The influence of assimilation and retention practices within school organizational culture on Latino-American certified employees in public education

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The influence of assimilation and retention practices within school organizational culture on Latino-American certified employees in public education
Benavidez, Veronica Linda
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xiv, 225 leaves : illustrations, forms ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Diversity in the workplace ( lcsh )
Minorities -- Employment -- Colorado ( lcsh )
School environment -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Diversity in the workplace ( fast )
Minorities -- Employment ( fast )
School environment ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 146-151).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision.
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Veronica Linda Benavidez.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
36455663 ( OCLC )
LD1190.E3 1995d .B46 ( lcc )

Full Text
Veronica Linda Benavidez
B.A., University of Colorado, 1978
M.A., University of Colorado, 1984
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Administration, Curriculum, and Supervision
August 17, 1995

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Veronica Linda Benavidez
has been approved for the
School of

Benavidez, Veronica Linda (Ph.D., Education)
The Influence of Assimilation and Retention Practices within
School Organizational Culture on Latino-American
Certified Employees
Thesis directed by Professor William Michael Martin
Currently 25 percent of the children attending Colorado
schools are children of color. Various statistical analyses
show that children of color along with poor children constitute
the fastest growing segment of Colorado's school-age
population and they are the students whom the Colorado
education system serves least successfully (Weiss,1993).
Only 9% of the teachers in the Colorado K-12 school system
are teachers of color (Weiss, 1993). This small percentage
creates a limited presence of teachers of color in our schools
and influences schools' organizational culture in the retention
of certified employees of color. An assumption of this study
is that assimilation practices within a school's organizational
culture directly influences the retention of Latino-American
certified employees within public schools.

There has been limited research relative to hiring people
of color in the business arena and in higher education and
which links hiring people of color in school districts relative
to organizational/school culture and assimilation practices.
This study added to the research on assimilation,
organizational culture and retention.
The study investigated the influence of assimilation and
retention practices within the school organizational culture on
the retention of Latino-American certified employees of color.
It was hypothesized that there is a relationship by ethnicity
among organizational culture characteristics, retention and
assimilation practices; there will be a variance in perception
regarding assimilation and retention practices between and
among ethnic groups. This study is linked to an investigation
of African-American certified employees (Goodloe, 1995). The
following research questions guided the study. 1) What is the
relationship between organizational culture characteristics
identified by African-American and Latino-American certified
employees recognized as 'stayers'? 2) What is the relationship

between certified employees from White, African-American
and Latino-American ethnic backgrounds and retention?
3) What is the relationship between assimilation practices and
ethnicity? 4) What is the relationship between ethnicity,
organizational culture characteristics and the four
assimilation models?
Chi square tests yielded statistically significant
relationships by ethnicity relative to the following
organizational culture characteristics, retention and
assimilation practices: respectful treatment by principal,
friendships across racial lines, and comfort in discussing
issues of bias, employee dress, school organizational norms,
school organizational procedures, values and norms of the
majority ethnic group, comfort discussing personal values or
beliefs, comfort with the treatment of employees of color,
staff support of the hiring of a multiethnic staff and
principal's value of an employees unique contributions to the
school. No other aspects of organizational culture were found
to show significance.

The conclusions of this study suggest that significant
characteristics of organizational culture do influence people
of color yet sometimes differ between and among specific
ethnic groups. It also suggests that school personnel can
examine everyday practices and make changes with the intent
to create an organizational school culture more respective of
diversity and responsive to different cultural values,
attitudes, and behaviors employees bring to the workplace.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the
candidates dissertation. I recommend its publication.

To Darold and Chris,
for your love and support.

I. THE PROBLEM.............................................. 1
Collaborative Nature of the Study.......................4
Background of the Problem.............................. 5
Description of the Problem Situation....................8
Statement of the Problem...............................1 0
Rationale & Theoretical Framework......................11
Organizational Culture...........................1 3
Concept of Assimilation..........................1 5
Concept of Retention.............................1 6
Research Questions.....................................1 7
Statement of Hypotheses................................1 7
Importance of the study................................1 8
Delimitations of the Study.............................1 9
Limitations of the Study...............................1 9

Outline of Remainder of Thesis.......................21
II. REVIEW OF LITERATURE....................................23
Overview.............................................2 3
Organization of the Present Chapter..................2 7
Literature Based Premise for the Study................27
Need for Study........................................41
Conceptual Framework................................. 46
Assimilation.................................. 48
Anglo Conformity Model..........................51
Melting Pot Model...............................52
Cultural Pluralism Model........................52
Multiethnic Ideology Model......................53
Organizational Culture.........................5 3
Retention......................................5 8
Summary of Literature Review..........................61
III. METHODOLOGY............................................64

Description of Research Methodology....................66
Sampling Procedures...............................67
Data Collection..................................6 8
Research Design.........................................7 0
Selection of Subjects...................................71
Instrumentation.........................................7 5
Reid Procedures............................................81
Data Processing and Analysis............................8 3
IV. DESCRIPTION OF FINDINGS...................................87
Overview................................................8 7
Descriptive Analysis....................................8 8
Research Question 1.....................................89
Quantitative Findings............................9 0
Qualitative Insights.............................92
Research Question 1 Summary.............................9 9
Quantitative.....................................9 9

Research Question 2..................................101
Quantitative Findings...........................102
Qualitative Insights............................103
Research Question 2 Summary...........................107
Quantitative................................... 107
Research Question 3...................................108
Quantitative Findings...........................109
Qualitative Insights............................112
Research Question 3 Summary...........................117
Research Question 4.................................119
Research Question 4 Summary...........................122
Demographics of the Sample............................122
Summary of Chapter....................................123
Summary of Major Findings

Research Question 1.............................133
Research Question 2.............................134
Research Question 3.............................135
Research Questions..............................137
Conclusion 1....................................137
Conclusion 2...................................138
Conclusion 4....................................141
Conclusion 5....................................142
Conclusion 6...................................142
A. Definition of Terms................................152
B. Seven Stages of Assimilation.......................157
C. Survey Instrument.................................158
D. Systematic Observation Guide......................167

E. Written Script for Survey Administration.............168
F. Instrument Analysis..................................169
G. Research Questions...................................178
H. Instrument Analysis Matrix...........................179
I. Model of Analysis....................................180
J. The Culture Audit....................................183
K. Adaptations of Thomas (1991) Work...................194
L. Stages of Diversity Survey...........................197
M. Adaptations Gardenswartz & Rowe (1993).............204
N. Lampes Work (1975)..................................2 07
O. Adaptations of Lampes Work (1975)...................208
P. Attrition From Teaching Careers......................209
Q. Sample Letter of Introduction........................211
R. Informed Consent Form................................213
S. Principal Questions..................................218
T. Observation Log......................................223

1 School Make-up/Response Rate Information................73
2 Ethnic Make-up by School................................73
3 Ethnicity, Work Related, Personal, Compensation........103
4 Ethnic Make-up of Sample.............................. 123
5 Age Distribution........................................123
6 Professional Experience................................123
7 District Experience....................................123
1 Statistically Significant Organizational Culture
Characteristics Identified by Latino-American
2 Statistically Significant Retention Practices
Identified by Certified Employees................. 101
3 Statistically Significant Assimilation Practices
Identified by Certified Employees...................109
4 Certified Employee Perceptions Compared to
Principal Perceptions................................124
4.1 Total Sample Frequency Count by Ethnicity...........120

When I heard a school teacher warn the other night about
the invasion of the American educational system by foreign
curriculums, I wanted to yell at the television set, 'Lady,
they're already here.' It has already begun because the world is
here. The world has been arriving at these shores for at least
ten thousand years from Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Ishmael Reed, Editorial Director 1991, Yardbird Press (cited in
Loden & Rosener, 1991, p. 36)
Currently 25 percent of the children attending Colorado
schools are children of color. Various statistical analyses
show that children of color along with poor children constitute
the fastest growing segment of Colorado's school-age
population and they are the students whom the Colorado
education system serves least successfully (Weiss, 1993).
The lack of organizational response to the achievement
needs of students of color can be demographically shown by

statistics which illustrate that 36 percent of African-
American (AA) and 43 percent of Latino-American (LA)
students leave Colorado schools without earning a diploma
(CDE, 1993). These statistics demonstrate an overwhelming
need for change in status quo practices and organizational
culture characteristics of schools.
An additional motivation for Change is the fact that in
Colorado, the Black and Latino school-age population is
projected to increase 44 percent, between 1995 and 2010
while the rest of the school-age population will decrease 10
percent (Weiss, 1993).
Only nine percent of the teachers in the Colorado K-12
school system are teachers of color (Weiss, 1993). This small
percentage creates a limited presence of teachers of color in
our schools and impacts schools' organizational culture in the
hiring and retention of teachers of color. An assumption of
this study is that schools' organizational culture and
assimilation practices directly impact teachers of color
recognized as 'stayers' within schools. It seems important to
examine these practices and organizational culture

characteristics (OCC) in order to bring about change.
if students of color are to be prepared to function in this
increasingly multicultural society, educators must begin
creating schools and classrooms which embody and value
respectful interaction of all people in society. The ethnic and
racial make-up of the nation's classrooms is changing
significantly. Students of color constitute a majority in 25 of
the nation's largest school districts. Students of color will
make up nearly half (46%) of the nation's school-age youth by
2020 (Brandon, 1995).
In light of this, retention practices take on a different
hue. Alexander and Miller (1989) cite the American Council on
Education Report One-Third of a Nation, which asserts that
seeing fewer AA teachers over the course of a student's
schooling will represent a loss for White students, who
otherwise only rarely are exposed personally and directly to
AAs in professional roles. Irvine (as cited in Alexander &
Miller, 1989) affirms that White students need AA teachers so
that they can (1) gain a realistic sense of the multiethnic
diversity in our society, and (2) modify the stereotypes and

