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Working the System: School counselors aligning to advantage

Author(s): Susan Braube Stillman, Ed.D.

Journal: Grounded Theory Review : an International Journal
ISSN 1556-1542

Volume: 10;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: grounded theory | school counselors | qualitative research

This study, based in the substantive area of school counselors, was conducted using classical grounded theory, an inductive, systemic method of data collection and analysis. The core variable, or the school counselors’ main concern and how they were resolving it, emerged as the need to develop and implement a comprehensive program within the complex ecology of a school. Working the system: Aligning to advantage was discovered to be the school counselors’ resolving process. The data revealed that as school counselors work the system, they engage in strategic actions of aligning to advantage themselves, others, and/or the overall system. Working the system comprises three stages: accessing, engaging, and sustaining, each associated with aligning behaviors, which have personal, interpersonal, and structural dimensions. The theory is useful to school counselors and other leaders engaged in systemic change in complex ecological systems.
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