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Title: Middle management in a secondary school : an action research project
Author: Woodhouse, Mick.
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 2003
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This action research study examines the problems of a middle manager in a school, managing teams to deliver an operational project with little formal authority. The main objective of this study is to find out how a project can be managed in the most effective and efficient way when the teams involved have mixed work place loyalties and are operating within a restricted environment of limited resources. The management focus was on the micro-management of staff to influence performance and improve practice, including the performance of the practitioner-researcher. The study is set using a paradigm of symbolic interactionism based on qualitative research methods using action research. Primary data were gathered during two major research cycles each lasting an academic year. Data were collected using a series of participant logs, a detailed researcher log and indepth interviews with the teams and individuals. In the first cycle, a critical friend also provided data. The study presents the advantages and limitations of the methodology and suggests ways of reducing these limitations and enhancing the trustworthiness of the findings. The complexity of managing teams of form tutors who have multiple job roles and commitments in an inner city school environment is also highlighted. The study also raised sensitive issues and ethics in terms of the data that were generated when based on the performance and attitudes of participants. The main finding of this study was the importance of applying a range of methods which in isolation would have limited effects, but which produced a synergy of effect when applied together. These methods were based around the framework of Buchanan and Boddy's (1992), Public Performance-Backstaging Strategy. The framework included the use of traditional-rational-linear strategies backed up by a political management style. This study applied this basic framework to a specific school setting and introduced other strategies often at the micro level to influence staff. The study also shows the effectiveness of applying a different emphasis of strategy to different groups, from high to under performing staff. Some tactics were shown to be more effective; some worked well with some staff but had the opposite effect with other individuals. The efficiency of various techniques was investigated, some of which were shown to result in a high energy and emotional cost for the manager. The study concludes by showing that in certain circumstances it was more expedient to adopt a management of dilemmas approach rather than seek a total solution to a problem.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Leadership Education Management Political science Public administration