ERIC Number: ED371446
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Schools as Open Social Systems: A Study of Site Specific Restructuring.
Dellar, Graham B.
This paper revisits the literature on the nature of school organizations and presents a view of secondary schools as complex social systems, as opposed to bureaucratic-rational structures. Research was conducted into three Western Australia secondary schools planning to implement school-based decision making and planning procedures. The restructuring program reflected a corporate managerialist perspective viewing schools as rational systems and reform as a matter of linkage tightening. The first section reviews organizational theory literature to develop a rationale for viewing schools as open social systems. The second section focuses on research methods employed to assess the possible effect of subsystem linkage and an open social system on implementing school-based management. The third section offers a brief cross-case analysis of the three secondary schools, focusing on the schools' subsystem linkage and participants' use of information. The final section presents concluding comments and implications for action. A secondary school's organizational character is strongly affected by the existence of separate subject departments, which foster strong departmental allegiance among teachers. This pedagogical subsystem is more weakly linked with a school's structural and cultural subsystems. Introducing participatory decision making through school-based management can be perceived as threatening the pedagogical subsystem's autonomy. Reform strategies must consider existing subsystem linkages. (Contains 26 references.) (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia