This article examines the loosely coupled nature of the US educational system and explores recent systemic reform initiatives designed to improve education through more…
This article examines the loosely coupled nature of the US educational system and explores recent systemic reform initiatives designed to improve education through more tightly coupled education policy and practice. The utility and limitations of loose coupling as an organizational construct are examined and critiqued. A number of significant forces are exerting ever‐greater pressure on policymakers to more tightly couple US education, including environmental pressures, the emergence of powerful new institutional actors, an emergent institutional capacity, and institutional isomorphism. After reviewing the effectiveness of systemic reform initiatives in several states, the article concludes that education in the USA is moving toward a system of fragmented centralization in which policymakers have greater opportunity to craft more coherent, systemic education policy amidst competing demands for limited resources.
This article briefly considers the changes in organizational thinking about schools and colleges as formal organizations over the past 40 years. While there are signs for…
This article briefly considers the changes in organizational thinking about schools and colleges as formal organizations over the past 40 years. While there are signs for a “paradigm” shift away from earlier conceptions of “loosely coupled” organizations and even of a growing indifference of organization scholars to the particular problems of managing and organizing education, there are also indications that our ability to organize schools and universities effectively and efficiently is becoming rapidly more important in an increasingly knowledge‐dependent society.
Concepts of values-based leadership posit that school principals’ professional practice must be informed by values to ensure coherently purposeful activities. Contingency…
Concepts of values-based leadership posit that school principals’ professional practice must be informed by values to ensure coherently purposeful activities. Contingency models stress the contextual dependency of professional practice and the need to match activities to local opportunities and constraints. The purpose of this paper is to reconcile both positions from an integrative perspective and to illustrate examples of “values-based contingency leadership” (Day et al., 2001).
Analyses draw on survey data from 56 German schools in order to relate professional values stated by the principals as well as organizational features of their schools to teacher ratings on leadership behaviour (n=910). Instead of scrutinizing singular variables in isolation, a typological approach serves to identify value profiles as well as organizational configurations. Analyses of variance are applied to examine the combined effects of both factors on leadership behaviour.
Interactional effects in the sample indicate that contextual influences are not homogenous across differing value profiles of principals who operate under equal conditions. Descriptive patterns of leadership behaviour within each organizational configuration reveal how principals accentuate leadership activities according to their value profile.
Due to the low statistical power of the small sample, findings are clearly exploratory in nature. However, replication and extension studies seem fruitful, as effect sizes of value-context interactions are consistent with theoretical assumptions and not artificially inflated by common-source variance.
This paper elaborates and exemplifies the moderating role of values in contextual influences on leadership behaviour. It also provides deeper insights into the content and structure of professional values advocated by school principals.