This paper develops a new, broader, and more realistic lens to study (lacking) linkages between government policy and school practices. Drawing on recent work in organization theory, we advance notions on cluster of organization routines and the logic of complementarities underlying organizational change. This lens allows looking at how schools do (not) change a cluster of organization routines in response to multiple, simultaneous demands posed by government policies. Thirteen purposively selected Dutch secondary schools responding to three central government policies calling for concurrent change were analyzed, taking the schedule of a school as an exemplary case of a cluster of organization routines. Five distinct responses were distinguished, which can be sorted according to their impact on the whole organization. The study finds that ten of the thirteen schools did not change anything in response to at least one of the three policies we studied. However, all schools changed their cluster of organization routines, which impacted the whole organization in response to at least one of the three government policies. Therefore, looking at combinations of responses and considering the impact of change on school organizations qualifies ideas about schools being resistant to policy or unwilling to change and improve.
Waslander, S., Hooge, E.H. & Theisens, H.C. (2023). Getting policy done in educational practice: What happens when multiple central government policies meet clusters of organization routines in schools. Journal of Educational Change, 24: 605-630, DOI: 10.1007/s10833-022-09460-8