Impacts of Bureaucracy 1




                         Doctoral Qualifying Paper
                             Fordham Unive...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 2

directors, teachers, parents, and students. With the layers of hierarchy and procedure that

the...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 3

       Bureaucratic structures are characterized “with hierarchy of authority, division of

labo...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 4

knowledge and skill acquisition resulting from specialization and division of labor

dependency....
Impacts of Bureaucracy 5

their professionalism. Teacher professional inputs will better serve the children and their

fam...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 6

       Formalization is as a set of formal rules and procedures; rules and procedures

represent...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 7

and satisfying if an organization is a cooperative endeavor. A recognizable overlap

between emp...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 8

solution formalization striving for the common goal of improvement. Coercive strategies

employ ...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 9

               resistance by teachers who are coerced to play the
               bureaucratic ga...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 10

        Smith and Meier identify two independent variables of particular interest. First,

teac...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 11

develop talent and maintain organizational integrity. Conversely, when a leader fails,

morale ...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 12

set of human interactions” (p. 150). A leader who cultivates positive human interactions

will ...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 13

will always be part of the structure. However, the bureaucracy in public education

requires "m...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 14

23).


       The city of New Orleans has an opportunity to reorganize a seemingly deficient

e...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 15
Impacts of Bureaucracy 16

                                       References


Adler, P. & Borys, B. (1996). Two types of ...
Impacts of Bureaucracy 17

      (pp. 147-169). Boston: Harvard Business School.

