This document is a chapter in "The Principles and Practice of Educational Management," which aims to provide a systematic and analytical introduction to the study of educational management. The structure of the book reflects the main substantive areas of educational leadership and management, and most of the major themes are covered in the volume's 19 chapters, of which this is one. This chapter provides an overview of organizational and management theory, illustrating its relevance to contemporary practice. Theory is important because it provides the framework for managerial decisions. Practitioners may discount theory as little more than common sense, but this view is often based on assumptions regarding good practices. Examination of these "common sense" assumptions can provide a more informed context for making good decisions. There is no single theory of educational management because of the range of perspectives in the field. The various perspectives can be represented by six distinct theories of educational management: Bureaucracy, the preferred model in many countries, which focuses on hierarchical authority, goal orientation, and division of labor; Collegiality, which provides for the participation of teachers; Micropolitics, which addresses the political activity that takes place inside schools or colleges; Subjective Theories, which focus on individuals within organizations; Ambiguity Theories, which stress uncertainty and unpredictability in organizations; and Organizational Culture, which emphasizes the informal aspects of organizations rather than their official elements. The ultimate goal for any theory is to improve practice. Since all practice arises from some type of theory, theory can provide managers a framework to help them understand the meaning of events. (Contains 54 references.) (RJM)
In: The Principles and Practice of Educational Management; see EA 032 295.