erroneous beliefs they hold about AA people. This assertion
can reasonably be applied to LA teachers as well.
Stages of work environment socialization and career
development evolve differently for individuals and have
historically been dependent on comfort level within the work
environment and ability to assimilate within organizational
practices. People are less likely to assimilate when practices
in the work environment place little or no value on or respect
for their cultural differences and values. In situations where
an individual's ideas, concerns, beliefs and values are
minimally a part of discussions surrounding decision making,
then they are more likely to agree to a common course of
action. People are generally more committed to that which
they have created.
Collaborative Nature of the Study
This study was completed in partnership with [Goodloe,
1995]. At the onset of preliminary discussions of our
dissertation preproposal during Patterned Inquiry Domain, in
the doctoral program at the University of Colorado at Denver
course work we agreed to collaboratively link our work. This

collaboration included identification of the problem,
theoretical framework and methodological procedure
development. We determined that chapters I, II, and III would
be co-authored. Data gathering, coding and analysis were done
jointly. Both researchers benefited from general research
questions and findings. Chapter IV is different only in the
presentation of data which separates information by ethnicity
from each researchers work. Focus for Goodloe was on AA
certified employees and on LA certified employees for
Benavidez. In chapter V, we came together to co-author
general findings and recommendations jointly using all
available data and then separately reported out findings
specific to a particular ethnic group studied. We believe that
our conjoint efforts resulted in valuable scholarly dialogue and
professional work that would not otherwise have occurred.
Background of the Problem
The ethnic make-up of the teaching staff at each school
sends a clear message to students about the school's
organizational culture and its value of diversity. An
integrated staff acknowledges for students that diversity is

valued, while a staff that is primarily homogeneous may
represent a lack of tolerance for difference. Strong school
cultures build traditions and celebrate rituals that testify to
the importance and significance of shared values (Deal, 1982).
The input and involvement of persons of color in the
development of a school's organizational culture impact
practices at the school site.
Children of all racial and ethnic groups must have access
to attractive role models. Ethnically diverse role models are
needed because of their many roles, perspectives and practices
(Hilliard & Pine, 1990).
How educators deal with this issue is a critical step in
supporting the increased achievement of students of color and
the broader respectful interaction of all people. Because we
live in an increasingly multicultural world, we have an
opportunity to capitalize on the richness of cultural
contributions by its people. Pine and Hilliard (1990) note that
it is unequivocally clear that the minority teacher as a role
model is important both to White students and to students of
color, and the importance of such role models will grow as the

population of the United States continues to change.
The domination of a particular ethnicity generally
results in homogeneity which stifles the creativity and
breadth of view that is essential to compete in today's
marketplace (Morrison, 1992). An example of this practice
includes the "good old boy" network. To the casual observer,
such practices may be evidence of nothing more than "business
as usual." They often represent "the way things have always
been done" and may predate the contemporary leadership in an
organization. Employees seldom question long-standing
traditions and instead, simply learn to live with convention.
Subtly racist practices that are part of the school's
organizational culture employed in most traditional school
organizations reinforce the value of homogeneity and limit the
retention of teachers of color. Examples of these practices
which are outlined by Loden and Rosener (1991) include: (1)
dominant group standards universally applied to employee
performance and style; (2) continuous competency testing of
diverse employees; (3) maintenance of closed communication
networks; (4) maintenance of closed decision making systems;

and (5) suppression of support groups for diverse employees (p.
This convention is manifested through cultural myopia,
which is the belief that one's particular culture is appropriate
in all situations and relevant to all others. Although these
practices may not appear to be particularly detrimental, they
have a different impact on mainstream employees who
benefit from the traditional culture and decisions of the
dominant group culture and on diverse employees. While
these practices positively reinforce those in the mainstream
who come closest to embodying the homogeneous ideal, they
often negatively reinforce and diminish people of color (POC)
who either cannot or will not conform, particularly in the
business sector (Loden & Rosener, 1991).
Description of the Problem Situation
Schools', educators', and administrators' response to the
increase of cultural diversity and its impact on organizational
culture varies, dependent on three variables: (1) the
demographics of the school environment which will be
significantly impacted by the year 2000: "With the pace of

change currently occurring throughout the labor force and the
marketplace, merely tolerating diversity will no longer be
possible if an organization expects to succeed" (Loden &
Rosener, 1991, p. 11); (2) personal experience and interaction
with POC tied to organizational culture through daily
experience: "The everyday conflicts that flare up and the
tension created between co-workers over a comment, gesture,
or joke perhaps delivered without malice but received as an
insult" (Loden & Rosener, 1991); and (3) the degree to which
they feel supported or ignored by the maintenance of status
quo practices in the work environment which may significantly
impact the retention of POC. The more negative attention
called to differences, the more likely it is that POC will be
categorized as "radical" or a threat to the status quo.
The varied response to cultural diversity is manifested
through both implicit and explicit behavior. An example of this
behavior may be an administrator who vocally advocates for
greater ethnic diversity, yet provides no candidates who are
ethnically diverse for consideration when there is an
opportunity to hire new people.

Positive role modeling and characterization are crucial
for ensuring commitment of minority youngsters to
schooling. Without sufficient exposure to minority
teachers throughout their education, both minority and
majority students come to characterize the teaching
profession and the academic enterprise in general- as
better suited to whites ... As the proportion of minority
teachers falls, the perceived importance of academic
achievement to minority students also declines
(Loehr,1988, p. 32).
Holding on to the status quo, which generally represents
the dominant group values, supports the continued absence of
the acknowledgment of contributions from peoples of varying
ethnicity. Williams (cited in Persell, 1977) "ascertains that
certain kinds of institutions, laws, theories, ideologies, which
are claimed as natural, or as having universal validity or
significance, simply have to be seen as expressing and
ratifying the domination of a particular class (p. 10)."
Statement of the Problem
The purpose of this study was to investigate the
influence of assimilation practices within the school
organizational culture on the retention of certified employees
of color. Our null hypothesis stated that the school

organizational culture does not impact certified employees of
color recognized as 'stayers.1 We chose to focus on AA and LA
racial ethnic groups because of the significant growth in their
numbers in Colorado. According to the 1990 census, the AA
population in Colorado grew from 102,000 in 1980 to 133,000
in 1990, which was a percentage increase of 30.9 percent. The
LA population in Colorado grew from 340,000 in 1980 to
424,000 in 1990, which was a percentage increase of 24.9
percent. We identified and examined values, rituals, practices
and processes of assimilation evident in schools which
contributed to the development of organizational culture. This
study relied on specific definition of terms for common
understanding. These terms can be found in Appendix A.
Rationale & Theoretical Framework
The rationale and theoretical framework will examine
OCC, retention and assimilation practices, and four models of
assimilation. Several common practices employed in most
traditional organizational cultures reinforce assimilation.
These include nepotism, and the "good old boy" network. These
practices do in fact influence the retention of employees.

The rate of inclusion of minority group members
influences the extent to which they can realize equal
opportunity and equal treatment and the extent to which
members of the majority group can free themselves from
stereotypical thinking and prejudice (Pine & Hilliard,
1990, p. 597).
For the purpose of this study we used Schein's (1992)
research model of organizational culture as we investigated
its influence on the retention of certified employees of color
in schools. We chose his work because Schein's (1992) model
provided guidance to Pedersen and Sorensen (1989) who
applied the operationalization of categorical analysis to
organizational cultures drawing parallels to identifiable
attributes within school cultures. Thomas (1991) suggested
that it is important to identify the fundamental elements of an
organizational culture, particularly elements that influence or
determine workplace philosophy about diversity. Our
adaptation of Thomas's (1991), Gardenswartz and Rowe's
(1993), and Lampe's (1975) work will provide information
which supports the basis for our hypotheses.
The theoretical framework of assimilation developed by
Gordon (1964), furthered by Murguia (1975), and coupled with

the multiethnic ideology developed by Banks (1988) guided our
work as we attempted to identify evidence of these four
models of assimilation present in the organizational culture of
selected schools. Murguia (1975) identified three models of
assimilation: Anglo conformity; melting pot; and cultural
pluralism. Banks (1988) acknowledged the existence of the
first three models as identified through the work of Gordon
(1964) and expanded the thinking on assimilation to include
multiethnic ideology as an additional model to consider.
Organizational Culture
Schein (1984) defines culture not only as a listing of
cultural artifacts, experience, systems of shared meanings,
values, or norms but as patterns of basic assumptions. These
are invented, discovered, or developed by a given group. As the
group learns to cope with its problems well enough, solutions
are considered valid and are, therefore, taught to new members
as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to
those problems (cited in Pedersen & Sorensen, 1989). Schein's
(1980) model describes three levels of culture and their
interaction. Level one includes artifacts and creations,

technology, art and visible and audible behavior patterns.
Level two includes values testable in the physical environment
and by social consensus. Level three includes basic
assumptions, relationship to environment, nature of reality
time and space, human nature, human activity and human
relationships (cited in Pedersen & Sorensen, 1989). We used
three levels within the model to identify specific aspects of
schools' organizational culture by observing normal daily
routines and interactions of employees at each school.
The nature of daily life in schools presents a different
picture of organizational culture. Wyner (1991) presents the
nature of school culture in three ways. The conception we will
use, which is in concert with Schein's (1980) model, treats
social structure and culture as intertwined. It identifies
strong patterns of differential sharing of cultural knowledge
in the social unit.
At times, organizational cultural practices may not
appear to be particularly detrimental, though they bring about
a different outcome for dominant group employees who benefit
from the traditional culture and decisions of those in power

than for diverse employees.
Concept of Assimilation
Assimilation means to blend the culture and structure of
one ethnic group with the culture and structure of another
group. We used four models of assimilation from the works of
Gordon (1964), Murguia (1975)* and Banks (1988), and
supported by Jiobu (1988) as described below, to examine the
prevalence of each model within the organizational culture of
the schools identified.
Early work on assimilation contends that there are two
possible outcomes (Jiobu, 1988; Murguia, 1975). In one
process, Anglo conformity, the minority loses its
distinctiveness and becomes like the majority group which
does not change. In the Melting pot model, the ethnic and
majority groups blend homogeneously. Distinctiveness is lost
and a different person results. The cultural pluralist model
(Gordon, 1964; Murguia, 1975) respects indigenous cultures,
languages, religions and ethnicity of all people and is
accepting of differences.
Banks'(1988) more recent work broadens the discussion

