Recent Question/Assignment

Unit: educational institutions as organisations
7.3Case Study
Summary 1 page Bring along to Saturday 1
Description (draft) Approx 800 words Bring along to Saturday 2
Analysis (draft) Approx 1000 words Bring along to Saturday 3

Finished Case Study Approx 2000 words Due end of Wk 13 at midnight
The case study deals with a situation (a change, a conflict, an event, a sequence of activities, a problem) where you work or in an organisation you are familiar with. The structure of the finished Case Study is:
1. Short introduction
2. Case Description (In final form, should be no more than 800 words)
3. Case Analysis (In final form, should be around 1000 words)
4. Short conclusion which summarises the main points you've made in your 'Analysis'
5. List of literature you've cited
Why undertake a case study? The process involved in preparing the Case Study is to observe what is happening in your organisation, reflect on these observations with others, and then apply these reflections to understanding things more deeply. These steps parallel the iterative process of observation, reflection and re-observation / interpretation that is a key skill for educational leaders and managers.
How do I pick an area to write about? Possible areas for a case study might include:
• a change in staff, processes or place / locations
• tensions between individuals or work areas
• adjustment to changing demands from government, parent bodies, industry, etc.
• asuccessful or unsuccessful appointment (e.g., new manager) or initiative (e.g., staff development)
• changes in organisational relationships or structures
In deciding on a suitable case, make sure that:
• you know enough about the situation to be able to write about it in detail
• you are distant enough emotionally to be able to stand back and critically reflect on what happened
• the situation / issue is suitable for discussion with the class, without revealing sensitive information about particular individuals or your organisation
In describing difficult organisational situations, how do I avoid embarrassing individuals or my organisation? In preparing your case study, never use the real names of individuals, and disguise the name and location of your organisation. When you receive the drafts of other people, it is also important that you treat these carefully. Neither they, nor the specific situations they refer to, should be discussed with people not enrolled in this Unit.
What goes in the Description? Your Case Description should read like a story. It should be detailed enough to enable a reader unfamiliar with what happened to understand such things as:
• (briefly) the nature of the organisation
• who the key players were
• what happened
• the impact that the situation/issue had on behaviour, relationships, etc.
Note that the Description does not contain any references to the literature. It simply describes what happened and why. Aim for a readable a mix of broad descriptions and sequences with 'close-ups' of dialogue, characters, key meetings etc.
What goes in the Analysis? Your case analysis should draw on the organisational literature and on your own insights to reflect on why the situation you described arose, how the key players came to respond in the ways they did, and why particular outcomes occurred. In developing your analysis, you should:
• refer back to the Case Description to support your interpretations, rather than adding new descriptive material
• demonstrate your capacity to develop plausible explanations (there may be more than one) of organisational situations and issues, drawing on relevant concepts and the literature
• demonstrate that your reading of the organisational literature extends well beyond Bolman and Deal
• Textbooks and Readings
• The textbook for this Unit is Bolman, L., & Deal, T. Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
• Hatch, M. (1997). Organisation Theory: Modern, symbolic and postmodern perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 3: The environment of organisation.
• Mintzberg, H. (1979). The structuring of organisations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Chapter 2 (Five basic parts of the organisation).
• Weick, K. (1976) Educational organizations as loosely coupled systems. Administrative Science Quarterly, 21(1), p. 1-19.
• Palmer, I. & Hardy, C. (2000). Thinking about management. London: Sage Publications. Chapter 3 (Managing People), pp. 36-72.
• Field, L. (2011)‘Exploring the political underbelly of organizational learning: Learning during pay and performance management change’.The Learning Organization , 18:4, 272-87.
• Poell, R. (1999). The learning organisation: A critical evaluation. In Wilson, J.P. (ed.), Human Resource Development: Learning and Training for Individuals and Organisations. London: Kogan Page Limited, pp. 77-88).
• Senge, P. M. (2000). 'Give me a lever long enough . . .and single-handed I can move the world.' (Chapter 2). In M. Fullan, (ed.), The Jossey-Bass Reader on Educational Leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 13-25.
• Mulford, B. (2005). ‘Organizational learning and educational change.’ In A. Hargreaves (ed.),Extending Educational Change, Springer, pp. 336–61. (Not in e-reserve, but downloadable from ).
• Barker, J. (1993). Tightening the iron cage: Concertive control in self-managing teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38 (3), pp. 408-437.
• Bolman, L., & Deal, T. Reframing Organisations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership, The Political Frame.
• Morgan, G. (1997). Images of Organisation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Chapter 6 (Organisations as Political Systems.
• Dunning, G., James, C. & Jones, N. (2005), Splitting and projection at work in schools. Journal ofEducational Administration, 43(3), 244 – 59.
• Baum, H. (2002). Why school systems resist reform: A psychoanalytic perspective. Human Relations, 55, 173-98.
• Yiannis, G. (1998). Psychoanalytic contributions to the study of the emotional life of organisations. Administration & Society, 30 (3).
• Hirschhorn, L. (1988). The workplace within: The psychodynamics of organisational life. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press. Introduction (The psychodynamics of the workplace), pp. 1-15; and Chapter 2 (Boundaries), 31-9.
• Fineman, S. (2000). Emotional arenas revisited. In S. Fineman (ed.), Emotions in organisations, London: Sage Publications.

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