Theories of educational management in practice : an analysis of a critical incident at a College of Higher Education
thesisposted on 15.12.2014, 10:44 by David J. Halton
This thesis describes a case study which was designed to evaluate data derived from an analysis of a critical incident at Nene College of Higher Education. The purpose of the case study is to assess whether there is any evidence derived from the analysis of the data emanating from the critical incident to indicate (1) that some or all theoretical models of educational management existed in practice in a Higher Education Institution (HEI), and (2) that one or more theoretical models of educational management in that HEI may dominate in practice. In addition, the case study results are used to respond to research questions relating to organisational goals and culture as well as the influence of the external and internal environment upon the members of College staff involved in the critical incident. The results are also used to examine the likelihood of particular theoretical models of educational management being more or less dominant at different levels of the College's hierarchy and provides the evidence against which a new comprehensive model integrating five theoretical models of educational management can be evaluated. The thesis concludes that formal, collegial, ambiguity, political and cultural models were in evidence throughout the critical incident, although formal, collegial and cultural models tended to dominate across all organisational hierarchical levels. The external environment played a key contextual role in the process of the incident response, and the clarity of the organisation's goals and the positive subscription to those goals of staff interviewed was significant in overcoming the problems posed by the critical incident. In addition, the results indicated that the College's culture was a powerful factor in determining the manner in which the critical incident was handled. As a consequence, a new comprehensive model of educational management has been developed which included the cultural model as a variable.