Help us sharing our research, consultation and experiences

Donate Now

The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

In the shadows of betrayal: Trust and meaningful impact in the face of rapid change

Across the globe today, educational reform efforts to improve schools are at the forefront of social change movements and political agendas. In the United States, such efforts over the last 5 years have radically shifted the experience of teaching and learning in public and private schools. New York City is considered the pinnacle of educational innovation in the United States. Publishing companies, educational consulting and technology firms bid contracts for the latest products, newest services or pilot programs. So many changes have taken place in the last 5 years that they are difficult to grasp and keep track of, even for the most involved and skilled experts. Though necessary, these changes in technology, policies, structures, and roles have been disruptive to the schools and individuals working within them similar to the way major changes have impacted other types of organizations (Krantz, 2001). In the context of major upheaval and rapid change in organizations, issues of change management and trust are critical for several reasons. Most notably, change places extraordinary pressure on members and leaders of organizations (Krantz, 2001; Krantz, 2006). In the context of schools, trust as it relates to change management and psychodynamic approaches has been given comparatively less attention in the last 10 years. Previous studies and existing theories have offered insights into leadership, systems analysis, management and trust in schools (Forsyth, Van Houtte & Van Maele, 2014). However, these frameworks assume that trust is a positive aspect of organizational life needed for high performance and effective management. In this paper, I suggest that a more critical perspective of trust in schools is needed - one that questions the assumption that trust is always positive and necessary for change and performance to effectively take place. Emerging research on non-school organizations has begun to offer a critical perspective, indicating that mistrust and even betrayal may be necessary for change and performance (Gabriel, 2012; Krantz, 2006). This research has informed the research I conducted in schools.