A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Assessment of School-Based Management - October 1996

Annotated Bibliography

Copies of the following articles and briefs are available through:

Center on Educational Governance
University of Southern California
School of Education, WPH 901
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0031
(213) 740-0697
FAX: (213) 749-2707

Wohlstetter, P. (1995). Getting school-based management right: What works and what doesn't. Phi Delta Kappan, 77, 22-24, 26.
In this paper, the knowledge we have gained about the do's and don'ts of school-based management are presented. School-based management fails because: (1) SBM is adopted as an end in itself; (2) principals work from their own agenda; (3) decision-making power is centered in a single council; and (4) business as usual. Several strategies for success are presented: (1) establish multiple, teacher-led decision-making teams; (2) focus on continuous improvement; (3) create a well-developed system for sharing school-related information; (4) develop ways to more effectively reward staff behavior; (5) select principals who can facilitate and manage change; and (6) use district, state and/or national guidelines to focus reform efforts and to target changes in curriculum and instruction.

Robertson, P., Wohlstetter, P. & Mohrman, S.A. (1995). Generating curriculum and instructional changes through school-based management. Educational Administration Quarterly, 31, 375-404.
This paper assesses a set of conditions hypothesized as important for supporting the implementation of significant curriculum and instructional changes at schools operating under school-based management. Four of the conditions examined were derived from a previously developed "high-involvement" framework. This framework suggests that effective employee involvement in the process of organizational improvement requires the decentralization to these employees of power, information, knowledge and skills, and rewards. Also evaluated were the importance of three additional conditions, namely, an instructional guidance system, leadership, and resources.

Wohlstetter, P. & Van Kirk, A. (In press). Redefining school-based budgeting for high performance. In L.O. Picus (Ed.), Where does money go? Resource allocation in elementary and secondary schools. Newbury Park, CA: Corwin Press.
There continues to be a deficit of information about how to carry out budgeting at school sites and the support structures needed for implementation. In this study, we found evidence of a broadened definition of school-based budgeting, but there was still a gap between ideal and actual practices. Districts had decentralized some power, but schools had little discretion after district, and sometimes state, constraints were taken into consideration; information sharing was often restricted by the political culture of the district and a lack of technology; staff development was relatively fragmented according to availability and demand; and there was very little experimentation with reward structures in schools. There was evidence to suggest, however, that there was a scaling up process occurring as districts were working to use school-based budgeting to help create high performance schools.

Wohlstetter, P., Wenning, R. & Briggs, K.L. (In press). Charter schools in the United States: The question of autonomy. Educational Policy.
By the end of 1994, eleven states had passed legislation authorizing charter schools. Following the argument that charter schools need to be autonomous, self-governing organizations in order to enhance their potential for high performance, this study explores legislative conditions that promote charter school autonomy. The study applies a conceptual framework of autonomy to assess variations among state charter school policies. The results suggest that state policies offer different levels of autonomy and thus, charter schools will vary in their ability to innovate and their potential for high performance. Differences in autonomy across charter school laws appear to be related to state political cultures and to the state's history of decentralization reform.

Odden, A., Wohlstetter, P., & Odden, E. (1995). Key issues in effective site-based management. School Business Affairs, 61(5), 4-16.
This paper discusses the strategies that promote high performance in SBM schools and gives examples of what was found in schools where SBM worked and in struggling SBM schools. New roles for teachers, principals and community members are described. Lastly, the authors discuss their recommendation for developing a new school finance system to facilitate the success of SBM.

Odden, E.R. & Wohlstetter, P. (1995). How schools make school-based management work. Educational Leadership, 52(5), 32-36.
In this article, the authors set out to learn why some school districts and schools flourish under decentralization while others flounder. Findings include six strategies for success: (1) involve many stakeholders throughout the school organization in making decisions; (2) make professional development an ongoing, school-wide activity; (3) disseminate information broadly so that SBM participants can make informed decisions about the school organization and so that all stakeholders are informed about school performance; (4) select a principal who can lead and delegate; (5) adopt a well-defined vision for curriculum and instruction; and (6) frequently reward individuals and groups on progress toward school goals.

Robertson, P.J. & Briggs, K.L. (1995). The impact of school-based management on educators' role attitudes and behaviors. Working paper, Center on Educational Governance. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.
This paper explores the leadership behaviors exhibited by administrators, faculty and staff in 17 schools. These schools included elementary and high schools that were successful in implementing curriculum and instructional innovations and some that were less successful. Interviews of school staff were conducted at an average of 18 people per school. Leadership behaviors required for effective organizational leadership were analyzed using a model of developmental leadership. Specifically, we focus on five key activities: developing a vision, developing commitment, developing teams, developing individuals, and developing opportunity. In conclusion, the schools exhibiting more extensive innovations also had more evidence of people engaging in behaviors associated with developmental leadership.

