Chapter 4 Organizational Theory and the Modern Period

Chapter 4
Organizational Theory and
the Modern Period
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Two Major Perspectives on Educational
 Bureaucratic
 Human
or the “factory model”.
Resources Development.
 What
follows are two examples of different
approaches to controlling and coordinating
the behavior of people in an organization.
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Bureaucratic Views
Five mechanisms for dealing with controlling and
coordinating the behavior of people in an organization.
Maintain firm hierarchical control of authority and close
supervision of those in the lower ranks.
Establish and maintain adequate vertical communication.
Develop clear written rules and procedures to set standards
and guide actions.
Promulgate clear plans and schedules for participants to
Add supervisory and administrative positions to the
hierarchy of the organization as necessary to meet problems
that arise from changing conditions confronted by the
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Bureaucratic Views (continued)
In 1983, A Nation At Risk, and other reports brought
recommendations that resulted in:
Longer school days, focus on time on task, more
homework, career ladders, calls for stronger school
leadership of the principal, “tougher” curriculum, longer
school calendar and others.
In essence, the bureaucratic model was at work:
management decided what was to be done, they
directed the workers to do it, and supervised them
 Although this model was not effective, it still persists
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Human Resources Development Views
Human Resources Development (HRD) views the
teacher as foremost in creating instructional change.
 HRD uses newer concepts such as loose coupling
(allowing subunits autonomy) and the power of
organization culture to influence behavior.
 HRD exercises coordination and control through
socialization of participants to the values and goals of
the organization, rather then through written rules and
close supervision.
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Theory X and Theory Y
Theory X rests on four assumptions that an administrator holds
about people in the organization.
 They dislike work, must be supervised closely, will shirk
responsibility and seek formal direction, and have little
Theory Y embraces four very different assumptions
administrators hold about the nature of people at work.
 They view work as satisfying, exercise initiative and self
direction if committed to the organization, learn to accept
responsibility and seek it, and have the ability to make
good decisions.
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Pattern A & Pattern B Behavior
 Chris Argyris
explains how Theory X views
give rise to Behavior Pattern A in leaders:
Pattern A, Hard: characterized by no-nonsense,
strongly directive leadership, tight controls, and
close supervision.
 Pattern A, Soft: involves a good deal of persuading,
“buying” compliance from subordinates,
benevolent paternalism, or so-called good (that is,
manipulative) human relations.
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Pattern A & Pattern B Behavior
 Theory Y views
lead to Behavior Pattern B:
Characterized by a commitment to mutually shared
objectives, high levels of trust, respect, satisfaction
from work, and authentic, open relationships.
Pattern A, Soft, is often mistaken for Behavior
Pattern B.
 See
figure 4.1 for comparison of underlying
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Rensis Likert Systems 1, 2, 3, and 4
Based on studies of schools and other organizations,
Likert identified four systems describing management
System 1 --Management is seen as having no trust in
System 2 –Management has condescending confidence and
trust in subordinates.
System 3 –Management seen as having substantial but not
complete trust in subordinates.
System 4 --Subordinates make specific decisions at lower
These ideas are supported by many well-known
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General Systems Theory
F. Kenneth Berrien, in revising biologist Ludwig von
Bertalanffy’s original description of a general systems
theory, wrote:
An organization is an integrated system of interdependent
structures and functions. An organization is constituted of
groups and a group consists of persons who must work in
harmony. Each person must know what the others are
doing. Each one must be capable of receiving messages and
must be sufficiently disciplined to obey. . . .
Two central concepts: subsystems and multiple causation.
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Peter Senge and The Fifth Discipline
Peter Senge wrote a popular book in 1990 titled, The
Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the
Learning Organization.
 The five disciplines are: personal mastery, mental
models, team learning, shared vision, and systems
 The fifth discipline, Systems Thinking, is essential for
integrating the other four disciplines in making the
organization effective.
