The application of different models of organization to the study of schools is common in the literature on organizational theory. This literature distinguishes rational models, such as the bureaucratic ideal type, from natural systems models, such as the concept of schools as loose‐coupled systems and the image of schools as political arenas. This article examines the extent to which some specially selected schools in Australia and New Zealand can be viewed as resembling certain organizational models. The article concludes that there is no one model which is suitable for describing schools although many of the different models described by theorists seem to be relevant to the schools studied. The article also seeks to isolate some of the factors that result in schools resembling certain organizational models rather than others.
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