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ERIC Number: EJ980351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 62
ISSN: ISSN-0038-0407
Patterns of Tight and Loose Coupling in a Competitive Marketplace: The Case of Learning Center Franchises
Aurini, Janice Danielle
Sociology of Education, v85 n4 p373-387 Oct 2012
The concept of coupling--the relationship between the environment, administrative goals, and instructional practices of education organizations--is a staple in New Institutional research. Yet processes of coupling have remained elusive. Drawing on ethnographic research of the "Ontario Learning Center" (OLC) franchise, along with interviews of franchise owners and representatives, this article examines an ideal-type, tightly coupled organization. Despite the fact that the educational materials, the progress monitoring, and even the "emotional labor" of instruction are highly formalized and monitored, the author discovered evidence of loose coupling everywhere. Most strikingly, loose coupling is being accomplished in the context of rule following (rather than rule breaking) based on how managers and instructors interpret and prioritize available technical and institutional frameworks. By examining these processes, this article makes two contributions: First, it examines the symbolic dimensions of tightly coupled organizations by articulating how organizations and their actors reinterpret environmental demands in mutually beneficial ways. Second, this article situates the growing "inhabited institutions" literature within the new realities of education organizations, examining how meaning is actively constructed and how such processes generate understandings about appropriate lines of action. (Contains 7 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada (Toronto)