Improving the Image, Identity, and Reputation of Urban School Systems
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This collective qualitative case study explores the ways American urban school districts engage in image management and reputation building activities to sustain their on-going organizational improvement efforts and maintain public support. The study catalogues the internal and external communication and media relations strategies utilized by three urban districts to manage their public image, identity, and reputation. District officers were found to be generally aware of their district's image in the community, their own role in projecting and improving that image, and the positive or negative identity of the employees in relation to the district's image. The concepts of organizational adaptive instability and mutability were found to be most important to urban district leaders as they all described their response to organizational challenges by sharing information with internal and external stakeholders and focusing on long-term improvement efforts. Accountability for effectiveness and efficiency was found to be the most dominant theme related to reputation. This study suggests that urban districts need to manage their public image through a well developed communications plan that focuses on projecting a district image of continuous improvement, clearly defines roles in district communication, and utilizes professional communications expertise.
Stockwell, Robert R. (2010). Improving the Image, Identity, and Reputation of Urban School Systems. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from