ERIC Number: ED351774
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Loosely Coupled Organizations Revisited.
The loosely coupled organizational approach is evaluated in this paper. This essay evaluates this line of research by focussing on an analysis of schools, which are usually considered to be the epitome of loosely structured organizations. It is argued that distinguishing the mode and degree of organizational coupling and control depends on where, by what criteria, and how one looks. Although this debunking perspective rejects rational and efficiency models of organization, it unwittingly reproduces many of the latter's assumptions of organizational behavior, which are exemplified by: (1) a near universal concern with instruction and measurement by standardized tests; (2) rational and efficiency-based evaluations; and (3) neglect of the underlying social organization of power. In particular, loose coupling analysts adopt a framework that precludes the discovery of both the degree and forms of organizational control within schools. By reexamining and reinterpreting the existing research on school organization, this paper identifies and illustrates a range of institutional mechanisms that constrain and control the work of teachers: direct, bureaucratic, and unobtrusive. The major drawback of the loose coupling framework is its underemphasis of the social organization and institutional character of organizations. (Contains 117 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Loose Coupling Theory
Note: Portions of paper were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (83rd, August 1988) and the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).