Sunday, November 22, 2009

Organizational Shadow in Ed Tech

I've been taken with the concept of organizational shadow recently after reading a 1991 article by Bowles. From the abstract...

Organization Shadow is understood as facts which organizations wish to deny about themselves, due to the threat posed to self-image and self-understanding and, more generally, the need to be viewed in a favorable light by others. The Shadow is repressed, and, as unconscious content, is projected onto others, often those who are incapable of resisting it.

Interesting to watch the dynamics of this playing out. A 2008 book by Collins Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology recently received a controversial review by Jenna McWilliams.

I think she pegged it right when she pointed out the "damning by faint praise" offered in the book to the notion of self-directed education supported by new web-based affordances. The old guard of the existing educational establishment is not going to give up power and control that easily. They have too much to loose. They have convinced themselves that they are a last bastion and that the education system for all of its, presumably known and lovable, it preferable to the crazy chaos of self-directed learning.

I listened to a recent interview with McWilliams on CBC Sparks where Norah Young interviewed Jenna by Skype and then posted the interview as a podcast. For me it was the media being the message and predisposed me to suspect that she had put her finger on a nasty sore spot on Collins. Collins responded to the review:

Bowles, M. (1991). Organizational shadow. Organization Studies, 12(3), 387-404. doi: 10.1177/017084069101200303

Collins, A., & Halverson, R. (2009). Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. The TEC Series. New York: Teachers College Press.