The Technological Imperative in Educational Organizations: An Investigation of Structural and Personnel Factors Associated with the Flexibility of Instructional Technology in Public Elementary Schools
Balderson, James Henry
MetadataShow full item record
Balderson, James Henry
This study of public elementary school organizations explored relationships among properties of three major variables: technology, structure and personnel. The relationships were examined (a) in the light of Charles Perrow's theoretical formulation of the "technological imperative" which states that the nature of an organization's technology determines the nature of its organizational structure and (b) in the light of the author's notion that the educational attitudes of organizational personnel were likely to affect the technology and structure of educational organizations. The general research problem was stated as follows: Are public elementary school organizations characterized by systematic variation in relationships among properties of personnel attitudes, technology and structure? Four research questions were derived from the study's theoretical framework: 1. Is there evidence that the technological imperative operates in educational organizations? This question was addressed by an examination of (1.1) relationships of instructional flexibility (a measure of technological routineness) with the following structural characteristics: (a) bureaucratization of teacher behavior, (b) influence over school-wide matters, and (c) influence over classroom matters; and (1.2) the effects of control variables on the hypothesized negative relationship between instructional flexibility and bureaucratization of teacher behavior. 2. What weights may be assigned to characteristics of supervisory and instructional personnel regarding their association , if any, with instructional flexibility and properties of organizational structure? This question was addressed by an examination of (2.1) relationships of the educational attitudes of principals and staffs with instructional flexibility and (2.2) bureaucratization of teacher behavior and (2.3) the powers of two models to describe causal relationships among these variables. 3. What few variables compared with instructional flexibility best predict bureaucratization of teacher behavior? 4. What few variables compared with bureaucratization of teacher behavior best predict instructional flexibility? Data was collected by a questionnaire survey of 41 elementary schools in a large urban western Canadian school district. Computerized multivariate statistical techniques, including path analysis, were used to examine the data.