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 3: Historical Perspectives on Schools as Organizations
[Page 29]To state the obvious, that schools are organizations, is not to render a conclusion, but to open a discussion that can go in many directions. The history of public education offers evidence that a variety of perspectives can be employed to make sense of schools as organizations. Schools, for example, have been studied as complex social systems, cultural entities, professional workplaces, and institutions. While a school is an organization in its own right, typically it is also an organization within a greater organization – a school district or local educational authority.
The literature on organizations include several efforts to classify perspectives. One of the most frequently cited ...