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Social Systems Theory
 Systems
are divided into two main classes:
Open Systems that interact with their
 Closed Systems that do not interact with their
 For schools, we define closed systems as those
organizations that tend to limit the influence of the
community and tend to proceed as though
unrelated to the larger real world in which they
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A Contextual Approach
 The
input-output, or linear model contributes
little to our understanding of how educational
systems function (see Figure 4.3).
 Daniel Griffiths defined an open system as
recognizing the existence of a suprasystem and
within it, a subsystem (see Figures 4.4 through
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Role Theory
The dynamic interaction of people with varying
psychological makeups in the organizational setting is
the domain of role theory.
 Useful terms: role, role description, role prescription,
role expectation, role perception, manifest and latent
roles, role conflict, role ambiguity, role set.
 Role set can be described in graphic terms (Figures
4.8 to 4.10) which includes all players important to
the role perception and role expectations of any
particular role.
Can lead to role conflict.
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Role Related to Social Systems Theory
Jacob Getzels and Egon Guba developed a model of
the organization as a social system (see Figure 4.11).
It is composed of:
The interaction of the organizational dimension
(nomothetic) and the personal dimension (idiographic).
The nomothetic is composed of: the institution, roles, role
The idiographic is composed of: the individual, personality,
and need-dispositions.
B = f(R · P)
See Figures 4.12 and 4.13 for example application.
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Role Related to Social Systems Theory
When there is a quid pro quo relationship between the
nomothetic and the idiographic dimensions of the
Getzels-Guba model, equilibrium exists.
 Example is the case of Schmidt at Bethlehem Steel as
described by Frederick Taylor.
 Chester Barnard defined
effectiveness as the accomplishment of recognized
objectives of cooperative action.
efficiency as the ability of an organization to sustain
continued participation of individuals through satisfactory
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Role Related to Social Systems Theory
In an expanded version of Getzels-Guba model,
Figure 4.14 depicts the interaction of the school and
its larger environment.
 Changes in the environment stimulate a reaction that
is either static or dynamic:
In Static reactions, the organization responds to
maintain status quo.
Dynamic equilibrium is characterized by subsystem
changes to steady the system (i.e., homeostasis).
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Role Related to Social Systems Theory
Systems that do not have sensitive antennae picking up
accurate feedback information or that do not provide
information to decision makers, find it difficult to react
appropriately to environmental changes.
Such systems tend to be in a static, rather than in a
dynamic, equilibrium with their environments. They tend
to lack the self-correcting, homeostatic processes
essential to maintaining themselves in environments
characterized by change.
These organizations will decline over time.
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Sociotechnical Systems Theory
 Includes
four interacting subsystems
 Tasks.
 Technology.
 People.
 A change
in one subsystem will affect the
other subsystems.
 Figure 4.16 depicts Robert G. Owens and Carl
R. Steinhoff’s sociotechnical system model.
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Contingency Theory
 Different
beliefs in organizational theory, such
as classical, human relations, or behavioral,
will lead to competing advocacy positions.
 None of the three approaches is superior in all
 Rational Planning Models
Mechanical approaches.
 Organic approaches.
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Contingency Theory (continued)
Organizational structure and management methods can be
identified as being most effective under specific situational
Three basic propositions underlie the contingency approach to
organizational behavior in schools:
There is no one best universal way to organize and administer school
districts or schools.
Not all ways of organizing and administering are equally effective in a
given situation: effectiveness is contingent upon appropriateness of the
design or style to the situation.
The selection of organizational design and administrative style should
be based on careful analysis of significant contingencies in the
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Contingency Theory (continued)
Organizations that deal successfully with uncertain
environments tend to differentiate internally more than less
successful organizations do; yet they are able to maintain high
levels of integration between the various subunits.
New technological developments, typically developed
externally, of every description tend to alter the contingencies
that affect the internal arrangements of the school.
The school system or school, as a sociotechnical system, is in
constant dynamic interaction with the larger external
environment in which it exists.
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