Collaboration in school-business initiatives

Caroline Rubin Temlock, Fordham University


This study examined the nature of collaborative relationships between businesses and schools by looking at one school-to-work initiative involving a New York City high school and its business partners. The purpose and focus of the study were derived from several pivotal questions: (a) What are the key components of a school-business collaborative? (b) How do educators and business people conceptualize collaboration? What assumptions do educators and business people bring to a collaboration? (c) How do educators and business people behave in a collaborative initiative? How do leaders of successful collaboratives behave? (d) What are the stages of a school-business collaborative relationship? Under what conditions are they fostered or hindered? (e) What is the relationship between assumptions and behaviors of learning organizations and those of collaborative partners? A review of the literature in the areas of collaboration, workforce development: school-to-work transition, and learning organizations provided the theoretical framework for the study. The study was conducted using qualitative methodology, through interview and observation as well as through examination of documentation related to the collaborative initiative. Fifteen people were interviewed in a purposeful sampling, including the Principal, the Project Director, teachers, business people, and students. In using a data reduction and verification process seven key themes emerged: structure and stages in the initiative and partnership development, role of the leadership of the partnership, relationship between school and business cultures, link between ownership of the initiative and the nature of the decision-making process, key components of school-business partnership, stumbling blocks to partnership, and the relationship of learning organization behavior to partnership. This study especially illuminates the differences between school and business cultures, and discloses preliminary and intermediary processes that can be undertaken to minimize the differences and maximize the commonalities between partnering organizations. Based on the literature review and the themes that emerge from the data, this study highlights the need for organizations to assess their readiness for change, coorient before joining in partnership, include all stakeholders in the collaboration, and for leaders of the collaboration to search for solutions to problems beyond the vision of any one organization.

Subject Area

School administration|Business community|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Temlock, Caroline Rubin, "Collaboration in school-business initiatives" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9708255.