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ERIC Number: ED508718
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
Organizational Development and Its Implications for Adult Basic Education Programs
Hohn, Marcia Drew
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
In this chapter, Marcia Drew Hohn provides an overview of organizational development theory for adult educators interested in applying the lessons of such theory to the strengthening of ABE programs and systems. She begins the chapter with a brief history of the development of organizational theory, noting the progression from a mechanistic perspective, expressed by Frederick Taylor in the early 1900s, to a more positive view of human nature put forth by Douglas McGregor in 1960 and beyond. Such a shift in thinking, the author explains, led to a new, more holistic view of organizations, as well as a conception of management away from controlling distinct processes to one that recognizes the capacity of individuals to interpret and transform their world and their work. In further tracing developments in organizational theory, Hohn discuss systems theory, which developed in the later part of the twentieth century and has led to the promotion of approaches such as Peter Senge's "learning organization" and G. Edwards Deming's Total Quality Management (TQM). In applying these theories to educational settings, Hohn briefly discusses an example of the application of systems thinking in an adult literacy context in Tennessee, revealing both the challenges and the utility of using such a framework for rethinking the quality and effectiveness of the provision of ABE services. In addition, the author presents findings from a study of the application of TQM in higher education, noting the positive results and difficulties observed in the process. As Hohn suggests, the ideas developed in recent decades in organizational theory mesh well with the thinking of educators such as Knowles, Freire and Horton. However, as the author concludes, new ways of thinking about and moving ABE organizations away from traditional hierarchies will require training, strong and consistent leadership, and a capacity for reflection and comfort with the uncertainty involved as organizations work toward improvement. [Chapter 7 in: Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy. Volume 2; copublished with Jossey-Bass, Inc.; see ED457341.]
Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Available from: ED Pubs. P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. e-mail:; Tel: 877-433-7827; Fax: 301-470-1244; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Basic Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee