Intergroup Differences and Its Impact on Professional Exchanges
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The purpose of this study was to examine how misperceptions of intergroup differences affect the working and professional relationships among Hispanic teachers, European American (White) teachers, and European American (White) administrators in urban schools. As this was an exploratory study to examine the professional exchanges among racio-ethnically diverse groups of teachers and administrators, a qualitative case study methodology was used to collect and report the data for the study. This case study approach was helpful in examining administrators' and teachers' perceptions of intergroup conflict and how these cultural differences affected their exchanges. The data were collected through interviews and through observations made while attending various school functions, such as faculty meetings. The study took place in two urban public schools in South Central Texas, each with a European American administrator, Hispanic teachers, and European American teachers. Included in this study were 14 teachers, 7 European American and 7 Hispanic, two principals, and four assistant principals who participated in two focus groups to validate the teachers' responses. The intergroup properties that were identified in this study were areas of conflict between majority and minority groups that affected the working relationships and active collaboration in instructional matters between school professionals. The properties of intergroup conflict were used to identify causes of conflict among different group members. The properties of intergroup conflict areas revealed in the study were incompatible goals, competitions for resources, cultural and power differences, group boundaries, and leadership behaviors. The quick increase in the diverse populations, primarily Hispanic, of urban schools in South Texas has not allowed sufficient time for Hispanic teachers to enter the workforce, much less Hispanic administrators. As identified in the study and through the properties of intergroup conflict, cultural differences among various demographically diverse groups, such as the principals and teachers studied here, lead to misperceptions that eventually lead to conflicts. Potential conflicts, due to leadership and followership diversity, and to opposing interests, occurred in the day-to-day exchanges between the principals and teachers. Responses made by the European American principals to the opposing interests provided opportunities to create an inclusive school organization.
Rodriguez, Eddie (2012). Intergroup Differences and Its Impact on Professional Exchanges. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from