District leaders' perceptions of organizational capacity for innovation in two school districts

Jennifer Alves-Cedeno, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to examine district leaders’ perceptions of how to build organizational capacity for innovation in two school districts. The capability of an organization to formulate novel solutions that interrupt standard practice to better achieve goals and respond effectively to changing contexts is its innovation capacity. This study was an exploration of how leadership practices, organizational structures, and organizational culture promote systemic capacity for innovation. Case study was selected as the methodology for the study. The methods utilized included participant observation, interviews, and document analyses to investigate two innovative school districts chosen from the League of Innovative Schools and innovateNJ consortia in the state of New Jersey. Major findings from the study identified that the three aspects of structure, culture, and leadership practices needed to be aligned and coordinated to successfully initiate and manage innovative change. Twelve strategies for building capacity for innovation were discussed. Districts created the conditions for individuals and groups in the organization to adapt, innovate, and improve consistently by investing in social, human, and technical capital. The districts focused on the process of diffusing the innovation by looking at four elements: innovation, time, communication, and the social system.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Pedagogy|School administration

Recommended Citation

Alves-Cedeno, Jennifer, "District leaders' perceptions of organizational capacity for innovation in two school districts" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10116323.