ERIC Number: ED216604
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Variable Perceptions of Decision: An Operationalization of Four Models.
Benjamin, Beverly P.; Kerchner, Charles T.
Decision-making and the models of decision-making that people carry in their minds were assessed. Participants in a public policy decision involving early childhood education were mapped onto four frequently used models of decision making: the rational, the bureaucratic, organizational process (Allison, 1971) and the garbage can or organized anarchy model (Olsen, 1975). Participants were employed by higher education institutions and were evenly divided by sex. Decisions involved the classification of child development programs and courses in the California numerical coding system and articulation between schools within the state system. Each of the four models can be described in terms of 15 key concepts, which provided the content of the test presented to participants, who could associate their experience with one of the theoretical decision-making models by choosing statements that related to that model. Sixty Q-sort items were used to create four scores for each respondent, each of which represented the relative weight that the respondent attached to each of the four theoretical models. Participants had quite different impressions of what they were doing. While they all saw themselves as organizational actors, they divided equally over their rationalistic and political perceptions. Those who saw the situation as rational tended to be state employees, office of education workers and representatives of the university chancellor's office. Those who saw the situation as political tended to be campus-based program leaders who supported the growth of early child education programs, particularly the ones that they had initiated. Key concepts and Q-sort statements are appended. (SW)
Descriptors: Administrators, Ambiguity, College Faculty, Conflict Resolution, Decision Making, Educational Policy, Government Employees, Higher Education, Logical Thinking, Models, Organizational Objectives, Organizational Theories, Political Influences, Power Structure, Public Policy, Role Perception, State Officials
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 18-22, 1982).