Wohlstetter, P., & Van Kirk, A. (1996). ...
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  1. 1. Impacts of Bureaucracy 1 Doctoral Qualifying Paper Fordham University Critical Issues in Education: Impacts of Bureaucracy FIN: 03524431 School districts are comprised of boards of education, superintendents, principals,
  2. 2. Impacts of Bureaucracy 2 directors, teachers, parents, and students. With the layers of hierarchy and procedure that these relationships create, bureaucracy becomes an inevitable result of the structure. The current trends of accountability, namely student performance and spending caps, are also evidence that suggest that bureaucracy will continue to have a place in the educational system. The connotation of the term bureaucracy is usually negative. Common usage aligns bureaucracy with inflexibility, rigidity, and alienation. The “red tape” associated with bureaucracy potentially affects schools in a myriad of areas, but for this purpose, two are most relevant: teacher professionalism and educational finance. The low performance of some schools is attributed in part to teacher constraints imposed by bureaucratic structure. Financial spending often encounters administrative obstacles that prohibit the money from reaching the classroom. Bureaucracy seems to be a necessary evil. Leadership frameworks with bureaucratic structures should strive to maximize organizational efficiency; with the proper leadership, bureaucratic structures must enable rather than hinder. There are three important reasons to study the bureaucratic nature of structure in administration. First, administrative structure is a manipulative variable; it can be organized to better serve teachers students. Second, there is more public interest in schools as organizations; more stakeholders are demanding a part in the decision making process. Lastly, the structure of a school is related to student achievement. If the students are not performing, the public criticism leads to a protective posture that often presides over goal orientation. Moreover, outside pressures produce staff feelings of insecurity, which, in turn, lead to a rigid administrative structure impeding growth abilities (Sinden, Hoy, & Sweetland, 2004).
  3. 3. Impacts of Bureaucracy 3 Bureaucratic structures are characterized “with hierarchy of authority, division of labor, impersonality, objective standards, technical competence, and rules and regulations” (Hoy & Sweetland, 2001, p. 296). Hoy and Sweetland (2001) also cite Weber who defines the properties of bureaucracy as hierarchy of authority, rules and regulations, division of labor, impersonal orientation, and career orientation. Bureaucracy is generally characterized with inflexibility, rigidity, and alienation. However, bureaucracies could be an efficient form of organizational structure. “Formal, bureaucratic structures abound in school organizations. Written rules and regulations specify work activities in the form of specific outcome measures, job descriptions, curriculum guides, and instructional programs” (Goldring & Ogwa, 2002, p.13). Goldring and Ogwa (2002) also discuss that formal structures “shape work- relations as in the assignment of teachers to sequentially age-graded classes, school bell schedules and calendars, and teacher teams” (p.13). “Modest work rules are not only advantageous for teachers; they introduce structure into an otherwise unbounded organization by providing clarity about roles and responsibilities, channels for communication, and guides for orderly practices” (Johnson & Landman, 2000, p. 112). It is incumbent for school administrators to embrace hierarchy and enliven it with feelings and passion. Arches (1991) identified three consequences of bureaucratization. First, employee isolation results from rule-governed, codified behavior, scheduling constraints, and limited peer interaction. Second, fragmentation is due to the compartmentalization of job responsibilities into narrowly defined tasks, thus reducing the employee flexibility to problem solve. Lastly, deskilling happens because of a breakdown of job-related
  4. 4. Impacts of Bureaucracy 4 knowledge and skill acquisition resulting from specialization and division of labor dependency. The adverse consequences of hierarchy are not due to structure but rather result from the decisions of administrators in implementing authority. Christie (2000) describes that the principal is a critical component for a school that works. The principal’s decisions to keep the focus on instruction, constructive tones, and high expectations work to provide leadership for teachers. The hierarchical structure should strive to facilitate organizational effectiveness. More than ever, the need for school leaders closest to the client to make decisions appropriate for reaching instructional goals is imperative. The “red tape” associated with bureaucracy potentially affects schools in a myriad of areas, but for this purpose, two are most relevant: teacher professionalism and educational finance. The low performance of some schools is attributed in part to teacher constraints imposed by bureaucratic structure (Goldring & Ogwa, 2002). Policy analysts also need to improve the understanding of the links between financial inputs and student outputs so that resources are used effectively (King, R.A., Swanson, A.D., & Sweetland, S.R., 2003). Teacher professionalism Teacher professionalism is essential for improving the educational outcomes for all students. Often enough, bureaucratic rules and regulations are identified as the causes for diminished professionalism. “Less bureaucratic schools are crucial to enable teacher to be professionals. In a more professional school environment, teachers can innovate, diversify the curriculum, and offer varied instructional strategies” (Goldring & Ogwa, 2002, p. 3). Teachers in less constrained school environments will be able to enhance
