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Orchestrating complex educational change: Local reorganisation of schools in England

Wallace, Mike ORCID: 2004. Orchestrating complex educational change: Local reorganisation of schools in England. Journal of Educational Change 5 (1) , pp. 57-78. 10.1023/B:JEDU.0000022844.50126.2f

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This paper considers how complex educational change may be managed through the `metatask' of orchestration, narrowly distributed among senior formal leaders within and between different administrative levels of large public education systems. Orchestration implies steering the change process by organising and maintaining oversight of an intricate array of coordinated tasks. It is the over-arching `complex change management theme' of a hierarchically ordered typology derived inductively from a national study of district-wide initiatives to close or merge schools so as to reduce spare student capacity and improve the quality of educational provision. The paper explores patterns revealed by this research relating to orchestration. The research design and methods are outlined. The relationship is clarified between the concepts of orchestration, leadership and management. An analytical model is built-up for analysing complex educational change along three dimensions: change management themes, headed by orchestration; characteristics of the complexity of the change with management implications; and stages of the change process. The constituents of each dimension in turn are described, briefly illustrated through reference to reorganisation, and linked with orchestration. Characteristics of complexity dictated the response of orchestration and the subordinate complex change management themes across the different stages of the change process. The analytical model is offered as a conceptual framework for future research that would test its wider applicability and as a practical planning tool. The importance is underlined of developing generic yet context-sensitive practical guidance that reflects the degree of complexity faced by orchestrators charged with managing contemporary educational change.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Change management themes; characteristics of complexity; complex educational change; leadership and management; orchestration; reorganisation of schools; stages of change
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1389-2843
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 10:42

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