Voices of Enterprise: Power in Enterprise Education within a New Zealand Secondary School
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This is a research study on enterprise education in a New Zealand secondary school. Over the past two decades, enterprise education has become a feature of secondary education globally. The emergence of this new phenomenon exists in a context of global neo-liberal initiatives. Within New Zealand, enterprise is now a mainstream feature of secondary education. The practice of enterprise education has a significant impact on schools and student learning.
The emergence of enterprise within secondary education is a story of power. This research examines who has power in terms of enterprise education and who are the winners and losers.
A sole case study assists in providing answers to these research questions. The case study school is a national role model for enterprise education. The school has experienced extraordinary success and has developed a social enterprise model. Stakeholders’ relationships within and outside the school are explored. In order to explore power, Lukes’ (2005) three-dimensional model of power has been adopted. This model is broad and captures all the dimensions of power, including the work of other theorists of power.
The results show that power is vested in several stakeholders. Different weight is attached to different stakeholder voices. Tensions in the commercial world between social enterprise and commercial enterprise are also reflected at the school. There are few concrete examples of decision making. Most power is exercised through non-decision making and as a result of a new culture of enterprise supported by media attention. A social enterprise model has embraced existing school values and provides for partnerships with the community. There is fluidity between winners and losers from the model; however, the former include enterprise students, and school, state, Catholic Church and business interests. The latter are those who are not fully engaged with enterprise, through the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), and those within the college community and stakeholders who have been denied a voice.
The case study school has developed a unique social enterprise model. The model has diffused sharp business values to provide an acceptable model for the school. The model has developed, but on occasion lacks authenticity and appears tokenistic. A need exists for genuine opportunities for consultation with all stakeholders. This research has captured a journey of power, which operates at different levels. There is a power that exists within the school community and wider stakeholders. Power is intimately linked to the notion of interests. It is clearly in the interests of the case study school to survive within a neo-liberal environment, which has affected the structure of all schools. This insight into the power of enterprise education can inform best practice and influence policy.