ERIC Number: ED285253
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
The Philosophical Foundations of Research into the Administration of Educational Organizations.
Clark, John A.
This monograph analyzes the philosophical foundations of research into the administration of educational organizations. The first part reviews past debates about the philosophical foundations of research in educational administration, focusing on three contending schools of thought: the empiricists, the phenomenologists, and the critical theorists. The second part addresses ontological and epistemological assumptions about social reality--a continuum ranging from idealists who believe each person creates his/her own world to realists who believe in an objective world. The third part defines the nature of educational organizations from two interdependent frames of reference: systems theory, which illuminates the structures essential to the stability of an organization; and interpretive theory, which focuses on the subjective experience and understanding of the members of an organization. An argument is developed for an integration of the two approaches. In the fourth part, the author provides his own view of the epistemological foundations of knowledge about educational organizations, suggesting that objective and intersubjective (or communicative) indicators are both necessary for a clear understanding of organizational life, since both actions and observations are given meaning only within the context of the theoretical concepts held about them by observers and participants alike. The final section addresses the link between research knowledge and administrative praxis in educational organizations, suggesting an active role for the researcher as a mediator of knowledge and action. (TE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: University of New England, Armidale (Australia).
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Group for Research in Education and Administration Theory (Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, September 5-7, 1986).