Appreciative inquiry: A case study of two superintendents, communal relations, and the school district’s responsibility for community economic development

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2009-12

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Abstract

The problem is the economic decline in rural West Texas and the modernistic outlook of school boards and superintendents regarding the role of the rural school in maintaining the community’s economic viability. A comparative case study was used to study Appreciative Inquiry practices with two school superintendents in West Texas and members of their communities. Interviews and archival data revealed little knowledge of Appreciative Inquiry but did reveal the importance of strong relational skills on the part of the superintendent to be able to work effectively in the community. Utilizing a relational approach to organizational management and change, although not necessarily Appreciative Inquiry, these superintendents were able to successfully navigate political and cultural issues to affect positive change regardless of the economic viability of their communities. This approach provided a school culture that was conducive to producing a positive reputation, thereby playing a part in the procurement of economic development.

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Keywords

School superintendents, Economic development, Communal relations, Rural schools, Rural school districts, Appreciative inquiry

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