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Managing the unmanageable? Coping with complex educational change

Wallace, Mike ORCID: 2003. Managing the unmanageable? Coping with complex educational change. Educational Management Administration & Leadership 31 (1) , pp. 9-29. 10.1177/0263211X030311002

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The argument is developed that complex educational change, intrinsically, is relatively unmanageable. Its effective management entails coping with complexity over which control is inherently limited. There are modest possibilities for maximizing control within these limits and attempts to improve manageability should focus on them. Drawing on evidence from research on reorganization of schools, sources of ambiguity in the change process are identified. Popular prescriptions for practice are shown to have limited potential to guide practice because they underplay ambiguity and overplay the extent of human agency. It is suggested that understanding the extent and limits of human agency provides a strong foundation for more realistic prescriptions. Characteristics of complexity of reorganization as a complex educational change are identified and tentative practical themes for managing complex educational change are offered. An agenda for future research, theory, policy and practical guidance is put forward.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 17411432
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2023 15:17

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