Organizational Theory in EducationWilliam Allan Kritsonis, PhDPotential QuestionsQuestion 1: Different theories have been used to describe how school andschool systems are organized and managed. These organizational theoriesinclude bureaucratic, scientific management, human relations, and the opensystems approach. Compare and contrast two of these theories in thefollowing areas: organizational structure, basic philosophic perspective ofemployees, duties and authority of administrators, and effective leadershipstyles. Justify why one approach might be more effective for an educationalentity than the other.Question 2: Education is a state rather than a federal responsibility. Brieflycompare and contrast the responsibilities and educational activities that areassociated with state and local level educational entities. Describe howthree values, equality, efficiency, and liberty have impacted theestablishment and implementation of educational policies at all levels(federal, state, and local).Organizational Theory in Education
Three theories have influenced school organization and management:(1) classical (bureaucratic & scientific management), (2) human relation, and(3) open systems.Classical Theory of OrganizationBureaucratic Organizational Model - Max WeberThis formal model includes (1) a hierarchical arrangement withseparation of authority, (2) task specialization among employees (division oflabor), (3) hiring of professional personnel based on technical knowledge,(4) separation of personal & organizational property and, (5) implicit rulesand regulations that govern official decisions and actions. The intent is tomaximize rational decision-making and facilitate increased efficiency. It isbased on rational-legal authority rather than power and persuasion. Rationallegal authority is a belief that laws can be enacted and changed by formallycorrect procedures. This organizational model has drawn the followingcriticisms: (1) hierarchical authority can perpetuate rigidity and adherenceto rules, (2) the impersonal focus can result in low morale and alienation, (3)division of labor can stifle initiative and, (4) informal relationships andindividual needs are ignored.Scientific Management - Frederick W. Taylor
This perspective focuses on increasing efficiency and maximizing humanproductivity by identifying the "best" way to do a job. Scientific analysisand time and motion studies were used to identify and help eliminatemuscular and physiological activities that lead to worker fatigue. In aneffort to optimize work performance, pay was linked to output. This theoryhas been criticized because it embodies a mechanistic view of workers asextensions of machines.Human Relations ApproachThe focus in this organizational theory is on the social and affectiveneeds of employees and emphasizes the importance of feelings, attitudes andsocial climate of organizations. Although the basic organizational structuremay resemble a bureaucratic model, informal interactions that exist outsidebureaucratic norms or formal dimensions of an organization are identified.Employees whose social and psychological needs have been fulfilled aremotivated to work more productively. The impact of human relations onemployee productivity has been demonstrated in two studies. The results areknown as the Hawthorne Effect. The first experiment investigated the effectof increased light on productivity. The results showed that increasedproductivity was due to subjects responses to attention and novelty of theexperiment and not to an increase or decrease in light. The second
experiment (bank-wiring room), investigated the relationship betweenincreased financial incentives and productivity. Results showed that workersestablish informal standards that define a "satisfactory" days work.Production greater or less than standard was unacceptable to the group.These two experiments showed that (1) group norms are equal to or greaterthan managerial or administrative norms in importance in determining aproductivity level, (2) noneconomic rewards can increase productivity, and(3) group satisfaction and commitment are enhanced through participatorydecision making.The Hawthorne studies also showed that leadership style has an effect ongroup performance. A "democratic" style was found to be more effective forgroup performance than either a "laissez-faire" or "authoritarian" style.Leaders who give equal attention to initiating structure (task performance)and consideration (friendship, trust, respect, warmth, and concern) tend to bemore effective as measured by worker satisfaction and performance. Withingroups, there exists both formal and informal leaders. Formal appointedleaders are concerned with task performance while informal leaders emergefor the group and attend to the groups social and psychological needs.Systems Approach
Systems can be viewed from three different perspectives: biological(living organisms), mechanical (automobiles), and social (organizations).Within each of these perspectives, there are two basic system types: closedand open. Closed systems, like the bureaucratic and human relations models,have impenetrable boundaries and derive few inputs from environment.Although thought to be self-sufficient, these systems can experienceentropy, a movement to disorder, lack of resource transformation, andeventually death. In contrast, open systems have permeable boundariesexchanging resources with the environment. Homeostasis exists when thesystem is stable and there is a balance or equilibrium between environmentalresources and the system. Disequilibrium results when the system is unableto use resources as they are received from the environment or when itssubsystems are out of balance. One criticism of the systems approach is thatit fails to adequately account for change that results from interactionsbetween people.Open Systems ApproachThe open systems approach to organizational theory emerged in the1960s. Organizations were viewed as open systems that interact with theenvironments in which they exist. The relationship of organizational partsand the link between the organization and its larger environment was
