It is the study of the propensity of any complex organization to evolve into a pre-determined operational form in the absence of or resistance to external pressures. The field of self-organization seeks general rules about the growth and evolution of organizational structure, the forms it may take, and methods that predict future operational characteristics resulting from changes made to its underlying components. We are studying the tendency of self-organization, addressing movement of a school’s operational structure to its own state of perceived equilibrium and preferred common operational structure inherent in the educational ethos. We are then seeking to affect changes to key operational nodes of the organizational structure to dictate school responses, directing what may be called situated or selected self-organization to maximize the reform effort.

Reform (change) is not realized just in amended regulatory or policy guidelines, but requires a change in the administrative and network structure of the operation. As a result, reform does not imply change in a single instructional program or student development function, but rather throughout the institution to include basic foundational theory. It is change with a specific and unified objective, sustained over time that moves the entire institution to reform while minimizing variations in the application of the reform effort among operational functions. True educational reform is not incremental; it is a comprehensive approach that addresses all functional areas within the educational environment.