  5. 5. Impacts of Bureaucracy 5 their professionalism. Teacher professional inputs will better serve the children and their families. The changes should include greater participation from the teachers in administrative decisions, development of a stronger knowledge base, higher standards, more accountability, and increase collaboration (Goldring & Ogwa, 2002). Finance The current structure of the financial allocation system to fund education shares similar frustrations as teacher professionalism and is also likely linked to bureaucratic control. “Hierarchical bureaucracy is paralyzing American education; the structure is getting in the way of children’s learning” (King, Swanson & Sweetland, 2003, p. 430). King, et al. (2003) discuss Boyer’s feelings that the current system of centralized finance operations is “stifling creativity in too many schools, and preventing principals and their staffs from exercising their best professional judgment on decisions that properly should be made at the local level” (p. 430). Providing more resources alone will not improve achievements unless the financial allocation systems are more effective. Policy makers and educators are challenged to rethink the most effective ways to integrate finances in support of core teaching-learning activities. School finance reforms are linked to school improvement efforts for equity, efficiency, and adequacy (King et al., 2003, p. 503). Theories and Perspective Bureaucracy works poorly because of the promotion of rigid, mindlessness, and alienating behaviors. Other times, bureaucracy works well because it can also guide and direct behaviors, clarify responsibilities, and reduce stress (Hoy & Sweetland, 2001). The fundamental features of bureaucracy are formalization and centralization. Formalization
  6. 6. Impacts of Bureaucracy 6 Formalization is as a set of formal rules and procedures; rules and procedures represent a hierarchy of authority. Adler and Borys (1996) identify two types of formalization: enabling and coercive. An examination of the features of each type of formalization illustrates the potential outcomes of bureaucracy. “Coercive formalization is a collection of procedures, rules, and regulations that attempt to force subordinates to comply” (Hoy & Sweetland, 2000, p. 526). Coercive formalization alienates, constrains, and punishes rather than fostering employee commitment and rewarding employee productive practices. Coercive procedures impede communication; the procedures are repressive and foster mistrust and punishment for mistakes. The procedures “demand blind obedience to the rules” (Hoy & Sweetland, 2001, p. 298). Coercive formalization causes of employee stress, resulting in absenteeism and lack of motivation. Coercive formalization decreases job satisfaction (Arches, 1991). Formalization is associated with feelings of employee powerlessness and self- estrangement. “If formalization undermines the employees’ commitment and fosters dissatisfaction, it follows that it also limits innovation” (Adler & Borys, 1996, p.63). Lack of innovation on the teacher’s part will negatively impact classroom instruction. On the contrary, enabling formalization assists employees with solutions to problems in their work while enabling the rules and procedures to be flexible guidelines that reflect best practices that assist teachers to overcome job-related obstacles. The substitution of judgment for rigid rules encourages problem solving. “Enabling procedures invite interactive dialogue, view problems as opportunities, foster trust, value differences, capitalize on and learn from mistakes, and delight in the unexpected; in brief, they facilitate problem solving” (Hoy & Sweetland, 2001, p. 298). Work can be fulfilling
  7. 7. Impacts of Bureaucracy 7 and satisfying if an organization is a cooperative endeavor. A recognizable overlap between employee and organizational goals contributes to efficiency and pride (Adler & Borys, 1996). The differences are outlined in Table 1. Table 1 Contrasting Enabling and Coercive Rules and Regulations Enabling Rules and Regulations Coercive Rules and Regulations Promote dialogue Frustrate two-way communication Foster trust Foster mistrust Value differences Demand consensus Enable learning from mistakes Punish mistakes Facilitate problem solving Induce mindless conformity Flexible Rigid The relationships between the administration and the faculty and staff can be illustrated as a tangled web, each party blaming the higher level for establishing obstacles impeding production. For example, a teacher may feel that administrative micromanagement diminishes their professional judgment. The teacher becomes alienated from the students in the classroom and blames administration for creating the obstacles that affect day to day teaching assignments. On an administrative level, school executives fault state bureaucracies for preventing localities to adequately educate students according to unique community needs. These barriers may include the over abundance of required academic assessments or financial funding blocks. In each example, Hoy and Sweetland (2001) would contend that the unresponsive structures with rigid rules and policies foster human frustration resulting in dissatisfaction and indifferent attitudes towards job performance. The difference between enabling and coercive formalization is a difference in leadership approach. Enabling strategies require a trustful collaboration focusing on
  8. 8. Impacts of Bureaucracy 8 solution formalization striving for the common goal of improvement. Coercive strategies employ unyielding, one-way decision-making designed to monitor and control subordinates. A healthier leadership approach will improve organizational relations, resulting in a more satisfying organizational climate. Centralization The second feature of bureaucracy is centralization. “Centralization of authority is the locus of control for organizational decision making; it is the degree to which employees participate in decision-making” (Hoy & Sweetland, 2001, p. 299). In high- centralization, decision-making flows from the top down through a chain of command; low-centralization indicates that decision-making responsibility is spread and shared among many. High-centralization is coercive in nature and expects subordinates to comply with unquestioned directives. Control is an underlying obsession. The general reaction of organizational members is negative, often the basis for employee dissatisfaction, alienation, and hostility in organizations (Hoy & Sweetland, 2001). On the contrary, low-centralization suggests that shared decision-making results in more satisfaction and organizational ownership through the ranks. An administration that presents obstacles to problem-solving and job completion is considered a hindering centralization. These hierarchies usually respond to outside influences that hinder effective organizational operation. The control mentality causes employee dissatisfaction, alienation, and hostility. Hoy and Sweetland (2001) describe this phenomenon: In such structures, the hierarchy obstructs innovation, and the administrators use their power and authority to control and discipline teachers. In schools where professional work is controlled in top-down fashion, the consequence is often