to include the concept of multiethnic ideology which envisions
a society where individuals are free to maintain their ethnic
identities. They function within the common culture that
maintains over arching national idealized values such as
justice, equality and human dignity.
For the purposes of this research, the assimilation
models will be hereafter referenced as (1) conforming, (2)
integrative, (3) inclusive, and (4) pluralist. They were used to
identify how processes and practices within each model
impact people of color in the school/organization. The
progressive nature of these models comprise the assimilation
continuum used for this study. This continuum represents a
range of perceptions (from conforming, to integrative, to
inclusive, to pluralist) about practices within the assimilation
models. It is important to understand that the models
themselves provide a framework for the range of perceptions
on the continuum.
Concept of Retention
We explored factors associated with the relationship
between and among AA and LA certified employees and the

connection between OCCs, assimilation and retention practices
identified in schools' organizational culture.
Research Questions
The following research questions were used to guide the
(1) What is the relationship between OCCs identified by
AA and LA certified employees recognized as 'stayers'?
(2) What is the relationship between certified employees
from White, AA and LA ethnic backgrounds and retention?
(3) What is the relationship between assimilation
practices and ethnicity?
(4) What is the relationship between ethnicity, OCCs and
the four assimilation models?
Statement of Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated to better
analyze the research questions quantitatively:
(1) There is a relationship between OCCs identified by
AA and LA certified employees recognized as 'stayers'.
(2) There is a relationship between certified employees
from White, AA (Goodloe,1995) and LA (Benavidez, 1995)

ethnic backgrounds and retention.
(3) There is a relationship between assimilation
practices and ethnicity.
(4) There is a relationship between ethnicity, OCCs and
the four assimilation models.
Importance of the Study
We live in a world that can ill afford to neglect the
richness of its diversity. The continual neglect of diversity
issues within society and the educational system affects
student preparation for functioning in a multicultural world.
If students are to be prepared to function in a multicultural
world, then we must bring that world into our schools and our
Having a diverse teaching staff and an environment in
which diversity is thriving and where it is appreciated,
respected, valued and celebrated is a crucial part of making
this educational goal a reality. It is imperative that we begin
to identify specific attributes of the organizational culture
that support people of color who are 'stayers.' The exclusion
of any particular ethnic group generally results in homogeneity

which stifles the creativity and breadth of view that is
essential to compete in today's marketplace (Morrison, 1992).
Delimitations of the Study
The following were delimitations of the study:
(1) The rigidity of the assimilation models may not
allow for overlap within the models. The theoretical nature of
the assimilation models may not discriminate adequately.
(2) Using four schools of differing grade levels from one
public school district may yield inconsistent data.
(3) Using a standardized interview guide may not provide
depth of information and honest feedback.
(4) Adaptation of business oriented cultural audit
questionnaires may not be applicable to school settings.
(5) Comparative use of ethnic perceptions differ based
on cultural values and beliefs.
Limitations of the Study
The following were limitations of the study:
(1) Respondents may not provide honest feedback on a
sensitive topic such as assimilation. Respondents may have
difficulty answering questions asked by persons they are not

familiar with regarding these sensitive issues.
(2) Variance in perception impacts answers given by
respondents. A person's perspective on any one issue may
differ due to personal background, personal experience within
the school culture, and length of service within the school or
(3) Respondent discomfort with topic may lead to an
unwillingness to participate. Some people may choose not to
participate at all due to their personal uneasiness with the
issues raised.
(4) The numbers of certified employees of color may be
limited at a given school site due to capping of those numbers
by school district policy. Denver Public School District is
under a Desegregation Federal Court Order. The court has set
goals for the school district concerning staff composition.
Staff ethnic make-up of each school must reflect parity of
student population by minority/majority percentages district-
(5) There will be no systematic seeking of certified
employees who are classified as leavers. Under the Federal

Right to Privacy Act, the school district is restricted from
providing personal information to us.
Outline of Remainder of Thesis
Chapter II provides a review of the literature on
assimilation; assimilation models; organizational culture; and
retention; the concepts of ethnicity, valuing diversity, and
dominant group culture.
The following are examined: assimilation models and
inherent assimilation and retention practices in school
organizational culture and its influence on people in the
organization; school OCCs and its relationship to certified
employees of color recognized as 'stayers'; the relationship of
the concepts of ethnicity, valuing diversity, and dominant
group culture.
Chapter III outlines the methodology of data gathering. A
quantitative approach supported by qualitative data is used.
Data address the study's research questions. A three part
procedure is used in data gathering. (1) A survey instrument,
Stages of Diversity Survey with staff was administered at
four schools; (2) systematic observations and analyses of

school mission statements; and (3) follow-up interviews with
the building principals. Total sample and certified staff by
elementary and secondary level were placed within a range on
the assimilation continuum based on responses and data
Chapter IV reports the results of the study using
quantitative and qualitative data from the survey instrument,
follow-up interviews with principals, systematic, observations
of meetings and interactions, and analysis of school mission
Chapter V provides a summary of the study, reports
major findings and draws conclusions based on analysis of the
findings. Additionally, the chapter provides recommendations
for further research for educators and school districts.

/ know that I am often not taken seriously in my work simply
because of my Hispanic appearance. Before I say a word, I'm
prejudged because I don't have a white complexion. It's not
something that's talked about all the time, but it's always
there. Every Hispanic thinks about it.
Omar Alvarez, Mortgage Loan Agent (cited in Loden & Rosener,
1991, p. 57)
in this chapter an historical context for the study is
presented and the need for the research is established. The
conceptual framework is clarified with reference to studies of
assimilation, organizational culture, and retention. The
chapter includes a concise review of the literature examining
assimilation, assimilation models, organizational culture, and
retention as it relates to certified employees classified as

The study clarified the relationship between
assimilation practices within schools' organizational cultures
and their influence on AA and LA certified employees
recognized as 'stayers'. AA and LA ethnic groups are the focus
of the study because they are under represented subgroups
among certified employees in public schools. Ethnic group
refers to one whose members entertain a subjective belief in
their common descent because of similarities of physical type
or of customs or both, or because of memories of colonization
and migration. It does not matter whether or not an objective
blood relationship exists (Max Weber [1922], Encyclopedia of
Sociology, 1968, p. 389).
Tajfel (1978), Ashforth & Mael (1989), state that social
identity theory informs us that individual identity the self-
concept in psychological terms is partly defined by various
group affiliations (cited in Cox, 1993). Cox (1993) defines
group identity as a personal affiliation with other people with
whom one shares certain things in common. Brewer and Miller
(1984) capture the importance of group identities well in their
description of social identity theory: An individual's personal

identity is highly differentiated and based in part on
membership in significant social categories, along with the
value and emotional significance attached to that membership
(cited in Cox, 1993).
Ethnicity and cultural identity play a major role in how
employees interact within the workings of structures in a
school's organizational culture. The actual career achievement
of individuals as measured by such things as job performance
ratings may be related to group identities in some
organizations (Cox, 1993).
Cox (1993) asserts that the amount of diversity in both
formal and informal structures of organizations will impact
factors such as creativity, problem solving, and
intraorganizational communications. Organizations may be
thought of as having their own distinctive cultures; therefore,
the degree of congruence or fit between organization and
individual culture is of potential importance to various career
outcomes of individuals. In empirical tests of this
proposition, O'Reilly, Chatman, and Caldwell (1991) and
Chatman (1991) have shown that value congruence between

employees and their firms has a significant effect on
organizational commitment, employment satisfaction,
likelihood to quit, and actual turnover (cited in Gox, 1993).
Cox (1993) states that in school organizations that
promote assimilation and insist on sameness, POC are wasted
human resources. He maintains that in many respects, the
cultural assimilation process is like expecting left-handed
people to write with their right hands because they work in
cultures dominated by right-handers. While it seems like
equal treatment, it isn't. It is frustrating for those employees
who must suppress their identities and makes little use of the
talents and creative potential that they might otherwise bring
to their work.
An assimilation continuum is used as an identifier of the
range of characteristics within the four assimilation models
(described in the conceptual framework section of this
chapter) which are prevalent in organizations and illustrates
their relationship to people of color recognized as 'stayers' in
school organizational culture.

Organization of the Present Chapter
This chapter begins with an overview of the study. An
historical background describes the history and basis for the
study. The need for the study is established by examining
demographics of both workforce and student population within
four identified public schools in an urban system. The
conceptual framework examines assimilation, four models of
assimilation, organizational culture, and retention.
Literature Based Premise for the Study
America, historically defines itself through the eyes of
people who have held the reins of power. The majority view
its culture as the normal way of behaving and seeks to deny
the existence of other cultures. The beliefs and values of
"others" are demeaned or seen as less. "Others" as defined by
Loden and Rosener (1991) are people who are different from
"us" along one or several dimensions, such as age, ethnicity,
gender, race, sexual/ affectional orientation, and so on. In the
United States, the majority culture is White, English-speaking
and Protestant.
As early as 1972, Blauner (1972) acknowledges that

oppression is usually studied for what it does to the
oppressed; even in dictionary definitions the role of the
oppressor is a shadowy one. He clarifies that all forms of
social oppression, whatever their motivation, confers certain
privileges on the individuals and groups that oppress or are
able to benefit from the resultant inequalities. Blauner
(1972) further states that systematic inequality and
systematic injustice are built into the very nature of
stratified societies. He notes that when these inequities and
injustices fall most heavily upon people who differ in color or
national origin because race and ethnicity are primary
principles upon which people are excluded or blocked in the
pursuit of their goals, such a society is in addition racist.
Blauner (1972) states that White Americans enjoy
special privilege in all areas of existence where racial
minorities are systematically excluded or disadvantaged.
McIntosh (1989) explains the phenomenon of "White privilege"
as an example of protected status of Whites in American
society. White privilege is defined as an invisible package of
unearned assets which Whites can count on cashing in each

day, but about which Whites have remained oblivious. It is
also described as an invisible, weightless knapsack of special
provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools
and blank checks for exclusive use by Whites in the United
According to McIntosh (1989) White privilege has turned
out to be an illusive and fugitive subject. She asserts that the
pressure to ignore it is great because in facing it, the myth of
meritocracy must be given up. If the definition of White
privilege is true, McIntosh claims, this is not such a free
country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open
for certain people through no virtue of their own. Bell (1992)
corroborates McIntosh's position when he states that Whites
include themselves in the dominant circle, in an arena in which
most hold no real power, but only their privileged racial
Pine and Hilliard (1990) writing in Kappan state that the
concept of White privilege has historically impacted school
organizational culture as it relates to retention. Pettigrew
and Martin (1987) in collaboration with The Smith Design for

