Publication Details

McKenzie, B. (2008). Using a sensemaking approach to explore interrelationships between policy and practice. In P. Jeffrey (Eds.), AARE Conference. Changing Climates: Education for Sustainable Futures, 30 Nov - 4 Dec 2008, (pp. 1-18). Brisbane: AARE.


Increasingly the literature concerning change to schooling systems tends to use language more readily associated with that of business. Several researchers (Vinson, 2001; Hargreaves & Fullan, 1998; Fullan, 1999) warn of the shift from earlier views of education, towards a more recent perception that appears to consider education as a type of marketable commodity. Increasingly we are moving into a climate where schools are compared to business organizations, where the language of business and terms like knowledge economy (DEST, 2003:1) and middle managers (Fullan, 1999:16) are becoming more commonplace to describe the role of the modern school in society. This paper presents a literature review that briefly explores aspects of the field of organisational learning. Broadly speaking, this is a field concerned with the study of organizations and, within this setting, the role played by culture and change as they impact upon both individual and group dynamics. In more depth, this paper discusses how the literature that has grown up concerning sensemaking (Weick, 1995, 2001, 2005; Mills, 2003; Vaughan, 1996) may be used to identify the connections between policy and practice in this type of organisational environment. The exploration of these types of connections forms part of the purview of the ARC Discovery Project: The Literacy Nexus (Harris, Derewianka, Chen, Fitzsimmons, Kervin, Turbill, Cruickshank, McKenzie & Konza, 2006) that is the subject of this symposium.

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