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Investigating the relationship between learning community participation and job satisfaction in a K–12 regional special education collaborative

Susan Cuoco Hassan, Johnson & Wales University


Improving student outcomes has become the concern of educators across the nation. Fueled by public demands, education reform has been the subject of federal legislation (Goals 2000; No Child Left Behind Act of 2001). Education reform is often perceived as an event or series of events with anticipated endings or peddling the next new fad that has a lifespan. For each event, schools must gear up taxing limited resources and the morale of educators. Embracing change as a continuous process of renewal and embedding processes that not only support but also thrive on change necessitate a transformation of schools' fundamental rules. Such transformation demands more than teachers teaching and students learning. In this study, literature on learning organizations in industry and schools is explored. Preliminary research shows learning organizations are one way to establish processes that thrive on change (DuFour and Eaker, 1998). Such organizations can turn the importance of teachers teaching into the power of teachers learning. Research on job satisfaction shows that quality of work is related to better outcomes and depends on workers' motivation and job satisfaction (Hackman & Oldham, 1975). The quality of work produced by teachers and support staff matters in order to obtain results. Although connectivity between participating in learning organizations and job satisfaction is implied in the literature, this study focuses on examining whether this connectivity is explicit and direct. Using correlational research, the researcher investigated three related questions: (1) To what degree do employees consider the organization a learning community? (2) Is there a relationship between the degree of participation in a learning community and job satisfaction? (3) Does this relationship differ for professionals and non-professionals? A convenience sample consisting of 33 special education teachers and 57 instructional assistants/paraprofessionals completed 3 surveys: Learning Organization Survey, Learning Community Activities Survey and sections of the Job Diagnostic Survey. Several participants were interviewed to illuminate survey results. This study was undertaken to advise development of a learning community in one regional special education organization, including the impact on job satisfaction, execution of specific activities and allocation of staffing and funding resources.

Subject Area

School administration|Special education

Recommended Citation

Cuoco Hassan, Susan, "Investigating the relationship between learning community participation and job satisfaction in a K–12 regional special education collaborative" (2007). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3270295.