Institutional Diversity (1987) give evidence to support this
When minority teachers make up a small percentage of a
school's teaching staff, they are in triple jeopardy.
First, because they lack contact with minority
colleagues, those in the majority interpret the behavior
of minority teachers through racial and ethnic
stereotypes. They more readily attribute the behavior of
minority colleagues to ethnic or racial characteristics
than to such individual factors as personality or
background. Second, when a teaching staff is strongly
skewed toward members of the majority group, the
evaluation of performance is consistently (if subtly)
biased against minority teachers. Third, members of the
majority group often misunderstand affirmative action
and assume that those who benefit from it are less
competent and less deserving. Research indicates that
numbers matter that the quality of life in an
institution improves for minority group members as
their proportion in the overall population increases. The
rate of inclusion of minority group members influences
the extent to which they can realize equal opportunity
and equal treatment and the extent to which members of
the majority group can free themselves from
stereotypical thinking and prejudice. Recent research
suggests that 20% is the minimum rate of inclusion
required to diffuse stereotypes and other negative
factors affecting minority members of organizations,
(cited in Pine & Hilliard, 1990, p. 597)
Loden and Rosener (1991) identify several common
practices employed in most traditional organizations that

reinforce the value of homogeneity. Examples include but are
not limited to nepotism, cronyism and the "good old boy"
network. They recognize that to the casual observer these
practices may be evidence of nothing more than "business as
usual." They often represent "the way things have always been
done" and may predate the contemporary leadership in an
Loden and Rosener (1991) claim that ethnic differences
in employee make-up decrease dramatically toward top levels
of the organization. In a 1986 survey conducted by Kom/Ferry
International among 1,600 CEOs, less than 1 percent of the
total sample consisted of POC. in a similar study conducted by
Heidrick and Struggles among top executives in 1987, only .5
percent of those surveyed were AA and no LA were identified
(cited in Loden and Rosener, 1991).
Loden and Rosener (1991) acknowledge that as one nears
the top, position power and influence increase. They interpret
that the absence of people of differing ethnicities in
leadership positions creates a closed decision-making system
in most organizations where key decisions affecting the

lives and futures of all employees are made largely or solely
by dominant group members. According to their study, schools
as organizations suffer from this malady as well. Employees
seldom question longstanding traditions within organizations
and instead, simply learn to live with convention.
POC have historically and consistently been forced in all
arenas education, employment, and electoral representation -
to take on the norms, behaviors and characteristics of the
dominant group which was most frequently White male. The
term dominant group refers to those people with a
disproportionate amount of power and influence within an
organization. When we examine access to power and influence
in our society, the distribution appears to be skewed.
Eisenberger, Fasolo, and Davis-LaMastro (1990, cited in
Cox, 1993) examined the impact of attitudes on various
individual work outcomes with samples of police officers,
brokerage clerks, and public school teachers. The authors
found that employees' perceptions of being valued by an
organization had a significant effect on their
conscientiousness, job involvement and innovativeness. A

sense of being valued, in turn, may well be influenced by
cultural differences. Jones (1986) and Fernandez (1981)
report survey data indicating that many non-Whites perceive
that their race has hindered their advancement (cited in Cox,
1993). The above studies demonstrate that organizational
practices can affect the perceptions of POC and how they
operate within the culture. Although we reviewed numerous
studies on retention (Gayles, 1989; Willard & Gordon, 1989;
Smith & Handler, 1979; Charters, 1970) recruitment (Murphy,
1987), employee turnover (Sheridan, 1985) and teacher
attrition (Heyns, 1988; Murnane, 1987) within schools as
organizations, they did not provide the dimension of research
that dealt with diversity issues within organizational culture
as it applies to our study.
The concepts of a pluralistic system and its antithesis, a
monolithic system, are continuously debated in the context of
how we as a society deal with racism and its residual effects.
Racism is not only individual acts of meanness but invisible
systems conferring dominance on Whites in society (McIntosh,
1989). Racism is a result of the systemic misuse of power in

a monolithic society. This misuse of power can be both
culturally and racially oppressive. People who have visible
ethnic differences can and do culturally assimilate but
continue to endure racial prejudice and discriminatory
practices based on race. Ehrenreich, (1995) writing in Time.
states that prejudice of the quiet, subliminal kind doesn't flow
from the same place as hate. She asserts that each of us
carries around an image of competence in our mind, and its
face is neither female nor AA.
As an example, Clark (1975, cited in Cox, 1993) found
that White bank tellers, in banks with strict check-cashing
policies were more likely to bend the rules to cash out-of-
town checks for White customers than for AA. He concluded
that "White individuals in institutionally defined roles behave
differently toward members of their own race, particularly
where their role behavior is clearly prescribed" (p. 433).
Bell (1992) recognizes that too often the absence of
visible signs of discrimination creates an atmosphere of racial
neutrality and leads people to believe that racism no longer
exists. Banks (1981) agrees with this line of thought by

asserting that society, institutions and organizations
seriously err when ethnic conflicts in schools are only
understood by focusing exclusively on cultural differences
between White Americans and POC. This is especially true in
light of the fact that widespread cultural assimilation is
taking place in American society.
Gordon (1964) defines cultural assimilation as a change
of cultural patterns to simulate those of the dominant group
and identifies this as the first of seven stages of assimilation
(Appendix B). Within his hierarchical assimilation stages, POC
may be able to achieve only steps one through three. These
steps center around cultural, structural and marital
assimilation which include entrance into cliques, clubs and
institutions of the host society and intermarriage. These
three stages of assimilation present no apparent obstacles for
POC. In stages four, five, and six, Gordon (1964) describes
identificational assimilation, which is the development of a
sense of peoplehood based exclusively on the dominant society;
attitude receptional assimilation, the absence of prejudice;
and behavior receptional assimilation, the absence of

discrimination presents significant obstacles for POC. POC
rarely have the opportunity to develop a sense of peoplehood
within an organization because of the lack of numbers and or
the invitation to do so. POC often fail to reach the top of the
hierarchy of assimilation stages, civic assimilation because
the presence of racial prejudice and discriminatory practices
within our society continue to exist.
Blauner, (1972) refers to institutional racism as
inequality among racial and ethnic groups which depends not so
much on individual acts of discrimination as it does on the
workings of such institutions as the schools and the police,
which process and sort individuals according to their racial
and ethnic origins and ultimately impose very different
outcomes on them. He concludes that an assumption of this
approach is that this sort of discrimination can occur on a
wide scale without equally widespread prejudice. It may even
be possible without any discriminatory intent on the part of
individuals in authority.
Loden and Rosener (1991) define the use Of institutional
power as a means to impose racial prejudices on others and

thereby limit opportunities as a form of institutional racism
which allows for a systematic use of power to disadvantage
and delimit others.
Within the American workplace, the distribution of
power mirrors society at large. To a great degree, the
balance of power favors able-bodied people over
differently abled people, men over women, European-
American over ethnic groups, White people over people of
color, heterosexuals over gays, and those between the
ages of 30 and 55 over younger and older employees.
Consequently, it is the members of each of these more
dominant groups who have the opportunity to impose
their values and beliefs on others (Loden & Rosener,
1991, p. 71).
Webber's, (1974) work illustrates an example of
disproportionate power and influence in cross-cultural work
teams. In his study, 104 four person teams of students were
formed in which three members of each team were American
White men and the fourth was either an American White woman
(38 groups), an American Black man (10 groups), a European (or
Canadian or Australian) Anglo man (10 groups), a European non-
Anglo man (18 groups), a Japanese man (16 groups), or a Latin-
American (Mexican or South American) man (12 groups). After
the teams had worked together for thirteen weeks, a series of

questions were asked about team leadership, conformity
behavior, and levels of participation in the groups. The data
indicated that 60% of European Anglo men and 33% of American
White men saw themselves as leaders in their groups. By
contrast, only 5% of American White women, 16% of Latin
American men, and none of the American Black men or
Japanese men claimed that they were the task leaders in their
groups. In addition, all persons rated as making the highest
contributions were American White men, while American
White women, non-Anglo European men, and Latin American
men were two to three times more likely than American White
men to be viewed by the American White men majority as
contributing least to the group. Perhaps the most striking
result, however, is that 100% of the American Black men and
non-Anglo European men and two-thirds of the Latin American
men were seen by at least one American White man member of
their team as not conforming to the expectations of their
group. By contrast only 17% of the American White men and
none of the American White women were seen as non-
conformists. Webber's, (1974) study in summary states

