The genesis of an innovation : a case study of emergent concerns and micropolitical solutions
The following analysis is based on a case study of three years duration (1983-1986), and focuses on a physical education department at a large English comprehensive school which became involved in a teacher initiated curriculum innovation when a new Head of Department was appointed in September 1983. The research process was guided by the grounded theory approach, and the use of prolonged observation coupled with reflexive interviews allowed the emergent concerns of the teachers in relation to the innovation to be made evident, as competing definitions of both subject paradigm and pedagogy clashed. Within the department, several micropolitical strategies were constructed to cope with the pressures of change, which legitimised a dislocation between the 'classroom' and 'educational' contexts of the school, allowing some of the teachers to deflect the implications of the innovation for their own practice. It is suggested that the strategies employed by teachers arise within the social context of the school as a work place that provides, dilemmas, opportunities and possibilities within which the teacher constructs, modifies and abandons coping strategies to enhance both long and short term self interests.