ERIC Number: ED436824
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Oct
Construction and Verification of School Administrator Theories in Practice.
Keedy, John L.; Peel, Joseph W.
This paper unites theory and practice in examining the concept of "theory in practice." It contends that good administrators are theoretical about their work and that they construct categories using common, essential characteristics across similar situations so that few situations are viewed as unique. Two school superintendents were interviewed for the study. They were asked such questions as "What kinds of information do you use in confirming, revising, and rejecting theories?" and "Do you revise or reject theories that no longer 'work'?" The actions of the two participants were analyzed as theoretical (generalizable across their workplace contexts). The superintendents used data to verify and, if necessary, adjust their theories, rejected some theories antithetical to their own values/beliefs, connected decision-making to theory, and created a web of complementary categories for addressing different situations. Their theories of practice encompassed an eclectic use of social science theory to help them organize their administrative experiences. Their theories of practice were context-specific and not designed for generalizability. Future and current administrators should learn to organize their experience inductively into complementary configurations of theoretical categories in shuttling between inductively derived generalizations about their practice and the particulars of a situation. (Contains 63 references.) (RJM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration (Salt Lake City, Utah, October 1995).