A Case Study Of Innovation Adoption: The Integration Of Severely Handicapped Children Into Typical Public Schools

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Leadership


Daniel D. Sage


School administration

Subject Categories

Special Education Administration


In 1975, Baldridge and Burnham stated that the study of organizational factors as they relate to change was important for two reasons: (a) organizations are now the major adopters of social innovations, and (b) organizational dynamics are the major independent variables that influence the amount, rate and permanence of innovation.

Based on the Baldridge and Burnham (1975) statement, this study was undertaken with the intent of developing an in-depth understanding of systemic organizational factors and environmental characteristics of an educational organization which had initiated, implemented and continued an innovative program.

The case study methodology was used, allowing for an in-depth analysis of an education organization, its environment and subsystems, and the process involved in the initiation, implementation and continuation of an innovative social policy. The Madison, Wisconsin, Metropolitan School District was chosen as the site. Data were gathered from interviews, observation and study of printed material. Six topic areas were identified for their significance in previously conducted studies as affecting the adoption and implementation of change. Data were coded utilizing the six topic areas as a framework. Salient factors were identified and analyzed in terms of their relationship to past theory and research in the area of innovation adoption and change. From these comparisons hypotheses were generated as to the adoption of innovation and change in education organizations. Future research should focus on the quantitative study of these conditions as independent variables with the adoption of innovation as the dependent variable.


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