The micropolitics of an elementary classroom
Spaulding, Angela McNabb
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The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine micropolitical interaction in one elementary classroom. "Micropolitics is the use of formal and informal strategies by individuals and groups to achieve their goals in organizations" (Blase 1991a, p. 11). I use the following three guiding research questions for the study: (1) What micropolitical strategies do the teacher and students use in the elementary classroom?, (2) What goals do the teacher and students have for engaging in micropolitical strategies, and (3) What are the consequences of the micropolitical strategies for the classroom teacher and students? Using grounded theory methods, I conducted simultaneous data collection and analysis to discover what micropolitical strategies the teacher and students used in the classroom. I find the teacher to use two types of micropolitical influence strategies toward students: support strategies and control strategies. Students use two types of micropolitical influence strategies toward their teacher: cooperation strategies and resistance strategies. I find that the teacher and students use micropolitical strategies based on perceived compatibility or incompatibilty between teacher and student goals. I also find teacher use of micropolitical strategies to link to student academic outcomes. Furthermore, I find student use of micropolitical strategies to link to teacher professional satisfaction or dissatisfaction. In addition, I present a substantive theory of the micropolitics of the elementary classroom in the form of 14 theoretical propositions. The micropolitical theory highlights the reciprocal nature of teacher-student micropolitical strategies of influence.