we find that most of the changes remain only short term, and most of the time do not create the desired systemic change (advancing accomplishments, reducing gaps, improving school climate, and such). According to Ettinger (1999), most of the educational changes that were adopted and implemented in the Israeli educational system during the last 50 years did not lead to a fundamental change in the teaching outlook and its implementation. As such, although many organizational changes took place in schools – due to great investment in the development of programs for educational exchange, with the encouragement of the Ministry ofEducation and the local municipalities – the behavioral structures, that is most influentialaccording to the studies, did not change. In other words, according to most, the changes do not affect the learning process and instruction in a fundamental manner.[1]A fundamental change (a change of the second order) isn’t based on implementation of this specific program alone, but it focuses on the deep processes that are expressed in every lifestyleoftheorganization; it’s a systemic encompassing change that stems from recognition and awareness of values, needs, obstructions and conceptual perceptions that the organization adopts.

If so, what are the processes that enable the creation of fundamental changing processes of the second order in schools or organizations?

The literature raises several commonpaths for success in schools and organizations, that are connected to the organizational structure and to the perception of values, and they are:

Stable leadership, that is committed and inclusive (as opposed to centralized management and high turnover);

Support by the decision makers (as opposed to the maintaining approach that is characteristic of the governing mechanisms);

A bright view of the future that relies on a formulated vision that is built in cooperation (asopposed to changing fashions);

Guiding and clear pedagogic principles;

A climate of cooperation, inter-personal trust, and responsibility;

Emotional and cognitive support from the population of teachers and principals;

Combination of bottom up and top up

Creation of organizational and reasonablestructures for support of behavioral structures in the evaluation system or accompanying and formulating research.

This arrangement (mixture) of conditions expresses the extent of the various actions that are offered by this model and characterize every change as itis: clarity of concepts, committed leadership, organizational stability, and relationship systems that provide security, a place forself-expression and a feeling of belonging. At the end, the activity itself – the pedagogic heart – is expressed in the learning and teaching processes that develop in the organization and outside of it.

The objective of the model presented below is to create a consistent framework for observing the school and the organizational change processes for the period of years of change – at the level ofthe process and at the level of the result, from the internal and external perspective.

The model was designed to answer various questions:

Does the necessary base exist to implement the change?

What are the main challenges the organization faces in advancing its targets?

Does the organization promote the desired results in its various spaces of operation?

The model presents four dimensions that characterize a process of school or organizational change, and these are the dimensions: the conceptual dimension, the management organizational dimension, the relationship dimension (climactic)and the learning and development dimension.

We suggest observing the processes that are taking place in the organization through the four dimensions (four outlooks) in order to test in a consistent manner the advancement of the change and its quality. It is not enough to obtain results in one of the dimensions but instead it is necessary also to have balance with the other dimensions in order to obtainsustainable change.

The model can serve as a mapping tool and a work tool for the management staff and also as a measuring tool for evaluation that forms and summarizes the advancement of the change.

The big challenge that stands before us is to create a tool thatwill allow for educated observation of the implementation of change, on the one hand, but not take the “wind” out of actions that are unique in each organization, and will try to emphasize this uniqueness, on the other hand.[2]

The purpose of the model is to provide an answer for the need by organization leaders to observe consistently:

  • The manner of the development of the change process over the course of years;
  • The results of the changeprocess in light of key performance indicators (KPI)

As mentioned above, the model that is offered below enables the achievement of two objectives:

The first is to serve as a consistent tool to test school or organizational change (on the process level);

The second is to test the success of the change according to different indicators over the course of the years[3] (on the level of results).


The Conceptual Dimension - toward a joint language for purposes of the change and strengthening belief in the idea. In this dimension the following questions will be tested: are the need and the objectives clear to all the participants? Are there gaps between the participants? Do the participants believe in the concept and the possibility of implementing it?

The Management – Organizational Dimension – toward creating a committed and proactive management system and a suitable organizational arrangement. In this dimension questions will be asked that touch upon the organizational management and foundation that stands at the base of the change process. In this management field it is necessary to test whether there is leadership (on the part of the school, the municipality, the system, the nonprofit and more) that leads the concept and is committed to it. In the organizational area the question will be tested whether there exists an array of systemic resources, mechanisms, and processes that will allow for stable and permanent operation.

The Relationship Systems Dimension (climate) - toward creating afeeling of security and belonging between all participants. In this dimension we will observe three levels: the level of intra-personal relationships, the inter-personal relationships, and the organizational. All of these together allow for personal development, for a climate of security and protectiveness, for self-expression and

a sense of belonging.

In this dimension the central question that will be tested is: does the organization have a climactic base that promotes achieving the objective?

  • The Learning and Development Dimension - toward creating a professional arrangement that will match the demands of the change process. In this dimension the following questions will be asked: is the organization characterized by frameworks and possibilities for continuous learning? Does a foundation exist of knowledge, the tools and ability to enable the advancement of the objective?

The central question that will be tested in this dimension: is there the necessary knowledge, the tools and ability to advance the objective?

Each dimension depends on the organizational structures. The systemic approach maintains that structure creates process, and;therefore, great importance is placed on creating systemic structures that will suit the work in all dimensions (Sarason, 1996)[4].


[1]A. Carmon(2009) Training Teachers in Geologic-Pedagogic shift [Hebrew]

[2]One of the central ideas is that what is permanent in this model are the dimensions, but their contents can be communicated differently for different expressions in different school systems and different educational processes.

3 One of the central questions that arise in the accompaniment of school change touches upon the measurements for success of change: how can success of change be determined? Is the success of a school, in the existing educational connection, will be ultimately measured by the “usual” indicators in schools (that focus on cognitive/ climactic learning achievements and quality of instruction) or whether there

are additional and other measurements of success along the process, like those that touch on effectiveness and developmental aspects?

In this regard we rely on the Dolores outlook that presents four central objectives for education.

[4]Sarason, S. (2002).Educational reform: a self-scrutinizing memoir: NY: Teachers College Press.