After a decade of large-scale educational reform there is now a growing interest in grass-roots self-initiated change (Datnow et al., 2002; Hargreaves, 2009; Hargreaves & Shirley, 2009; Shirley, 2009). Yet, self-initiated change (SIC) remains largely undertheorized in the literature of educational change. Even the advocates of self-initiated change do not clearly specify the underlying mechanisms and the multi-dimensional processes by which SIC occurs. Utilizing a qualitative case study approach and a conceptual framework that draws from incremental institutional change theory and the literature on social movements within institutions, this study explored the following research questions: * What mechanisms do the change agents of SIC employ, How do they implement these mechanisms and why do they employ these mechanisms? * What are the characteristics of the processes of SIC? What is the pacing and sequencing of the change? * How does SIC unfold over time, and why? In answering these three initial questions a fourth research question emerged that summates the other three: *What implications does an investigation of self-initiated change in one school have for understanding existing theories of self-initiated and imposed educational change? Findings from this study revealed that self-initiated change involved a recombination that embodied the ideal of "change without pain" by balancing change and stability (Abrahamson, 2004). The process of self-initiated change turned out to be slow-moving (Pierson, 2004; Thelen & Mahoney, 2010). Mindful juxtaposition (Huy, 2001) and a dialectical perspective (Hargrave & Van de Ven, 2009) were required to address the multiple and contradictory dimensions of change. Based on these analyses, I propose ways of conceptualizing SIC as: "change without pain"; "slow-moving change"; and "dialectical/ cyclical change."