Title

Organizational stages and conflict in the administration of Adult Basic Education in Windham County of Vermont

Publication Date

1-1-2001

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Claire Halverson

Abstract

The study answers this question, "How has Vermont Adult Learning (VAL) experienced life cycle stages and what conflicts are part of the stages?" This study of Vermont Adult Learning (VAL) and other Adult Basic Education services in Vermont from 1964-2000 compares its stages and conflicts with the lifecycle model of Richard Daft and Richard Steers, (Stages of Development and Organizational Characteristics During the Life Cycle, Organizations, Scott, Foresman and Company, 1986) and with the model of E.B. Knauft, Renee Berger, and Sandra Gray, (Profiles of Excellence, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1991). The results show that VAL has generally had a life cycle parallel to the cycle described by Daft and Steers. However, in recent years, the organization has deviated from the model to add another life cycle stage, which I have named "Mid-life Return." The research includes interviews with administrators and teachers engaged with VAL. The interview schedule was based primarily on the Daft and Steers model. Also, several questions about mission, board and volunteers are drawn from the Knauft et al model of the life cycle of not-for-profit organizations. As in the two models, the transitions were marked by conflicts. Although the models identify leadership or mission changes as the primary source of conflicts, conflicts identified in the study are primarily structural. Conflicts about how Adult Basic Education service organizations are to be structured in Vermont continue to emerge rather than be resolved.

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