Teacher teaming as a process of a changing network. Cross-case analysis of Finnish and Slovenian schools

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

University of Oulu, Linnanmaa, Arina auditorium (TA105)

Topic of the dissertation

Teacher teaming as a process of a changing network. Cross-case analysis of Finnish and Slovenian schools

Doctoral candidate

Master of Science in Business Administration Branka Likon

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Management and International Business

Subject of study

Management

Opponent

Associate professor Elena Oikkonen, LUT University

Second opponent

Professor Marko Kohtamäki, University of Vaasa

Custos

Professor Vesa Puhakka, University of Oulu

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Teacher teaming as a process of a changing network - Cross-case analysis of Finnish and Slovenian schools

This study addresses the need for an in-depth understanding of how the process of teacher teaming evolves over time. It combines the concept of viewing teams as dynamic hubs of participants and the social network approach with processual research.

Teacher teaming is considered a process of emerging, developing, and dissolving teacher teams, with a focus on the alteration of relationships between teachers affecting informal teacher networks within a school. The research is at the intersection of processual research, social networks, and professional learning communities. It focuses on team fluidity and the process following a process-relational view of emerging reality, and moves away from the mainstream approaches in team research that study change in the work of teacher teams or that address the implementation of teams.

The aim of this study is to increase both empirical and theoretical understanding of the process of teacher teaming in two schools and the connections between different events, and to compare the evolving change patterns across cases.

The data in the study comprises interviews with the principals and teachers from one Finnish school and one Slovenian school, over the course of school years, as well as the principals' and assistant principals' observation notes, the researcher’s field notes, and school documentation. In contrast to the prevailing view of teacher teaming as pre-planned managerial actions designed to change the school structure, and the work within teams that consequently brings about change in the teaching and learning process, this study adds to our understanding of teacher teaming as a continuous, unpredictable process that unfolds through the combining of multiple events.

The empirical analysis identified five main characteristics of the teacher teaming process, considering their evolution through events and their connection with spatial and temporal settings: the dynamic nature of influencing factors, the multi-event nature of the teacher teaming process, dynamism in
critical events, the variety of characteristics of change, and the continuous process of change. This study contributes to the studies on teacher teams and management in schools, and enables the building of professional learning communities through networking by following a process-processrelational view of becoming and by considering past and future events.
Last updated: 10.2.2022