Conflict and control in educational organizations: An analysis of the teaching occupation
This project examines the organizational structure of schools and how it affects the work of teachers. This topic is a source of great debate in the realms of both policy and research. The objective of my project is to speak to these debates and reconcile their two most prominent and contradictory viewpoints. Traditionally, a large number of policy makers and researchers have held schools to be the epitome of inefficient public sector institutions. Schools, this view claims, lack appropriate levels of control, coordination and accountability, especially when it comes to their primary productive activity--the work of teachers. In this traditional view, school systems are too disorganized and too decentralized. A second and antithetical view of the educational system, popular among a different group of policy makers and researchers, finds schools to be the epitome of top-down undemocratic bureaucracies. Recently, a growing group has extended this argument specifically to the working conditions of teachers--arguing that factory-like schools unduly deprofessionalize and disempower teachers. In this reform view, school systems are too controlled and too centralized. My study re-examines the distribution of power in schools and investigates the range of organizational mechanisms which control and coordinate the work of teachers. In addition, I assess the consequences of these levels of organizational control for the organizational climate within schools. To do this, I have undertaken multivariate statistical analysis of two large data sets on teachers' work conditions, and have conducted field work in several Philadelphia high schools. The results indicate that both of the contradictory views of school organization are partly true, but neither goes far enough. The traditional view is correct; schools are highly disorganized, but in a more fundamental and complex manner than they have conceived. Likewise, the reform view is also correct; schools are overly centralized, but in a more fundamental and complex manner than they have conceived. Finally, there is a connection between the two conditions: school centralization is a principal cause of school disorganization.
Sociology|Educational sociology|School administration
Ingersoll, Richard M, "Conflict and control in educational organizations: An analysis of the teaching occupation" (1992). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9227684.