The American White male majority claim task
leadership for themselves or attribute it to other
American White males. They perceived all minorities as
generally following and contributing relatively little. In
turn, most minority members did not claim leadership.
Those few that did strive for leadership were usually
rejected (cited in Cox, 1993, p. 873).
This thinking continues to exists, as Ehrenreich, (1995)
cites in Time, a survey reported by the National Opinion
Research Center in 1991, which found a majority of Whites
asserting that minorities are lazier, more violence-prone and
less intelligent than Whites.
As various ethnic groups have emigrated to the United
States, voluntarily or involuntarily they have been expected to
take on the cultural characteristics of the majority society.
Ogbu (1992) identifies involuntary minorities as people who
were originally brought into the United States or any other
society against their will, for example, through slavery,
conquest, colonization, or forced labor. He defines voluntary
minorities as people who have moved more or less voluntarily
to the United States.
Ogbu (1992) further maintains that there is a tendency

for involuntary minorities to regard certain forms of behavior,
events, symbols and meanings as inappropriate for them
because these are characteristics of White Americans. He
clarifies that involuntary minorities interpret the cultural and
language differences as markers of their collective identity to
be maintained, not as barriers to be overcome. The important
point that he makes is that unlike voluntary minorities,
involuntary minorities do not separate attitudes and behaviors
that result in success from those that may result in linear
acculturation, or replacement of their cultural identity, with
White American cultural identity.
This insistence on sameness, adaptation and expectation
for shaping people to the style already dominant in the
organization and the full socialization of all individuals is
characteristic of assimilation (Loden & Rosener,1991; Thomas,
1991). Our study utilized assimilationist theory
conceptualized by Gordon (1964), Murguia (1975), Banks
(1988), Jiobu (1988), Loden & Rosener (1991), and, Thomas
(1991), and its influence on AA and LA certificated employees
recognized as 'stayers' in public schools. The presence of

assimilation practices and the expectation for certified
employees to assimilate into the schools' organization is
examined and linked to attitudes and perceptions of 'stayers'.
We drew upon the research of Murguia (1975) which applied
three assimilation models initially conceptualized by Gordon
(1964) and Banks' (1988) model of Multiethnic Ideology which
broadens the conceptual framework of assimilation.
Assimilation focuses on social processes and outcomes that
tend to dissolve ethnic distinction through one of four models,
leading to the assimilation of one ethnic group by another or by
the majority society. These models include conformity,
melting pot, cultural pluralism, and multiethnic ideology.
Need for Study
If by the year 2000 one-third Of all school-age children
in America will be members of minority groups, is it too much
to ask that we aspire to have a teaching force reflecting a
similar distribution (cited in Pine & Hilliard, 1990, p. 597)?
Collectively, issues of changing demographics of both
work force and student population; increased value of personal
cultural heritage; and changing expectations for ethnically

diverse role models in schools frame the essence of our
research. Arciniega (1977) states the fact that schools are
geared primarily to serve monolingual, White, middle-class
clients is never questioned (cited in Pine & Hilliard, 1990).
The dramatic decline in the numbers of available AA and LA
teachers is an indication which further supports the need for
this study.
An Education Research Service Report (1995) states that
the racial and ethnic composition of the school-age population
is of concern to educators. They add that racial/ethnic
minorities, who typically have had lower educational
achievement than majority students, represent a growing
proportion of the total school-age population, therefore; a
growing challenge for American education.
Between 1971 and 1986 the percentage of AA teachers
declined from 8.1% to 6.9%. During the same period, the
percentage of White teachers grew from 88.3 to 89.6. In 1987,
although AAs constituted 16.2% of the children in public
schools, they comprised only 6.9% of the teachers. LAs
represented 9.1% of the children in public schools, but only

represented 9.1% of the children in public schools, but only
1.9% of the teachers (cited in Foster, 1989). While the
disparity between the number of minority teachers and the
number of minority students is great at present, the prognosis
for the future is even worse. It has been estimated that by the
year 2000 only 8% of the nation's teachers will be teachers of
color (Daughtry, 1989).
In 1993, White, non-Hispanic children represented 68.3%
of the nation's school-age population (ages 5-17); Black (AA),
non-Hispanic children represented 14.7%; Hispanic (LA)
children represented 12.5%. By the year 2030, it is projected
that nationally, the proportion of White children in the school-
age population will decline to less than half (49.4%). During
the same period, the proportion of Hispanic (LA) children will
grow to 22.6%; the proportion of Black (AA) children will grow
slightly, to 17.7% (ERS, 1995).
In Colorado, White, non-Hispanic children represent
73.5% of the school-age population (ages 5-17); Black (AA),
non-Hispanic children represent 5.4%; Hispanic (LA) children
represent 17.6% (Colorado Department of Education Research

and Evaluation Unit, 1994). Also in Colorado, White, non-
Hispanic teachers represent 91 percent of the teaching
population; Black (AA), non-Hispanic teachers represent 1.8%;
and Hispanic (LA) teachers represent 5.9% (Colorado
Department of Education Research and Evaluation Unit, 1994).
in the United States roughly 45% of all net additions to
the labor force in the 1990's will be non-White, half of them
first-generation immigrants, mostly from Asian and Latin
countries (Cox, 1993). This change in demographics should
cause schools and organizations to begin to critically examine
how work environment dynamics must change to support
respectful interaction of employees from different cultural
Individuals who have increasingly begun to celebrate
their personal heritage, differences, and ethnic group identity
are unlikely to assimilate to practices in the work
environment that place little or no value on or respect for
their differences. Social identity theory helps us to
understand that various group identities play a part in how we
define ourselves as well as how others view us. Loden and

Rosener (1991) advocate that POC should not be expected to
sacrifice personal cultural values in the work environment, but
support societal acceptance of the positive interactions of
people of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.
The population of the United States increased by 9.8
percent between 1980 and 1990. The Latino origin
population (of any race), which also had a high level of
immigration, increased by 53 percent from 1.4 million to
nearly 2 million. The African-American population
increased from 26.5 million in 1980 to nearly 30 million
in 1990. Its growth rate of 13.2 percent was about one-
third higher than the national growth rate. The White
population rose from 188.4 million to 199.7 million, an
increase of 6.0 percent (U.S. Department of Commerce,
Census Profile, 1990, p. 1).
By approximately the year 2000* a majority of public
school-age children in the U. S. will be non-White. In Colorado,
the Black and Latino school-age population is projected to
increase 44% between 1995 and 2010, while the remaining
school-age population will decrease ten percent (Weiss, 1993).
Educators should make decisions that will guide the
schools of the future which will most assuredly include an
increased number of POC at every level. Loden and Rosener
(1991) maintain that organizations must take a critical look at

if diversity is to become a constructive rather than a
destructive force. Schools must also examine this dilemma.
The ethnic make-up of the teaching staff at each school
sends a conspicuous message to children. How we deal with
this issue is a critical step in supporting the increased
achievement of students of color and the broader respectful
interaction of all people.
Only nine percent of the teachers in the Colorado K-12
school system are teachers of color (Weiss, 1993). This small
percentage creates a limited presence of teachers of color in
our schools and impacts schools' organizational culture in the
retention of certified employees of color. We believe that
assimilation practices within a school's organizational culture
directly impact teachers of color recognized as 'stayers'
within public schools; this will be a focus of our study.
Conceptual Framework
Individual perception of assimilation practices evident
in the organizational cultures of four schools in an urban
school system were collected and examined. The effect of
assimilation practices on certified AA and LA employees

recognized as 'stayers' was investigated.
Although there is a broad research base surrounding
organizational culture, we chose to limit our research within
the conceptual framework of organizational culture as defined
through the works of Schein (1985,1992), Pedersen and
Sorensen (1989), Deal (1982), and Christensen et al. (1984).
The operationalization of Schein's definition of organizational
culture as analyzed by Pedersen and Sorensen (1989) provides
a structure for the systematic observation component of the
research design.
The connection between assimilation and organizational
culture was clarified through the work of Gordon (1964),
Banks (1988), Murguia (1975), Jiobu (1988), Ogbu (1988), Cox
(1993), Thomas (1991), and Loden and Rosener (1991).
Retention issues were explored and outlined by Chapman and
Hutcheson (1982), Mobley, Horner and Hollingsworth (1987),
Miller, Katerberg and Hulin (1979), Price (1975, 1977), Foster
(1989), and Daughtry (1989) to determine their association to
assimilation practices identified within the schools'
organizational cultures.

organizational cultures.
The concept of assimilation initially conceptualized by
Gordon (1964) was examined. The study draws upon the
research of Murguia (1975) which applied three assimilation
models to Gordon's conceptual framework. The work of
Banks(1988) was used to broaden the conceptual framework
and includes an additional assimilation model. These models
assisted in determining the practices of assimilation which
are evident in selected schools in Colorado.
Gordon (1964) explains the concept of assimilation
through seven types or stages:
(1) Cultural assimilation or acculturation change of
cultural patterns to those of the host society.
(2) Structural assimilation large-scale entrance into
cliques, clubs and institutions of the host society.
(3) Marital assimilation or amalgamation large-scale
(4) Identificational assimilation development of a
sense of peoplehood based exclusively on the host
(5) Attitude receptional assimilation absence of
(6) Behavior receptional assimilation absence of

