Under What Conditions Do School Districts Learn From External Partners? The Role of Absorptive Capacity

Caitlin C. Farrell, Cynthia E. Coburn, Seenae Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

School district central offices regularly engage with external partners in improvement efforts, but these partnerships are not always productive. Indeed, little is known about under what conditions partnerships are likely to lead to organizational learning outcomes. We conducted a longitudinal comparative case study of two departments in one urban school district central office, both working with the same external partner. Data included 131 interviews and 372 hours of observations as well as artifacts and social network data. While one department did not incorporate the partner’s ideas into policies and routines, the other demonstrated greater integration. We argue this difference is due to organizational conditions that foster absorptive capacity and to the nature of department–partner interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)955-994
Number of pages40
JournalAmerican Educational Research Journal
Volume56
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

Keywords

  • absorptive capacity
  • district central office
  • external partner
  • organizational learning
  • organizational theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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