Mohrman, S.A., Wohlstetter, P. & Associates (Eds.). (1994). School-based management: Organizing for high performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
This book examines school-based management (SBM) strategies that hold promise for increasing organizational effectiveness. Based on the pioneering "high-involvement" model, the book reveals the need to go beyond thinking about SBM as a simple transfer of power to viewing it as a change in organizational design. The challenge is to redesign the school organization to enable educators to engage in the extensive learning required to adopt new approaches to teaching and learning; to involve educators in the continuous improvement of performance; and to promote the involvement and responsiveness of the school to the diverse needs of the community.

Odden, A. & Odden, E. (1994). Applying the high involvement framework to local management of schools in Victoria, Australia. Working paper, The School-Based Management Project. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.
This paper applies the high involvement framework, developed in the private sector, to assess school-based management in Victoria, Australia. Areas explored in this paper include the organization and culture of schools; teacher and principal roles; curriculum and instruction; and the amount of power or authority, knowledge, information and rewards at the school site.

Odden, A. & Odden, E. (1994). School-based management: The view from "down under" (Brief No. 62). Brief to policymakers, Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This brief outlines some key features of Victoria, Australia's experience in school-based management that may be relevant to reformers elsewhere. Overall, the Victorian schools studied supported the tenets of the high involvement framework; namely, that if decentralization is accompanied by information, knowledge, power and rewards, and includes all teachers in decision-making, then school productivity is likely to increase.

Wohlstetter, P. & Anderson, L. (1994). What can U. S. charter schools learn from England's grant-maintained schools? Phi Delta Kappan, 75, 486-491.
This article examines the early experiences of grant-maintained schools in England and considers some of the challenges that face self-governing schools in both the U. S. and England during the 1990s. Because the problems faced in education are interconnected, reforms aimed at ameliorating discrete elements of the education system have been disappointing. The article maintains that there is a need for leadership at the top, either at the national or state level, combined with local flexibility in self-governing schools.

Wohlstetter, P. & Briggs, K. (1994). The principal's role in school-based management. Principal, 74(2), 14-17.
As more and more school districts across the United States implement school-based management (SBM), principals increasingly find themselves with the power to make such on-site decisions as to how money should be spent, where teachers should be assigned, and what should be taught in the classroom. This article discusses how effective principals in SBM schools work to diffuse power throughout the school, promote school-wide staff development, distribute information liberally and frequently to the school's stakeholders, and reward staff members by reducing teaching loads or providing funding to attend professional development activities.

Wohlstetter, P. & Mohrman, S.A. (1994). School-based management: Promise and process. Finance brief, Consortium for Policy Research in Education. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University.
This brief presents findings to practitioners and policy makers regarding the implementation of school-based management (SBM). It examines how power, information, knowledge and rewards are elements for creating a high performing school under SBM. It includes an overview of the process of change, how to manage the change process, policy implications for school districts and states, and characteristics of actively restructuring schools.

Wohlstetter, P., Smyer, R. & Mohrman, S.A. (1994). New boundaries for school-based management: The high involvement model. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 16(3), 268-286. This article has been reprinted in Systemic reform: Perspectives on personalizing education. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement.
This article examines the utility of school-based management (SBM) as a means for generating school improvement and applies a model of high involvement management, developed in the private sector, to determine what makes SBM work and under what conditions. Emerging from the analysis is the importance of expanding the definition of SBM to include aspects of organizational redesign beyond the traditional boundaries of shared power in order to create the capacity within schools to develop high performance.

Mohrman, S.A. & Wohlstetter, P. (1993). School-based management and school reform: Comparison to private sector renewal. Working paper, The School-Based Management Project. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.
This paper describes the similarities and differences between private sector organizations and schools redesigning themselves to address the challenges they are facing in their changing environments. The assumption is that by empirically deriving the similarities and differences, it will be possible to discover what conclusions from the private sector experience may be relevant in education, and where the context of education demands unique approaches.

Robertson, P.J. & Briggs, K.L. (1993). Managing change through school-based management. Working paper, The School-Based Management Project. Los Angeles: University of Southern California.
This article assesses the process of change through school-based management (SBM). The analysis is guided by a theoretical model that describes the process through which SBM can lead to school improvement. The findings indicate that school leaders must insure that all constituents have an opportunity to participate in school level decisions, that a vision regarding desired outcomes should be utilized to guide changes, and that the process of change should be monitored in order to better identify problem areas and allow corrective action to be taken.

Wohlstetter, P. & Mohrman, S.A. (1993). School-based management: Strategies for Success. Finance brief, Consortium for Policy Research in Education. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University.
This brief offers a new definition of school-based management (SBM), based on a review of the literature in public schools and private organizations, and describes strategies for decentralizing management to improve the design of SBM plans. The design strategies focus on the four components of control: power, knowledge, information, and rewards.

Wohlstetter, P. & Odden, A. (1992). Rethinking school-based management policy and research. Educational Administration Quarterly, 28(4), 529-549.
This article reviews existing literature on school-based management (SBM) and highlights several themes related to both why SBM does not work and how it can be designed to be more effective. The results from the review suggest that future policy and research ought to expand its purview of SBM to include more than just delegating budget, personnel, and curriculum decisions to schools and to join SBM as a governance reform with content (curriculum and instruction) reforms so as to enhance the possibilities for improving educational practice.


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