(7) Civic assimilation-absence of value and power
Gordon (1964) conducted a series of interviews with
twenty-seven officials of twenty-five intergroup relations
and intragroup communal life organizations within the United
States. These organizations were concerned with interracial,
intercultural, or interreligious relations in America and
strived to eliminate discrimination and prejudice. His
objective was to determine how much thought and
consideration had been given by these agencies to problems of
social structure, theories and models of assimilation,
integration and group life. He discovered that nearly three
fourths had given little or no attention to these problems.
Through his work, Gordon (1964) divides the concept of
cultural assimilation into three parts: 1) extrinsic traits or
external behavior which is easily observable and easily
changed, 2) intrinsic traits based on value systems related to
inner psychological attitudes and 3) a distinctive institutional
life within the subsociety.
According to Gordon (1964) all ethnic and racial groups

in America undergo a process of fairly rapid cultural
assimilation. He maintains that traces of distinctive ethnic
cultural traits remain within families and in interaction with
fellow ethnics. Ethnicity refers to characteristics which
encompass features shared by group members: (1) same or
similar geographic origin, language, religion, foods, traditions,
folklore, music, and residential patterns, special political
concerns, particularly with regard to a homeland; (2)
institutions to serve the group; (3) consciousness of kind or a
sense of distinctiveness from others (Thernstrom, Orlolv, and
Handlin 1980, p. vi).
Murguia's (1975) study explored the following
questions: (1) how well do the assimilation and colonial
models fit the reality of the Mexican-American experience; (2)
are the models conceptually adequate, theoretically consistent
and valid; and (3) to what extent are they ideologically
biased? Murguia (1975) studied five variables which
determine whether a minority will engage in assimilation or
decolonization in it's relationship with the majority. These
variables include: (1) mode of entry; (2) size with reference to

the majority; (3) distribution with reference to the majority;
(4) racial characteristics with reference to the majority; and,
(5) cultural characteristics with reference to the majority.
Murguia (1975) found that Mexican-American people do not fall
clearly into either an assimilation or decolonization position
with regard to each of the five variables.
In his dissertation, Murguia (1975) outlined three
assimilation models initially conceptualized by Gordon (1964)
which assisted in determining from which process of
assimilation individual and schools' organizational culture are
operating. The three assimilation models include: (1) Anglo
conformity; (2) melting pot; and (3) cultural pluralism. Banks
(1988) furthers the assimilation model conceptualization
through the concept of multiethnic ideology; These four
models are described as follows:
Anglo Conformity Model
Murguia (1975) states that implicit in the Anglo-
conformity model is the expectation that White ethnic
immigrants will structurally and maritally assimilate into the
host society. As for non-Whites, although they will culturally

assimilate, it is unclear whether or not they will structurally
assimilate. The underlying ideology is that all must become
Americans of the host group type at least culturally and will
engage in structural and marital assimilation with the host
Melting Pot Model
Murguia (1975) delineates that the Melting-pot model
assumes that all ethnicities will contribute in a major way to
the development of a new and unique society inclusive of
biological and cultural merger. A new culture and new breed of
people distinctively American should result.
Cultural Pluralism Model
The Cultural Pluralism model as described by Murguia
(1975) involves a preservation of indigenous cultures,
languages and religions. He explains that ethnic, racial and
religious groups in the United States do not structurally nor
maritally assimilate within this model. He contends that this
ideology teaches there are many ways to be an "American".
Cultural Pluralism supports societal acceptance of the
positive interactions of people of all ethnicities and

Multiethnic Ideology Model
Banks (1988) describes the Multiethnic Ideology as a
reflection of middle ground between assimilation and cultural
pluralism. He asserts that this ideology is less historically
and theoretically developed and makes a number of
assumptions about the nature of modernized society. He
depicts an open society, in which individuals from diverse
ethnic, cultural and social class groups have equal
opportunities to function and participate.
Organizational Culture
There is a broad base of research which defines the
context of organizational culture. Deal & Kennedy (1982),
define culture as a stable but hidden system that influences
behavior. Their study profiles nearly eighty companies over a
six month period. Of all the companies surveyed they found
that only one-third had clearly articulated beliefs. Of this
third, a surprising two-thirds had qualitative beliefs, or
values, such as "IBM means service". The other third had
financially oriented goals that were widely understood. Of the

18 companies with qualitative beliefs all were uniformly
outstanding performers; they found no correlations among the
other companies. They characterized the consistently high
performers as strong culture companies. They further define
culture as a stable collection of values, symbols, heroes,
rituals and stories that operate beneath the surface executing
powerful influence in the behavior in the work environment.
Peters & Waterman (1982), see culture as a system of
shared values, that manifests itself through different cultural
artifacts. Stories, myths and legends appear to be very
important because they convey the organization's shared
values or culture. Their research project centered around a
general concern with the problems of management
effectiveness and a particular concern with the nature of the
relationship between strategy, structure and management
effectiveness for McKinsey & Company. They interviewed
executives around the world and developed a framework which
included the above definition of culture.
Christensen & Molin (1983) primarily define culture in
terms of norms, routines and myths, which are coupled to the

explanations and actions of organizational members (cited in
Pedersen & Sorensen, 1989). Molin (1987) defines culture as a
set of norms, routines and myths, by tradition specific to the
organization, handed down from 'generation to generation' that
make certain types of explanations and actions appear to be
self-evident and natural (cited in Pedersen & Sorensen, 1989).
Pettigrew (1979) presents a more abstract view of
culture. He defines it as a system of publicly and collectively
accepted meanings operating for a given group at a given time
(cited in Pedersen & Sorensen, 1989).
Christensen (et al,1984) identifies four different usages
of culture in organizational theory: (1) culture as an
analytical tool for the researcher and culture models as
contributing to the understanding of complex social
organizations; (2) culture as managerial key-tools to improve
economic output and to socialize organizational members to
management-defined values; (3) culture as a tool of change and
as an avenue to organizational development processes; and (4)
culture as a cognitive sense-making tool for organizational
members in turbulent environments (cited in Pedersen &

Sorensen, 1989).
Schein's (1985) research has contributed to the
definition of three of the identified usages of culture in
organizational theory. Therefore for the purposes of this study
we will use his work as a basis for defining our task.
... culture will be most helpful as a concept if it helps us
better understand the hidden and complex aspects of
organizational life. The concept of culture helps explain
all of these phenomena and to "normalize" them. If we
understand the dynamics of culture, we will be less
likely to be puzzled, irritated, and anxious when we
encounter the unfamiliar and seemingly irrational
behavior of people in organizations, and we will have a
deeper understanding not only of why various groups of
people or organizations can be so different, but also why
it is so hard to change them (Schein, 1992, p. 3).
Schein (1985) asserts that some of the common
meanings of the term culture have been: (1) observed
behavioral regularities; (2) norms; (3) dominant values
espoused; (4) philosophy; (5) rules; and (6) feeling or climate.
Schein (1985) outlines that the term culture should be
reserved for the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs
that are shared by members of an organization, that operate
unconsciously, and define in a basic, taken-for-granted

fashion, an organization's view of itself and its environment.
He explains these assumptions and beliefs as learned
responses to a group's problems of survival in its external
environment and its problems of internal integration. He
further clarifies that they come to be taken for granted
because they solve those problems repeatedly and reliably.
Pedersen & Sorensen (1989) agree in principle with
Schein's (1985) model, but in practice believe that you have to
modify this extreme position by clustering artifacts and
emphasizing some artifacts more than others. These
researchers studied three companies in the Danish computing
field. Three case studies describe structural presentation and
cultural analysis of each company. The cultural analysis
follows the interpretation and operationalization of Schein's
culture model, and divides into three sections; artifacts,
values and basic assumptions. Pedersen & Sorensen (1989)
describes four clusters of cultural artifacts which will be
used in the systematic observations of individual and group
interactions within the schools' organizational culture. The
following is an outline of the four clusters.

(1) Physical symbols (architecture, dress codes, decor,
office layout, etc.)
a. Various symbols of physical appearance
b. The degree of symbolic content and instrumental
content are likely to vary
c. Easy to observe but difficult to interpret
(2) Language (jargon, scripts, metaphors, nicknames
a. Special words or phrases, apparently known only
to organizational 'insiders'
b. Technical as well as interpersonal issues
c. Frequently used and widely shared
d. Not generated by fashion
(3) Traditions (rites, rituals, ceremonies, routines etc.)
a. A predictable pattern of behavior enacted
b. Starring two or more organizational members
c Well demarcated beginnings and endings
d. Well defined roles for the participants
(4) Stories (legends, sagas, anecdotes, jokes etc.)
a. Well-known and shared by several organizational
b. The actors are associated with the organization
c. No 'news' value but only symbolic value
d. Not a first person anecdote but drawn from the
organization's past.
The research on retention examines its effect on AA and
LA certified employees within the organizational culture of
schools and its relationship to assimilation practices.

Unfortunately, there was limited research regarding diversity
and retention. We read several treatises about recruiting and
retaining teachers of color, yet no actual studies focused on
their retention. The research on retention focuses on the
concept of turnover. Within the concept of turnover, two types
are commonly distinguished, voluntary and involuntary.
Turnover embodies the research of several authors whose
findings we will use to identify practices within schools'
organizational cultures which may influence AA and LA
certified employees to stay or leave teaching.
Mobley, Horner & Hollingsworth (1987) found that the
best predictor of actual turnover was intention to quit, and
that the effect of job dissatisfaction was on thinking of
quitting and intentions rather than on turnover itself. The
study looks at composite of age and tenure to predict turnover
among hospital employees. Their research focuses on the
following variables: (1) intention to quit; (2) intention to
search; (3) thinking of quitting; (4) probability of finding an
acceptable alternative; (5) satisfaction; and (6) a composite of
age and tenure. They found that when all variables are

combined, only intention to quit is significantly related to
turnover (cited in Mobley, 1982).
Follow-up studies by Miller, Katerberg, and Hulin (1979)
evaluated a model using three classes of variables: (1)
satisfaction; (2) career mobility (age, tenure, probability of
finding and acceptable alternative); and (3) withdrawal
cognition (intention to quit, intention to search, thinking of
quitting). Their data is consistent with the interpretation that
satisfaction and career mobility effects turnover through their
influence on withdrawal cognition (cited in Mobley, 1982).
Price (1975) theorizes four turnover determinants: (1)
pay; (2) participation in primary groups; (3) communication;
and, (4) centralization. These determinants are posited to
influence a person's decision to terminate employment. He
furthers the discussion by identifying involuntary turnover as
movement not initiated by the individual, examples of which
are dismissal, layoff, retirement and death. He states that
most involuntary turnover is probably initiated by the
organization. It is possible, however, for turnover to be
initiated by neither the member nor the organization. He

clarifies that involuntary turnover is best viewed as a residual
concept that refers to all movement not initiated by the
member (cited in Price, 1977).
Chapman and Hutcheson (1982) found that those who left
teaching indicate salary, job autonomy, and in the case of
those leaving elementary teaching, the chance to contribute to
important decisions, to be most important. They also found
that individuals who remain in teaching are more oriented
toward interpersonal rewards: (1) the approval and recognition
of supervisors, family and friends; (2) the quality of the
interpersonal relationships between teachers and
administrators; and (3) the positive value and recognition that
teachers receive from their larger circle of friends is of
particular importance in teachers' self-assessment of their
Summary of Literature Review
Chapter II has provided a review of the literature on
stages of assimilation; assimilation models; organizational
culture; and retention. The foundation for the seven stages of
assimilation theory comes from the work of Gordon (1964).

