Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Management

Committee Director

Leonard Ruchelman

Committee Director

Berhanu Mengistu

Committee Member

S. Tonelson

Committee Member

W. H. Wallace


The purpose of this study is to identify conditions which make the success of innovations in public education more likely, thus helping administrators make better use of scarce resources. Nine innovations in Norfolk Public Schools in Virginia were examined. These included an automated student information system, electronic mail, an alternative school for pregnant teens, and a special education parent center.

A multiple case study methodology was employed in conducting this research. Data was gathered from interviews conducted with administrators, practitioners and other key actors involved with each innovation. Additionally, site visits were made for each case, relevant documentation examined, and reports written according to the format outlined in a case study protocol.

Degree of routinization was measured by the attainment of 10 events, such as funding, training, personnel support, organizational governance and maintenance. These 10 organizational events make up the "passages and cycles" framework developed by Robert Yin. Eight factors such as service payoffs, administrative support, practitioner support and prior need were then proposed to explain each innovations' level of routinization.

The findings are that the degree of routinization of innovations is related to upper administration support and service payoffs. Further findings are that the attainment of any level of routinization is generally associated with the presence of a single, active innovator, and of practitioner support, and with the absence of internal competition for resources. It was also found that the degree/level of routinization could not be explained simply by its age.