ERIC Number: ED376008
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr-13
Organizations or Communities? Changing the Metaphor Changes the Theory.
Sergiovanni, Thomas J.
Educational administration has been shaped by the metaphor of organization. From organizational and management theory, and from economics, the parent of organizational theory, educational administration has borrowed definitions of quality, productivity, and efficiency; strategies to achieve them; and theories of human nature and motivation. Schools as formal organizations seek legitimacy by appearing "rational," emphasizing accountability and control of both students and teachers. In organizations there are assumptions that hierarchy equals expertise and moral superiority, that the ties among people are contractual, and that motivation is external and driven by self-interest. Metaphors have a way of creating reality. Changing the metaphor for the school from organization to community changes what is true about how schools should be organized and run, what motivates teachers and students, and what leadership is and how it should be practiced. In communities, connections among people and between people and purpose are based on commitments, felt interdependencies, and shared beliefs and values. Control relies naturally on these interrelationships, as does responsibility and collegiality. Building community in our schools requires the invention of a practice of community, which, in turn, requires a new theory and practice of educational administration. This shift in theory and practice is discussed in terms of Tonnies' concepts of gemeinschaft and gesellschaft and Parsons' pattern variables. Building the school community entails substituting moral and professional authority for bureaucratic authority, decreasing school size, changing school structures, and inventing new standards of quality and strategies for accountability. (SV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Atlanta, GA, April 1993).