The concept of assimilation is broadened by the works of Jiobu
(1988), Murguia (1975), Ogbu (1988), and Banks (1988) as the
description of the four assimilation models is delineated.
The examination of research on organizational culture
includes the work of: Schein (1980, 1985, 1992); Pedersen and
Sorensen (1989); Deal and Kennedy (1982); Christensen et al
(1984); Peters and Waterman (1982); Christensen and Molin
(1983); Molin (1987); and Pettigrew (1979). Each researcher
contributes conceptual definitions of organizational culture.
Pedersen and Sorensen's (1989) work provides analysis of
organizational culture using Schein's (1985) definition. The
concepts of institutional racism, ethnicity, valuing diversity,
and dominant group culture are defined and discussed through
the works of Thomas (1991); Loden and Rosener (1991); and
Cox (1993).
The work of Chapman & Hutcheson (1982); Mobley, Homer
and Hollingsworth (1987); Miller, Katerberg and Hulin (1979);
Price (1975; 1977); Foster (1989); and Daughtry (1989)
provide a framework for the discussion of retention. The
concept of turnover is outlined through descriptions of

voluntary and involuntary turnover.
The literature attempts to connect: (1) school
organizational culture and its relationship to the retention of
certified employees of color; (2) assimilation models and
inherent assimilation practices in school organizational
culture and its influence on people in the organization; and (3)
the relationship of the concepts of ethnicity, valuing diversity,
and dominant group culture.

American is not a blanket, woven from one thread, one
color, one cloth. When I was a child in South Carolina and
momma couldn't afford a blanket ... she took pieces of old cloth
_ wool, silk, gabardine, croker sack only patches, barely good
enough to shine your shoes with. But they didn't stay that way
long. With sturdy hands and strong cord, she sewed them
together into a quilt, a thing of power, beauty and culture.
Now we must build a quilt together.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson, Social Activist (cited in Loden
& Rosener, 1991, p. 137)
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence
of assimilation practices within the school organizational
culture on certified employees of color, specifically AAs and
LAs recognized as 'stayers.' We identified and examined those
values, rituals, practices and processes of assimilation
evident in schools, which contribute to the development of

organizational culture and which impact AAs and LAs
recognized as 'stayers.1 The following four research questions
guided the study:
(1) What is the relationship between OCCs identified by
AA and LA certified employees recognized as 'stayers'?
(2) What is the relationship between certified employees
from White, AA and LA ethnic backgrounds and retention?
(3) What is the relationship between assimilation
practices and ethnicity?
(4) What is the relationship between ethnicity, OCCs and
the four assimilation models?
To collect quantitative data, an interview instrument
Stages of Diversity Survey, was adapted from the works of
Thomas (1991) Beyond Race and Gender. Gardenswartz and
Rowe (1993) Managing Diversity, and Lampe (1975)
Comparative Study of the Assimilation of Mexican Americans:
Parochial Schools Versus Public Schools. Systematic
observations, principal interviews, document analysis and
open-ended responses to selected survey items were used to
collect qualitative data.

The research used a mixed model of research methods
which combined quantitative and qualitative approaches. The
study developed descriptive analysis addressing the research
questions as outlined in Chapter I.
Description of Research Methodology
The mixed model of research methods captured a mosaic
of the relationship among OCCs, assimilation and retention
practices, and perceptions of AA and LA certified staff
identified as 'stayers' in public elementary and high school
settings. This mixed model approach included administration
of the survey instrument (Appendix C) to all certified
employees, systematic observation (Appendix D) of normal
school meetings and interactions of certified employees,
follow-up interviews with building principals, and analysis of
official school documents. These methods are further
explained in this chapter under the heading of field procedures.
The methods of survey, observation, follow-up interviews and
document analysis combined enabled us to discern the
particular components of school organizational culture which
influence AA and LA certified employees recognized as

Sampling Procedures
In order to obtain data about maximum differences of
perceptions about OCCs, retention and assimilation practices
in the public school setting, comprehensive and purposeful
sampling were used. First, comprehensive sampling in the
administration of the survey instrument was used.
Comprehensive sampling is the ideal type of sampling in
qualitative research in which every participant, group, setting,
event or other information is examined (Schumacher &
McMillan, 1993). Second, purposeful sampling was used in
selection of subjects for follow-up interviews. Purposeful
sampling is a strategy to choose small groups or individuals
likely to be knowledgeable and informative about the
phenomenon of interest (Schumacher & McMillan, 1993).
Survey research is the assessment of the current status
of opinions, beliefs, and attitudes by questionnaires or
interviews from a known population (Schumacher & McMillan,
1993). In identifying the sample population our criterion was
that they be certified employees. This variable was chosen

because we examined the influence of OCCs and retention and
assimilation practices within the organizational culture and
their relationship to certified employees. One hundred and
forty-three certified employees from four designated schools
consented to participate in the survey. For this study,
ethnicity defined the subgroups of LA and AA certified
employees used in comprehensive sampling.
Data Collection
Artifact collection (Schein, 1992) included: (1)
systematic observation of the school's organizational culture
through meetings (staff, committee, instructional, shared
decision making team) and group interactions (lunch,
meetings), and (2) analysis of official documents (mission
statements, school action plans) which describe experience,
actions and values. This particular method of data collection
provides additional information for analysis of school culture.
Specificity regarding artifact collection can be found in the
field procedures section.
Descriptive research is concerned with current status
and describes existing achievement, attitudes, behaviors or

other characteristics of a group of subjects. A descriptive
study asks what is; it reports things the way they are
(Schumacher & McMillan, 1993). Our study included elements
of non-experimental quantitative research, which are
descriptive and include follow-up interviews of building
principals. Descriptive results were used to investigate
relationships. Relationships investigate the degree to which
variations in one variable are related to variations in another
variable. The variables used in our study are described in the
following sections. Relationships were established by
comparing responses from the survey instrument on a
dependent variable (assimilation models or retention) for
different groups.
The interview collection strategies, dependent on the
context and purpose of the instrument, follow three of four
guidelines identified by Schumacher and McMillan (1993), "(1)
to obtain the present perceptions of activities, roles, feelings,
motivations, concerns, thoughts; (2) to verify and extend
information obtained from other sources; and (3) to verify or
extend hunches and ideas developed by the participants or

ethnographer" (p. 426). The guideline referring to future
expectations or anticipated experiences was not used because
the instrument focuses on present perceptions and experiences
of school culture.
Research Design
The quantitative component of our research included the
independent variable school organizational culture. The
dependent variables were assimilation models and retention.
The demographic variables included age, gender, ethnicity,
position, and years of experience. Our null hypothesis stated
that school organizational culture does not impact the AA and
LA certified staff recognized as 'stayers'. If the null
hypothesis is rejected, the study identified practices in the
culture of schools which support or detract from the
involvement of AA and LA certified employees as compared to
the general population.
The qualitative component of our research included
narration which indicates evidence of the four assimilation
models apparent in a school organizational culture. The
general analytic procedure that used was typological analysis.

Typological analysis involves dividing everything observed into
groups or categories on the basis of some canon for
disaggregating the whole phenomenon under study (LeCompte &
Preissle, 1993). The canon of organizational culture was used
to disaggregate the assimilation practices. The typological
categories used to analyze the systematic observation data
were physical symbols, language, traditions and stories (as
outlined in chapter II). Range of placement on the assimilation
continuum was derived from an analysis of survey responses.
Quantitative comparison by ethnicity was determined
based on survey results. Descriptive and typological analysis
was used in analyzing documents, systematic observations,
and follow-up interviews which examined the impact of school
culture on certified AA and LA staff recognized as 'stayers'.
White certified staff were included in the study for
comparative purposes.
Selection of Subjects
Staff and student ethnic make-up were used as specific
identifiers in selection of school sites. We specifically
identified AA and LA certified employees due to the projected

increase in the numbers of students of color in public
education aricl the extreme decline of available teachers of
color. Stewart, Meier, and England (cited in Foster, 1989)
declare that some estimates are that by the year 1995
teachers of color will be less than 5% of the entire teaching
force. There are few schools in the state of Colorado which
employ significant numbers of certified employees of color.
Four schools within the Denver Public Schools, two elementary
and two secondary were designated sites for data gathering.
The selection criteria included identifying schools at
each level whose staff ethnic make-up was at least 20% AA
and/or LA certified employees. Pettigrew and Martin's (1985)
research suggests that 20% is the minimum rate of inclusion
required to diffuse stereotypes and other negative factors
affecting minority members of organizations (cited in Pine &
Hilliard, 1990).
Denver Public School (DPS) sites currently operate under
a federal court order, which requires that the teaching staff of
each school maintain an ethnic balance, which reflects
district-wide student population. Denver Public Schools'

current student population is 69% children of color (DPS Public
Information Bulletin, Fall 1994-95).
Table 1
School Make-up/Response Rate Information
School Certified Staff Actual ResDonse POC %ResDonse
Elementary 1 36 24 58%
Elementary 2 39 32 31%
High School 1 68 35 31%
High School 2 113 52 35%
Total 256 143 44%
Table 2
Ethnic Make-up by School
School AA% Latino% White% Peode of Color%
Elementary 1 (Latino-American 8% 39% 47% 53%
Elementary 2 (African-American 21% 7% 69% 31%
High School 1 (African-American 24% 4% 71% 29%
High School 2 (Latino-American 4% 25% 71% 29%
Principal) Total 13% 19% 67% 33%

When presented with preliminary information about the
study, principals of the four identified schools readily
volunteered to participate and demonstrated an amenable, open
attitude toward the possibilities for use of the data collected.
The researchers approached the principals of schools in other
districts and were met with less than favorable response for
participation in the study.
A comprehensive sample of 143 certified staff from two
elementary and two secondary schools were surveyed. The
ethnic make-up of the sample comprised 22.4% LA, 18.9% AA,
and 48.3% White and 9.8% identified as other. Age distribution
included .7% under age 25, 16.1% ages 26-36, 39.2% ages 37-
47, 3.5% over age 58. Professional experience of certified
employees was 11.6% for five years or less, 34.1% for five to
fifteen years, and 54.3% for over fifteen years. District
experience ranged from 29.1% for five years or less, 37.6% for
five to fifteen years, to 33.3% for over fifteen years. The
purposeful sample included follow-up interviews with each
building principal.

