ERIC Number: ED243175
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
Notes on a Political Theory of Educational Organizations.
Bacharach, Samuel B.
This essay reviews major trends in methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of organizations since the mid-sixties and espouses the political analysis of organizations, a position representing a middle ground between comparative structuralism and the loosely coupled systems approach. This position emphasizes micropolitics as well as macroinstitutional analysis and incorporates the elements of structure, cognition, and action, thereby taking into account both structural constraints on individual actors within organizations and the actors' voluntarism. According to this perspective, educational organizations are conceived of as political systems within which participants are political actors with their own needs, objectives, and strategies. The primary arena of political conflict is the decision-making process; because the ability of the individual or group to have its interests represented is limited, coalitions emerge. Educational organizations are approached dialectically, through a historical perspective and in terms of the specificity and structure of the institutional system of which they are part. Two methodological implications are that the unit of analysis of educational organizations as political entities is the group, and that the case study and the large quantitative comparative study provide complementary information on which aspects of school districts are unique and which are quantitatively recurrent. (MJL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: State Univ. of New York, Ithaca. School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell Univ.
Identifiers: Coalitions; Loosely Coupled Systems; Political Analysis
Note: In: Consensus and Power in School Organizations. Final Report (EA 016 651).