A culture framework for education: Defining quality values and their impact in U.S. high schools

James R. Detert, Karen Seashore Louis, Roger G. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In this article, we address the relatively unsubstantiated claim that there is an important relationship between organizational culture and the ability to successfully implement Quality Management (QM) programs in schools. This relationship has not been adequately explored in the literature due to the lack of a comprehensive framework for defining and measuring the values and beliefs at the root of specific types of organizational cultures. After presenting some background on organizational culture used in research to date, we outline the specific values and beliefs underlying QM practice in schools. These QM values and the accompanying propositions provide an important step toward future empirical research aimed at understanding the relationship between organizational culture, the implementation of systemic improvement initiatives like QM, and key organizational and individual outcomes. The context of our research is U.S. high schools, but the general principles could be applied to other educational settings as well. The results of our review suggest that some of the quality management culture dimensions are highly consistent with educational research on school improvement, while others are more controversial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-212
Number of pages30
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the support for this work provided by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Bush Foundation of Minnesota. The authors are listed in alphabetical order; the value of each person's contributions is difficult to establish.


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