The vast majority (90%) of the survey items were drawn
from previously validated and reliable work of Thomas (1991),
Gardenswartz and Rowe (1993), and Lampe (1975), (Appendices
J-O). A two-step process was used as recommended by
Schumacher and McMillan (1993): (1) an informal critique by
colleagues and experts of individual items on the instrument
was made; (2) a pilot of our survey instrument was
administered to 40 teachers from another school site in DPS in
February 1995. The characteristics of our pilot school were
similar to those of the schools used in the study. To ensure
inter-rater reliability, both investigators were observed
during the pilot survey administration process by an external
process observer. The process observer provided feedback
relative to the survey administration process and the giving of
verbal instructions to respondents. Investigators used a
written script (Appendix E) to increase reliability when
administering the survey.
A three-part procedure was used in data gathering: (1)
survey, (2) observation, and (3) follow up interviews. The

first part consisted of an instrument, Stages of Diversity
Survey. The survey instrument was used to identify
assimilation practices and organizational characteristics
within the school culture and range of placement by ethnicity
on the assimilation continuum. The assimilation continuum
designated the range of the four assimilation models (renamed
for this study) referred to in the literature (1) conforming, (2)
integrative, (3) inclusive, and (4) pluralist.
The instrument included questions of three types: (1)
quantitative questions with a closed format in which the
subject chooses among predetermined responses; (2) open
ended qualitative questions; and (3) combined quantitative and
qualitative questions with a closed format in which the
subject chooses among predetermined responses and provides
specific examples.
The responses for selected items were scored using a
Likert scale with a range of always, often, sometimes and
never. The remaining items allowed for either open-ended
responses or a range of choices a-d. The frequency of these
responses which focus on assimilation provided indicators

regarding the prevalence of organizational characteristics and
assimilation practices within the school culture as they relate
to the assimilation models.
The instrument analysis (Appendix F) demonstrated that
what was being asked of respondents directly correlated to the
research questions (Appendix G). This instrument analysis
matrix (Appendix H) displayed specific survey item numbers
which answered each research question. The closed format
questions reflected responses for each survey item coded to
the four models of assimilation defined through the
theoretical framework developed by Gordon (1964), furthered
by Murguia (1975), and coupled with the multiethnic ideology
developed by Banks (1988) which described the assimilation
continuum used for analytic purposes.
The model of analysis (Appendix I) illustrated how the
analysis of the research questions fit the survey items within
the framework of the following three variables as described in
chapter I: (1) the demographics of the school environment; (2)
personal experience and interaction with people of color tied
to organizational culture through daily experience; and (3) the

degree to which people of color feel supported or ignored by
the maintenance of status quo practices in the work
The survey instrument was divided into five sections
comprising (1) demographics, (2) work environment, (3)
organizational culture, (4) assimilation practices, and (5)
retention questions. Fifteen questions were selected from
Thomas' (1991) original work, pp.61-71, a cultural audit
(Appendix J), which he designed to be used primarily by private
sector organizations. These questions were selected for use
because of the focus on demographics, organizational culture,
and assimilation practices. The questions listed in Appendix K
are the actual adaptions from Thomas' (1991) work used in the
instrument for this study. With exception to the definitive
answer questions and the open-ended questions all of the
responses were coded using the Likert scale referred to
Elements of the Stages of Diversity Survey: An
Organizational Progress Report along with the Diversity
Opinionnaire and Sample Focus Group Questions (Appendix L)

developed by Gardenswartz and Rowe (1993) were used as a
basis for formulating the survey questions which were used in
the instrument for this study (Appendix M).
Questions one, three, and five, were selected from
Section VII (Appendix N) of the original work of Lampe (1975)
and were adapted for use as a basis in formulating the survey
questions listed in Appendix O that were used in the
instrument for this study. The work of Chapman and Hutcheson
(1982), (Appendix P) guided the development of the interview
questions regarding retention. All other questions on the
instrument were developed as a result of discussion among the
The combined research of Thomas (1991), Gardenswartz
and Rowe (1993) and Lampe (1975) on cultural audits within
organizations and the conceptual framework on assimilation
(Gordon, 1964; Murguia, 1975; Banks, 1988; and Jiobu, 1988)
were used to determine ethnicity and organizational placement
on the assimilation continuum as defined by Murguia (1975)
and Banks (1988).
The scales of measurement included nominal scales

which were applied to classify interviewees by ethnicity, and
other differentiating demographic information. The second
scale of measurement was ordinal scales which ranked
responses on the assimilation continuum beginning with
conforming and continuing to include integrative, inclusive,
and pluralist. The third scale of measurement was interval
scales which were used to identify and compare respondents'
years of experience.
Using the first level of Schein's (1985) model of
operationalization, we identified and analyzed school cultural
artifacts as they related to the assimilation continuum. This
included a systematic observation of normal school work
environment, analysis of school mission statements, school
practice relative to retention, school goals and other school
documentation pertinent to the study.
We executed systematic observations of meetings and
group interactions of certified employees during February,
March, and April,1995. Observations included artifact
collection of physical symbols (architecture, dress codes,
decor, office layout), language (jargon-words, phrases known

only to organizational "insiders," scripts, metaphors, and
nicknames frequently used and widely shared), traditions
(rites, rituals or everyday occurrences, ceremonies, routines,
behavior patterns enacted repeatedly, defined roles for
participants, demarcated beginnings and endings), and stories
(legends, drawn from the organization's past, anecdotes,
actors associated with the organization, jokes, sagas, well-
known and shared by organization members), attributable to
the schools' organizational culture.
Document analysis examined the school vision and
mission statements, school goals, and other school
documentation pertinent to school culture, assimilation, and
retention. The information gathered was used to further
analyze and describe processes and practices within the school
organizational culture that corroborate placement within one
of the assimilation models.
Field Procedures
In January 1995, a preliminary meeting was held with
each building principal to provide an overview of the study,
explain data collection strategies and discuss and develop

timelines for the study. A letter of introduction (Appendix Q)
which outlined the study procedures and introduced the
researchers was sent to each school and disseminated to all
certified employees.
The survey instrument was administered to a
comprehensive sample of 256 certified staff from two public
high schools and two public elementary schools in Denver,
Colorado, however, only 143 completed the survey. The survey
was administered to three school staffs at regularly scheduled
meetings in February, 1995. Researchers were present at each
administration to respond to questions. At one of the high
schools, surveys were distributed in staff mail boxes. Follow-
up distribution to individuals occurred five times (twice
before school, once after school, once during a three-hour
period at mid-day and once at a scheduled meeting during an
inservice day). Participating certified employees signed and
returned the informed consent form (Appendix R) to indicate
agreement to participate in the study.
During February, March, and April, 1995, systematic
observations took place at each school. The observation guide

(Appendix D) was used by both investigators to record the
observed behavior which occurred within the school
organizational culture. In May, each building principal was
interviewed using an adapted version of the survey instrument
(Appendix S) to check their perceptions about how their staff
would respond to survey items (11-38). A dated log by
location of all observations is included in Appendix T. The
typological areas observed include physical symbols, language,
traditions, and stories.
Data Processing and Analysis
The survey instrument comprised five sections. Section
one requested responses about demographics. Responses from
sections two through five were used to complete chi square
tests comparatively by ethnicity. This allowed us to
generalize across schools by ethnicity.
Section two focused on work environment; section three
elicited information on school organizational culture; section
four examined responses based on examples of perceived
assimilation practices; and section five included questions
centering on retention. The responses for each item were

connected to the assimilation continuum as displayed below.
Assimilation Continuum
Conforming Integrative..
Responses from sections two through five were used to
place individuals by ethnicity along the assimilation
continuum and to identify specific practices within the school
organizational culture and their relationship to AA and LA
employees recognized as 'stayers.1
Chi square tests were performed using a demographic
variable in conjunction with categories identified within the
survey and the assimilation models. Chi square is a common
nonparametric procedure that is used when the data are in
nominal form. This test is a means of answering questions
about association or relationship based on frequencies of
observations in categories and is best suited for analysis of
the survey results given this population. Statistical tests
compare the reported or observed frequencies with some
theoretical or expected frequencies (Schumacher & McMillan,

1993 p. 360). The demographic variable among the subunits
(AAs and LAs) that were applied in analyzing the data was
ethnicity. The categorical variables that were also applied in
analyzing the data include: (1) work environment, (2)
organizational culture, (3) assimilation practices and (4)
The perceptions derived from the qualitative data from
open-ended items on the survey analysis were compared to
principal perceptions through follow-up interviews. The
typological categories used to analyze the systematic
observation data are physical symbols, language, traditions
and stories. These typological categories were coupled with
the responses from the interviews and provided information
for a descriptive analysis to define the school organizational
The nature of this study posed limitations regarding
internal and external validity. Threats to internal validity for
this study were identified as follows: (1) history of each
building did affect the results; (2) investigators may have

unintended effects on interviewee responses; (3) due to the
nature of the study, interviewees' behavior may change
(Schumacher & McMillan, 1993).
Additional limitations of the study included threats to
external validity which were identified as follows: (1) while
the sample population common characteristic is certification,
all other demographic characteristics may differ; (2) each
school is unique, therefore, generalizations of interactions
between interviewees and experimental conditions may differ;
and (3) the ecological limitation of description of variables
limits the generalization of the operational definitions of the
study's dependent and independent variables (Schumacher &
McMillan, 1993).