Planning an innovative school: How to reduce the likelihood of regression toward the mean

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Establishing an innovative school requires a great deal of planning effort, human power and resources. Nevertheless, many innovative schools suffer a process of regression toward the mean and lose their innovative zeal. Based on the life cycle approach, which claims that part of this trend of regression is embodied in the planning phase, and on the institutional theory that asserts that innovation has to negotiate institutional constraints, this instrumental case study examines the negotiation of institutional regulations while planning an innovative school. This article reports on a study of three years' planning of an Israeli innovative school, which in 2006 celebrated 10 years of successful innovation. The findings suggest three ways of handling the regulation constraints: setting an exception; reallocation of resources; and adoption of alternative standards. Further research directions and implications on educational policy and planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-421
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number3
StatePublished - 4 May 2009


  • Institutional regulation
  • Instrumental case study
  • Life cycle approach
  • Planning for innovation
  • School start-up


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