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Change agents in schools.

This study investigates the change agent’s role and function in schools as organisations.

In municipalities the change agent is called development pedagogue, learning leader, process leader etc. A development pedagogue’s function can in an overall way be described as working as pedagogic leader with the task to stimulate and drive improvement work. In this study the pedagogic leader role is understood and tested in terms of the change agent as it is described in the literature of organisational development.

About the project

The aim of the study is to describe the change agent role in some pre-schools, elementary schools, and upper secondary schools in relation to teachers’ professional learning. Moreover the study aims at understanding in what ways the change agent can promote that new teaching- and learning patterns can be established, which affect student development and outcome.

The study started in 2009 as an action research project between Karlstad University and the municipalities of Hagfors, Årjäng and Järfälla. In total 36 change agents have participated in the project which ended in 2011. The change agents have documented their work monthly in journals. Moreover principals and directors have been interviewed.

A categorisation of the different functions which the change agents fulfil and which are described in the interviews and journals resulted in four roles:

  • The assistant
  • The guide
  • The project leader
  • The organisation developer

The role that a change agent occupies in reality could be composite of several of these roles and can also vary over time. The study shows that the change agents in the three municipalities have developed in different ways from the intended aim, the organising of the agents and of changes in the broader context. The change agents have had largest effect on the change of pedagogy used in the classroom when strategies have been used focusing instruction and the work in the classroom.

Research Programme

Platform for Research in Inclusive education and School development (PRIS)

Project Participants

Ulf Blossing.


The municipalities of Hagfors, Årjäng and Järfälla.

Project Extent


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Contact Information

Department of Education and Special Education

PO Box 300, SE-405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden

Visiting Address:
Pedagogen Hus A, Västra Hamngatan 25

+46 31 786 0000

+46 31 786 2070

Page Manager: Anders Åkerström|Last update: 12/13/2012

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