  9. 9. Impacts of Bureaucracy 9 resistance by teachers who are coerced to play the bureaucratic game of satisfying artificial standards rather than serving the needs of their student clients (p. 300). In contrast, “enabling centralization helps employees to solve problems rather than obstructing their work. The authority structure helps superiors and subordinates work across recognized authority boundaries while retaining their distinctive roles” (p. 300). Enabling hierarchy is a combination of authority as administrators use their leadership positions “to buffer teachers and design structures that facilitate teaching and learning” (Hoy & Sweetland, 2001, p. 300). Hoy and Sweetland (2001) envision enabling centralization as flexible, cooperative, and collaborative. Table 2 outlines the differences. Table 2 Contrasting Enabling and Hindering Centralization Characteristics of Enabling Hierarchy Characteristics Hindering Hierarchy Facilitates problem solving Frustrates problem solving Enables cooperation Promotes control Collaborative Autocratic Flexible Rigid Encourages innovation Discourages change Protects participation Discipline Subordinates A Contrasting Perspective Kevin B. Smith and Kenneth J. Meier (1994) identify bureaucracy as an effective function in education, specifically when measuring student performance. Their theories work off a previous analysis of Chubb and Moe who contend that less bureaucratic public schools are more successful than other public schools. The findings support that “rules, regulations, and controls restrict the autonomy of teachers and prevent from doing what they do best  teach” (Meier & Smith, 1994, p. 551).
  10. 10. Impacts of Bureaucracy 10 Smith and Meier identify two independent variables of particular interest. First, teachers face two different bureaucracies: the state and the school district. Bureaucracy is seen as a function of need and government responsibility, not as a constraint (Meier & Smith, 1994). Second, and more revealing, is the discussion about teacher influence on teaching. Student performance is linked to teacher autonomy in the classroom. “Students learn best when teachers teach rather than spend their time on bureaucratic matters” (Meier & Smith, 1994, p.554). Many teachers and teachers’ unions seek to influence schools and it is theorized that these efforts are likely to interfere with teaching activities. The conclusions drawn from this study support the hypothesis that when teachers assume administrative responsibilities, student performance suffers based on the fact that teachers are not entirely concentrating on developing and planning for student instruction. The bureaucrats free them of administrative responsibilities and allow them to focus their efforts on teacher professionalism (Meier & Smith, 1994). Practical Application: A Call for Leadership To some degree, bureaucracy seems to be a necessary part of the educational system in so far as it will continue to prevail as an administrative structure to guide the processes of teaching students. However, the orientation of bureaucracy is what may either enhance or hinder an efficient delivery of instruction. By way of orientation, it is incumbent upon the leadership approach of the school administrators to best develop an organizational structure that encourages, rather that impedes. Leadership theory and practice will play a major role in establishing the trust and collaboration necessary to improve the quality of instruction that serves the client. Put simply, success is an attestation to the institution's good judgment, its collective expertise, and its ability to
  11. 11. Impacts of Bureaucracy 11 develop talent and maintain organizational integrity. Conversely, when a leader fails, morale and organizational credibility are put at risk. Administrative structure is a manipulative variable; an organization can choose its leaders within a framework of a desired leadership style. The style that best captures the essence of an enabling structure is transformational leadership. “Transformational leadership is a process that changes and transforms individuals. It is concerned with emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals, and includes assessing followers’ motives, satisfying their needs, and treating them as full human beings” (Northouse, 2004, p. 169). This approach moves drastically away from the alienation and dissatisfaction associated with hindering bureaucracy and more aligns with the premise of enabling structures. “Transformational leadership refers to the process whereby an individual engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower” (Northhouse, 2001, p.170). The leader is more attentive to the needs of the subordinates, resulting in maximized potential. Leadership decisions affect the outcomes of productivity. Teal (1998) identifies that management is the underlying issue when an organization is in trouble. “Study large corporations and you’ll discover that the biggest barrier to change, innovation, and new ideas is very often management” (p. 148). In order to best serve the client, teachers need to be able to have the freedom to do what is necessary, within a professional framework, to instruct the students. Teachers are the foremost authority of what happens to the student during instruction time and should be given the autonomy to create a productive environment within their classrooms. Managing a teacher requires a relationship built on an exchange of best practices ideas. “Managing is not a series of mechanical tasks but a
  12. 12. Impacts of Bureaucracy 12 set of human interactions” (p. 150). A leader who cultivates positive human interactions will foster the ideals associated with enabling centralization: problem solving, cooperation, collaboration, flexibility, innovation, and participation. Moreover, educational systems as a whole should rethink business practices. Mounting external pressures are resulting in tighter governmental controls, thus stifling a school’s ability to effectively and efficiently perform its responsibilities. With the present structure of locally controlled schools, it is incumbent upon the educational leaders to encourage a leadership structure that maximizes teacher outputs. Enabling bureaucratic structures would improve employee morale thus foster an environment conducive to student success. Altering school spending along the lines of the enabling approach would also serve as a means of empowering the teachers in the schools. The result is increased job satisfaction. For example, bureaucracy impedes the ability to tract funding into the classroom. The current trend of educational spending calls for a decentralized approach. This strategy gives the principals and teachers a prominent role in the decision-making process in relation to allocation of funds. School-based budgeting is the facilitative arm of school-based management. It shifts decision-making responsibilities from the district office to principals, teachers, and community members. Research has shown that decentralization of school budgeting has been proven to enhance organizational effectiveness and productivity (Wohlstetter & Van Kirk, 1996). A Different Approach The same issues and complaints that plagued public schools some twenty years ago continue to be identified today. Under the current system of education, bureaucracy