stressed. The input-throughput-output model was used to describe thisapproach. Organizations maintain themselves by processing inputs fromtheir environment and converting them into outputs.Schools as a Selective Linkage SystemThe term, selective linkage system, is used to describe the organizationalstructure of contemporary schools. In some respects, they resemble a closedsystem and reflect many of the components of Webers HierarchicalOrganizational Structure. They utilize a (1) hierarchical structure, (2) adivision of labor based on technical competence and specialization, and (3)written rules and regulations (policies). On the other hand, they are opensystems with both tight and loose controls. Contemporary schools interactsocially and politically with community in which they exist through thePTA, school advisory councils and a myriad of special interest groups.Interaction with the community is important in determining school goals andgenerating approval and support for programs.Although the organizational structure may show a hierarchical format,there are loose controls between authority levels. The superintendent hasauthority over staff but must operate within the parameters of board policy
and contractual arrangements. Higher authority levels, such as principals anddistrict level administrators, do not exercise complete control over those atlower levels. Teachers are still in control within their classrooms, and site-based management has given more authority to lower organizational levels.School organizations still command tight control over several areas.These include requirements for teachers, promotion and graduation policies,curriculum, and student placement.Informal Dimensions of Organizational StructureGroups formed by teachers have been shown to be a powerful force inschool organizations. Administrators who identify informal group leadersand establish close working relationships with them are substantiallyadvantaged in accomplishing organizational goals. Group norms have beenshown to be an important determinant of group behavior. Informal groupsof teachers tend to reform after the summer break with little change and areusually dominated by older and more experienced teachers.Leadership and Types of AuthorityLeaders attempt to influence others through personal and positionalpowers such as authority. There are several types of authority that leadersemploy: traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal. In the purest form,traditional authority is aligned with patriarchal authority. Charismatic
authority is based on personal devotion to the leader. It is thought to be anunstable type of authority because it is linked to one specific person.Rational-legal authority is based on the supremacy of the law and theposition that formally established social norms should direct a personsactions in the rational pursuit of specified goals. This type of authority isclosely linked to Webers bureaucracy model.Types of Educational OrganizationsEducational organizations can be classified into three types:nonprofessional, professional, and semiprofessional organizations.Bureaucrats (administrators) and professionals (teachers) assume differentroles in these organizations. In nonprofessional organization, the goal is tomake a profit. Administrative activities are coordinated so that profits canbe maximized and final authority resides in line officers (administrators)who constitute the administrative chain of command. In these organizations,professionals (teachers) are more likely to occupy specialized or staffadvisory positions outside the line of authority. The goal of professionalorganizations, such as those associated with universities, researchorganizations, and hospitals, is to produce, apply, preserve, or communicateknowledge. Generally, 50% or more of the staff are professionals who haveprimary control over the major goal activities with administrators providing
support. Final authority resides with the professionals. School and socialwork agencies are classified as semiprofessional organizations. They aresimilar to professional organizations but differ in the areas of professionalemployee status and function. Less time is spent on training, and there is afocus on communication of knowledge.In educational organizations conflicts may arise between bureaucrats(administrators) and professionals (teachers) in the area of decision making.Classic bureaucrats (administrators) make decisions in the interest of theorganization, while idealized professionals (teachers) want decisions madein the best interests of the students or norms of the profession.Public School SystemsThe 10thAmendment gave states control of activities that are notspecifically assigned to the federal government. This resulted in the statesbeing responsible for education. Except for Hawaii, all U.S. publiceducational systems are state legislated and supported but locally operated.Local school districts are classified as quasi-corporations: a political divisionof the state to facilitate the administration of government.This century has seen an increase in the power of local districts.There has been a movement toward consolidation of school districts, hiringof professional school managers, increased power of the superintendent, and
