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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Diane Kayongo-Male


This research analyzed receptivity to innovative change within an educational institution. The innovation was Focus on Educational Improvement (FEI) in Brookings, South Dakota. This innovation involved setting aside formal planning time for teachers to work toward modernization goals. A sample of one hundred five teachers completed survey forms before and after FEI. More in-depth interviews were conducted with seven teachers. Whereas the preponderance of research on innovation has dealt with the rate of voluntary adoption, the innovation under study required at least nominal participation by teachers. The intent of this research, therefore, was to focus specifically on the teachers, who were most directly involved with modernization and the FEI sessions. Recognizing that receptivity to innovative change varies by the individual, the basic question to be answered was: Are there individual characteristics and/or perceived attributes of an innovation that are determinants of receptivity to innovative change? It was determined that during the academic year the majority of teachers did not change their self-assessment of innovativeness. Of those who did change, an equal number reported a positive change as did a negative change. This study looked at the following individual characteristics as discriminators of receptivity to innovative change: membership in formal organizations, level of participation in formal organizations, age, ·education, income, years within the school district, and sex. Stepwise discriminant analysis indicated that only age was considered to be a significant positive factor. Of the same individual characteristics, membership in formal organizations was the only variable with a significant positive relationship with attitude as to whether the FEI innovation should continue. Rogers and Shoemaker's perceived characteristics of innovations assessment categories relative advantage, compatibility, observability, complexity, and trialability were used to assess the extent to which the perceived attributes of the FEI innovation affected teachers' attitudes and receptivity toward FEI. Compatibility showed a significant negative correlation with opinion about FEI, while observability had a significant positive relationship. Contributions of this research include increased understanding of the role of individual characteristics and perceived attributes of an innovation in determining receptivity to innovative change, when participation in the innovation is mandatory.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Educational innovations -- South Dakota
School improvement programs -- South Dakota
Educational change




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