  13. 13. Impacts of Bureaucracy 13 will always be part of the structure. However, the bureaucracy in public education requires "more discretion and more control, more flexibility and more direction, more room for professional judgment and more ways of ensuring accountability" (Johnson & Landman, 2000, p. 113). The way that school officials delegate their authority could have positive affects on the effectiveness of teacher performance. Ultimately, the goal of education is to teach our children to be thoughtful and productive citizens. The focus of administrative actions should be to empower those in direct contact with the clients: teachers. There are not many opportunities to start fresh. In New Orleans, as devastating as Hurricane Katrina was, it also brought new optimism to reinvent the administrative structure of a failed school system. As captured in an article by Robelen (2005), Leslie Jacobs, a New Orleans native who serves on the state Board of Education, says, “Katrina in its devastation really gives the opportunity for a rebirth of a school district, to think it through and start anew” (p. 22). Educational professionals are excited about recreating a system that is more student-centered. Brigitte P. Nieland, the Director of Educations for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry shares her thoughts: “The district’s future needs to be approached from a student-focused, rather than a bureaucracy-focused perspective. Everything should be built around that rather than contracts and employee demands and all the things that serve adults” (p. 23). "The core idea is that there is a gigantic uncertainty about when students are going to come back, where they will live,” says Paul T. Hill, Director of the Center for Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. He continues, “In that situation, the last thing you want to do is try to rebuild a centralized system; the idea is to create a flexible system of schools" (p.
  14. 14. Impacts of Bureaucracy 14 23). The city of New Orleans has an opportunity to reorganize a seemingly deficient educational system and implement a structure that will best serve its purpose  to teach the children to be thinkers and innovators. Teacher professionalism and funding reforms can stimulate this endeavor. Schlechty (2006) states, “If student performance in America’s schools is to be improved in any significant way, school leaders must transform their organizations from bureaucracies into learning organizations. There needs to be a change in mindset as evidence suggests that the “bureaucratic model has outlived usefulness” (p. 62). Conclusion The goal of any educational system is to teach young people to be productive and cooperative citizens. In order to reach this outcome, school faculty, inclusive of administration, must model an approach that best represents the ideals that we expect the students to master. The teachers have daily access to the clients; the classroom is a learning organization. The vital components of a learning organization are collaboration, flexibility, and understanding. These same characteristics need to be present in the relationships between the administrators and teachers. Mutual respect allows for professionalism and efficiency. If schools were to transform into reflecting learning organizations, the primary interests would shift from power and authority to directional knowledge development. The strength and preparedness of the leader become the conduits for transformation.
  15. 15. Impacts of Bureaucracy 15
  16. 16. Impacts of Bureaucracy 16 References Adler, P. & Borys, B. (1996). Two types of bureaucracy: Enabling and coercive. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41, pp. 61 – 89. Arches, J. (1991). Social structure, burnout, and job satisfaction. Social Work, 36, pp. 202-206. Christie, K., (2000). Leadership comes around again. Phi Delta Kappan, 82, Issue 2, p. 105. Goldring, E. B., & Ogwa, R. (2002, April). Private practice teachers in public schools: Reexaminig tensions between professionalism and bureaucratic control. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. Hoy, W. K., & Sweetland, S. R. (2000). Bureaucracies that work: Enabling not coercive. Journal of School Leadership, 10, pp. 525 – 541. Hoy, W. K., & Sweetland, S. R. (2001). Designing better schools: The meaning and nature of enabling school structure. Educational Administration Quarterly, 37, pp. 296 – 321. King, R.A., Swanson, A.D., & Sweetland, S.R. (2003). School finance: achieving high standards with equity and efficiency. Boston: Pearson. Landman, J., & Johnson, S. M. (2000). Sometimes Bureaucracy has its Charms: the Working Conditions of teachers in deregulated schools. Teachers College Record, 102, Issue 1, pp. 85-124. Meier, K. J., & Smith, K. B. (1994). Politics, bureaucrats, and schools. Public Administration Review, 54, n6, pp. 551-558 Northhouse, P.G. (2004). Leadership: Theory and Practice (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Robelen, Erik W. (2005). New Orleans Eyed as Clean Educational Slate. Education Week, 25, Issue 4. Schlechty, P. C. (2006). Bureaucracies and learning organizations. School Administrator, 63, Issue 9, p. 62. Sinden, J. E., Hoy, W. K., & Sweetland, S. R. (2004). An analysis of enabling school structure: Theoretical, empirical, and research considerations. Journal of Educational Administration, 42, pp. 462 – 478. Teal, T. (1998). The human side of management. Harvard Business Review on Leadership
  17. 17. Impacts of Bureaucracy 17 (pp. 147-169). Boston: Harvard Business School. Wohlstetter, P., & Van Kirk, A. (1996). Redefining school-based budgeting for high Involvement. In L. O. Picus & J. L. Wattenbarger, (Eds.), Where does the money go? Resource allocation in elementary and secondary schools. (pp. 212-235). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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