ERIC Number: ED330069
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
The Dysfunctions of Bureaucratic Structure.
Duttweiler, Patricia Cloud
Insights on Educational Policy and Practice, n3 Oct 1988
Numerous dysfunctions result from bureaucratic school organization, including an overemphasis on specialized tasks, routine operating rules, and formal procedures for managing teaching and learning. Such schools are characterized by numerous regulations; formal communications; centralized decision making; and sharp distinctions among administrators, teachers, and students. In a bureaucracy, rules are used to reduce the visibility of power relations, the need for close supervision, and the level of interpersonal tension and conflict. Instead, by defining minimally acceptable behavior, rules often inspire less than optimal employee performance, leading to increased personal supervision, more visible power relations, and increased interpersonal conflict. While bureaucratic behavior might produce stability, it also creates a dependent relationship between administration and staff and eliminates flexibility and creativity. Communication problems are exacerbated and resource allocations used as controlling mechanisms. School administrators and teachers must expend substantial effort to make a bureaucracy work. Effective principals are sometimes forced to develop strategies to circumvent the bureaucracy, to become insubordinates in their students' best interests. Recent research shows that top-down systems are no longer viable. The complexity and professional discretion involved in running schools and teaching require an approach that maximizes staff ability and fosters creative problem-solving. (16 references) (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.