Organization - American Education
In education, the arrangement of the members of a school and school district, including students, faculty, administration and staff, and the determination of their functions, goals and interrelationships. Many organizational terms are confusing because of their multiple meanings in and out of the educational establishment. In most school districts, for example, the term “organizational plan” usually refers exclusively to the vertical grade patterns in the elementary, middle and high schools of the district. In the Six-Two-Four (6- 2-4) Plan, elementary school encompasses grades one through six; middle school, grades seven and eight; and high school, grades nine through twelve.
Beyond that, there are the staff and faculty organizational plans at the school and district, usually depicted by an organizational, or lineand- staff, chart that graphically depicts functions and authority of each member of the faculty, staff and administration. Usually not depicted in such charts, however, are the organizational characteristics that can deeply affect the performance of organization members. Leadership, for example, may be autocratic or democratic and thus affect organizational climate and, in turn, the organization’s ability to function efficiently and achieve its goals. Other factors that can affect the organizational climate are economic conditions, individual personalities and organizational structure. Organizational structure and the degree to which it affects organizational climate are based on “organizational distance” and “organizational space.” Organizational distance is the number of authority levels separating various tiers of employers. So-called tall organizations— the complex variety found in major cities, for example—usually impose a large number of authority levels, or organizational distance, between a teacher and the school superintendent. Organizational space represents the physical, social or functional separation between members of the organization. Geographical space, for example, can physically separate two departments by placing each in a separate building and making communication and coordination of activities more difficult. Functional and social (or status-based) space usually exist in schools that see one group of employees voluntarily segregate itself from another group (guidance counselors, for example, from English teachers; faculty from office workers; or principal and administrators from faculty).
In the early 1960s, researchers Andrew W. Halpin and Don B. Croft of the University of Chicago School of Education developed an “Organizational Climate Descriptive Questionnaire,” which they administered to a national sample of elementary schools. Half the questions were designed to determine teacher perceptions of school-principal behavior and half to evaluate teacher perception of the behavior of other teachers. The results identified six distinct “climate types”: open, autonomous, controlled, familiar, paternal and closed. There are no definitive studies proving that any specific climate type produces better academic results— only that certain individuals function better or worse in certain climates.