The SAGE Handbook of School Organization presents a substantial review of the history, current status and future prospects of the field of school organization. Bringing together chapters exploring key issues, important debates and points of tension, the Handbook highlights the dynamics and interplay of the political, social, historical and cultural contexts of the field. This volume is designed to provide a much-needed critically informed and coherent account of the field, against a backdrop of increasing complexity in which schooling as an institution and schools as organizations operate. Part I: Schools as organizations; Part II: The leadership, management and governance of schools as organizations; Part III: Theoretical perspectives on schools as organizations; Part IV: Organizing in schools; and Part V: Researching schools as organizations.
Chapter 15: Systems Thinking in School Organization
[Page 249]Since the 19th century, Taylor's (1911) principles of scientific management (e.g., division of labor, hierarchy and control, impersonal orientation) have dominated the procedures and structures of state schools in Western society. Sergiovanni (2005) argued that schools have been perceived as rational institutions based on bureaucratic characteristics that developed during the Industrial Age. This mechanistic view, which has been strongly criticized by researchers and practitioners alike (e.g., Fullan, 2016), represented the precursor of what may be called the Machine Age (e.g., Araya, 2015; Peters, 2010), which was dominated by the reductionist approach.
Reductionist analysis posited that a prerequisite for understanding the whole is analyzing its parts (Jones, ...