Analyzing Problems in Schools and School Systems: A Theoretical Approach

By Alan Kibbe Gaynor | Go to book overview

Preface

We live in a world which is an impressive and irresistible mixture of sufficiencies, tight completenesses, order, recurrences which make possible prediction and control, and singularities, ambiguities, uncertain possibilities, processes going on to consequences as yet indeterminate. They are mixed not mechanically but vitally.... We may recognize them separately but we cannot divide them, for unlike wheat and tares they grow from the same root.

-- John Dewey

This book is directed toward an audience of students in organizational theory and problem analysis classes, and their professors, as well as to school administrators seeking to examine their problems and policies from perspectives that go beyond their own personal experience. Hopefully, the book will provide readers with a logical structure for describing, documenting, and analyzing organizational problems and methodological insights that go beyond those currently available in the literature.

Most importantly, the book explains and illustrates a methodology for describing, documenting, and analyzing organizational problems. The methodology is put forward in Part I, comprising the first four chapters. Chapter 1 previews the major elements of the methodology and includes a flow chart showing a 13-step process from identifying a high priority problem to targeting action recommendations to particular stakeholders. Chapter 2 discusses problem indicators, standards of comparison, and the importance of identifying and profiling stakeholders and decision makers. Chapter 3 moves from problem description to causal analysis. It provides a perspective on causal analysis, supplies guidelines for selecting appropriate conceptual frameworks to use, and employ selected conceptual frameworks to analyze the causes of organizational problems. Chapter 4 is the final chapter in the methodology section. It deals with the very practical task of developing an action strategy based on the causal analyses explained in chapter 3. Specific issues addressed include (a) drawing conclusions from particular theoretical analyses, (b) drawing conclusions across diverse theoretical analyses, (c) formulating and evalu

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