University of Leicester
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Multiple third spaces and spirals of organizational dysfunction : an analysis of the interaction of cultures and micropolitics in a military English language school in the Middle East

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:43 authored by Geoffrey Lanagan
Utilising an ethnographic case study approach, this thesis reports an investigation into the interaction of cultures and micro-politics in a military English language school in the Middle East.;The research identified a number of 'large' cultures. It is shown these large cultures interacted with, influenced and permeated the school organisation. The evidence indicates there were multiple, divergent organisational cultures rather than a single, holistic school culture. The research also shows how such cultural forces may be in conflict with teacher perceptions of what constitutes an effective learning environment. Furthermore, these overlapping cultures, sometimes complementary but often competing and conflicting, created multiple organisational third spaces which, in turn, afforded opportunities for micro-political activity.;The research considers a number of incidents and the micro-political processes which occurred during the six month study. The findings indicate the application of 'non-legitimate' institutional power may lead to staff resentment and resistance. In addition, as the power relationship between management and staff is asymmetrical, it is shown such resistance is likely to be non-confrontational and 'off-kilter'. Staff resorted to a range of micro-political strategies, including humour, to subvert the formal power structure. The model derived from the study, spirals of organisational dysfunction, is a means of explaining and understanding the organisational interaction in its various forms of oppression and resistance.;The study addresses a number of methodological issues arising from the investigation into the micro-politics of a small culture. It is shown that the role of the observant participant affords unique insight yet raises ethical issues.


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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



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