an interest in scientific management. There continues to be an increasingchasm between mainstream partisan political activity and schoolgovernance. School boards have secured the right as a separate taxingauthority.The rise in local power has contributed to a decrease in the authorityof the State Board of Education. The general areas of responsibility for statedepartments include finance (administration of federal and state monies),teacher certification, curriculum (textbooks and standards), testing, datacollection and distribution, administration of Federal program, facilities andtransportation, and nonpublic schools.Local school district adopt policies and practices to govern the operationof the school system under their control. The policies and practices that areadopted are a result of a dynamic equilibrium between three values -equality, efficiency, and liberty.Equality means the equal access to educational services for all. Severallandmark cases have greatly influenced the organization and functioning ofeducational systems in the United States. The most influential case was the1954 Supreme Court Case, Brown vs. Board of Education, which disallowedracially segregated schools. The "equal protection clause" of the 14thAmendment provided equal access to educational opportunities for all
handicapped students. Federal funding is provided through the Educationfor all Handicapped Children Act (1975). Bilingual students wereguaranteed effective instruction and equal access to education services as aresult of a landmark case; Lau vs. Nichols.Equality also means equal distribution of financial resources. Thiswas addressed through the enactment of several programs and the passage ofseveral federal acts. The Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA),President Johnsons War on Poverty (1960s), and Compensatory Educationwhich focused on low income families were programs that addressedfinancial resource allocation to elementary and secondary schools. Theneeds of post secondary students were addressed through several financialaid programs: (1) Servicemans Readjustment Act (based on years ofservice), (2) Guaranteed Student Loan Program (GSLP) which subsidizedlending organizations), and (3) Basic Education Opportunity Grants (BEOG)which were based on financial need.Unequal tax bases and disparate expenditures result in an unequaldistribution of resources among school districts. A variety of state levelfinance reforms during the 1970’s and 1980’s have attempted to equalizethese discrepancies. A landmark case, Rodriguez v. San Antonio, found thatunequal systems are not in violation of the U.S. constitution.
For employees, equality means equal access to decision making.Programs such as collective bargaining have increased employeeparticipation in decision making. The 1980s saw an increase in teacherunionization (NEA, AFT).The second value, efficiency, is concerned with the conserve ofresources so that "conserved" monies can be used for other endeavors suchas expanding school choice. By increasing efficiency, output is maximizedand options are expanded. During the 1970s state spending limits wereimplemented. In a landmark case, Serrano v. Priest, the Californialegislature imposed a spending ceiling on school districts.To increase efficiency and contain or reduce costs, school districtadopted scientific management principles and patterned schools afterbusinesses. A variety of management strategies (technocracy) becamepopular as a way to increase student performance while lowering costs andincreasing accountability. These included President Johnsons ProgramPerformance Budgeting System (PPBS), Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB),Program Evaluation & Review Techniques (PERT), Management byObjectives (MBO), and Competency Based Teacher Education (CBTE).Comprehensive testing programs were implemented with the purpose ofusing public scrutiny of test results to make teachers work harder.
Developed in 1964, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)testing program compares student achievement between states.The third value, liberty, refers to the freedom to choose amongalternatives. Reforms focused on helping public schools increase diversity,be more responsive to their clients, and expand private offerings. Aparent’s right to select a private or a public school for their child wasguaranteed by a 1925 U.S. Supreme Court Case; Pierce v. Society of Sisters.Tuition tax credits for both public and private school payments were foundto be constitutional in a 1983 Supreme Court Case; Mueller vs. Allen. The1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act made federal funds availablefor nonpublic schools.Liberty also involves increasing citizen participation and control ofeducation. This is achieved through the development of alternative schools,administrative decentralization, school site management, and the formationof Parent Advisory Councils which are required when receiving federalprograms and money such as ESEA, Title 1, and ESAA.Structure of Organizations and LeadershipBecause organizations are composed of groups and groups haveleaders, the topics of group dynamics and leadership are intertwined with
organizational theory. Blanchard defines leaderships as the "process ofinfluencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts toward goalachievement in a given situation.Situational LeadershipDepending upon the situation, an effective leader must be able to selectand implement the style that will be most effective. This is known assituational leadership and involves diagnosing which style to use, adaptingthe style to meet the demands of the situation and communicating with thoseinvolved. Situational leadership styles can be divided into four techniques:S1 (telling), S2 (selling), S3 (participation), and S4 (delegating). S1 (telling)and S4 (delegating) are effective at crisis interventions. S1 (telling) and S3(participation) tend to see members of the organization as either "goodpeople" or "bad people". S2 (selling) and S3 (participation) work well withaverage groups.Situational leaders are flexible and can adapt to the needs and readinessof the group. For employee groups at the R1 or low level of readiness, theS1 or telling style is preferred. For R2 (low to moderate readiness) groups,selling (S2) should be used. For R3 (moderate to high readiness) groups, aparticipatory style (S3) of leaderships works the best. For groups at a highlevel of readiness (R4), a delegating style (S4) should be implemented.
