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Organisational culture in English further education: chimera or substance

By Graham Anderson

Abstract

Since the mid-1970s there has been a greater emphasis placed on markets and competition as a means of allocating scarce resources. As a consequence of this the provision of public services has come under close scrutiny. In the English further education sector there has been structural and strategic change. The further education (FE) colleges are positioned to be able to play a key role in· the economic and social regeneration of the UK. The development- of 'managerialism' has occasioned the use of many practices and procedures more commonly associated with the private sector provision of goods and services. This study examines whether the concept of organizational culture has meaning and validity in a further education context. Research in this area is complex, time consuming and expensive. The concept of organizational culture is examined and evidence is gathered from a case study in Templeton College. The analysis of the evidence employs some of Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of the social world: field habitus and game. The evidence suggests that there is no integrated pattern of shared beliefs or behaviours that can claim to be a distinct entity. External factors are more likely to determine the situated social practices that exist within colleges. The case study approach has limited the external validity of the research and further analysis of . colleges is needed to verify the claims in this thesis. The study demonstrates that the migration of private sector management practices and concepts to the public sector is not an unproblematic process. FE would benefit from more extensive practitioner research; the more widely and deeply the colleges understand themselves the better chance for securing lasting improvements. Organizational culture is unlikely to be a significant lever of change in FE and colleges may be better advised to build a teaching and learning ethos

Topics: LB1603
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1115

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