ERIC Number: ED244366
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Apr
Reference Count: 0
School Principals as Threshold Guardians: An Exploratory Study.
Willower, Donald J.; Stetter, Michael W.
Much recent research on educational organizations, including that of Meyer and Rowan (1977, 1978), has depicted them as ritualistically legitimated, internally loosely-coupled systems. Willower, however, has argued (1982) that legitimization of schools by their communities is not merely ritualistic but is ordinarily problematic. To examine principals' perceptions of the problems posed to their schools' legitimacy by teacher misconduct and the manner in which they learned about and reacted to such misconduct, half-hour to one-hour interviews were conducted in January and February 1983 with 45 senior high school and junior-senior high school principals in a diverse 7-county area of a large northeastern state. The bulk of the incidents principals recalled dealing with teacher misconduct concerned student-related "damaging" teacher behavior. Principals tended to be sensitive to the potential impact of teacher behavior on a school's image and were quick to give attention to any problems that might threaten the legitimacy of their organizations. Findings of the study do not confirm Meyer and Rowan's and other recent accounts emphasizing ritual legitimization; rather, they suggest how problematic legitimization ordinarily is for schools and how tightly bound administrators and teachers are to each other in containing potential threats to school legitimacy. (JBM)
Descriptors: Administrator Responsibility, Administrator Role, Educational Malpractice, Educational Research, Interviews, Organizational Theories, Politics of Education, Principals, Public Relations, School Community Relationship, Secondary Education, Student Teacher Relationship, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Teacher Behavior
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 23-27, 1984).