Forty years ago the so‐called “theory movement” took root in educational administration because it so fundamentally broke with the past, replacing trial‐and‐error experience with analysis and research in an effort to improve our understanding of educational organizations and how to manage them. Fuelled by support from private foundations and, eventually, the US federal government, this landmark development in administrative and organizational theory altered the way in which universities taught educational administration. In the educational reform movement of the 1980s, however, the established and time‐honoured theoretic concepts of the past four decades – with their emphasis on mathematical proof and ways of thinking borrowed from laboratory science – gave way to newer, richer ways of understanding organizations and thinking about them. Describes the emerging new directions in organizational and administrative theory and where they are taking us.
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