This single-site case study was designed to investigate ways in which a principal considers the individual needs of faculty members when promoting a particular change, as perceived by faculty and staff. Four research questions were addressed: (1) How does a principal create a context for change? (2) Is school culture acknowledged as an integral consideration in the process and, if so, in what ways? (3) Does the principal address individuals before considering the system and, if so, in what ways? and (4) What are other realities integral to the change process? Interview questions were presented to nine faculty and staff members of Apple Valley Elementary School, including the principal. Data analysis shows that the majority of respondents viewed the change process as a team effort with principal as facilitator of dialogue and teachers as communicative participants. The principal was viewed as the key change agent who purposely created a context for change. School cultural factors such as shared beliefs, attitudes, and norms were important in shaping the context for successful change. School administrators should carefully consider both individual and group needs of faculty members when promoting a particular change. Knowledge generated from this study can also be helpful in designing professional development for educators. (Contains 38 references.) (RT)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Seattle, WA, April 10-14, 2001).