Transformational LeadershipOrganizations are not static, they go through change. Effectiveleadership is particularly difficult when organizations are going throughtransformational changes. Transformation is caused by external rather thaninternal forces and involves substantial and discontinuous change to theshape, structure, and nature of the organization. It is caused by external,rather than internal forces. It is a deep, pervasive change that requiressignificantly different actions by the members. Studies of successful andunsuccessful organizational transformations have led to the identification ofthe particular leadership style that can effectively manage transformationalchange. This type of leadership, transformational, is also referred to asvisionary, strategic or charismatic leadership. These leaders have (1)personal commitment to the transformation, (2) firmly and indisputablycommunicate the impossibility of maintaining the status quo, (3)communicate a clear and enthusiastic vision of what the organization couldbecome, (4) identify and secure the support of key players and powerholders, (5) acknowledge and effectively deal with resistance, (6) design andput into action an organization that can implement the vision, and (7)regularly communicate progress, setbacks, and achievements to allstakeholders.
The leader must assess the organizations readiness for change.Blanchard identifies appropriate transformational leadership strategies foreach level of organizational readiness. In an OR-1 organization that isfixated, fragmented, and resistant, the leader should use an enforcingstrategy (S1) such as coercive power. An OR-2 organization is inept but co-operative and concerned. The leader should use referent and reward poweralong with enabling strategies (S2). An OR-3 organization is perceptive butdivided and ambivalent. Enlisting strategies (S3) and referent and rewardpower should in used. In an OR-4 organization that is versatile, integrated,and committed, an endorsing strategy (S4) and information power should beused.Definition of TermsAuthority - legitimate power. Based on perception about the obligations andresponsibilities associated with particular positions in an organization.Bureaucracy - administration of a "government" chiefly through bureaus anddepartments staffed with nonelected officials.Equality - equal access to educational services and opportunitiesHierarchical Authority Structure - each higher office has control andsupervision of a lower office. Structure assumes the shape of a pyramid.
Human Relations - attention to the social and psychological needs ofworkers.Leadership - the process of influencing the activities of an individual or agroup in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation.Leadership style - behavior pattern that a person exhibits when attempting toinfluence the activities of others.Liberty - a public value. Freedom to choose from among alternativesOrganizational Theory - fundamental conceptualization of organizationalstructure and operational arrangements of schools i.e., classical, humanrelations, and open systems.Rational-legal authority - assumes existence of a formally established bodyof social norms designated to organize conduct for rational pursuit ofspecified goals.Scientific management - utilizing time and motion studies to enhance workerproductivity (Frederick Taylor)Situational Leadership- selecting and implementing the most effectiveleadership style based on specific characteristics of the situation, group, andproblem.System - a group of interacting elements forming a complex whole.
Technocracy - theoretical system of government and management based onprinciples devised and administered by scientists and professionaltechnicians.Transformation - a vital organizational change caused by factors external tothe organization that involves substantial and discontinuous change to theorganizations shape, structure, and nature.Related Web SitesEquality and Education: School Choice:http//www.equaleducation.com/School_Choice/Hawthorne Studieshttp//www.analytictech.com/mb021/taylor.htm/Hawthorne.htmlLeadershiphttp//www.analytictech.com/mb021/taylor.htm/leadersh.htmMcGregor: Principles of Management:http//sundial.net/˜russe/RussRP.htmOpen Systems Theory:http//www.kwandong.ac.kr/˜choich/open_system.htmlOrganizational Theory: Center for Organizational Theoryhttp//garnet.berkeley.edu/˜iir/cot/cot.html
Organizational Theory and Behaviorhttp//www.utoledo.edu/˜DDavis/prinorg.htmSituational Leadership:http//www.triangle.org/leadership/sitlead.htmlSituational Leadership: Overview (28 slides)http//sun.vmi.edu/hall/as300/as303/SituationalLeadership/sld001.htmTaylors Scientific Managementhttp//www.analytictech.com/mb021/taylor.htmTechnocracy:http//encarta.msn.com/index/conciseindex/56/056DC000.htm?z=1&pg=2&br=1Transformational Leadership: ERIC Digest, Number 72http//www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed347636.htmlTransformational Leadership: A Prescription for ContemporaryOrganizationshttp//www.cnu.edu/hrracj/bobpaper.htmlTransformational Leadership: Ethics, Character, and AuthenticTransformational Leadershiphttp//cls.binghamton.edu/BassSteid.htmlWeber and Bureaucracy