Senior administrators’ perceptions of the impact of educational bureaucracy on school efficacy
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This study explores the question of how educational bureaucracies impact school efficacy, from the perspectives of senior administrators, a group made up of superintendents and assistant superintendents. The literature review defines the terms educational bureaucracy and systems coupling, which provide a theoretical framework for the study and serve as a lens through which the data, anecdotal reports contextualized by real-life experiences, are analyzed and the theme of school efficacy is explored. Understanding the unique perspective of the senior administrator’s role with regards to educational bureaucracy and its impact will provide a basis from which the structure of school systems is explored more deeply, and the ways in which systems coupling and elements of bureaucratic structures might be used as tools to improve school efficacy. The aim of this study is to better understand the specific functions of educational bureaucracies that have a perceived and/or measured effect on school efficacy. Rather than using a uniform measure of school efficacy, which could serve to limit the experiences shared by participants, the secondary aim of this study is to develop possible definitions/conceptualizations of school efficacy based on the anecdotal reports provided by participants, through the application of grounded theory. The findings of this study and the implications for practice will be of interest to those studying the sociological foundations of education and to stakeholders who wish to know more about the functioning of educational bureaucracies at the systemic level, and how they impact school efficacy.