In this first unit we introduce some theoretical perspectives
on management and examine a number of key management concepts
and principles. We believe that a deeper understanding of the
nature of educational management will enable you to improve
your practice as a school manager.
Individual study time: 3 hours 30 minutes
After working through this unit you should be able to:
discuss the contribution which management theory can
make to understanding management practice
explain the meaning of the terms: management, organisation,
administration, supervision, and leadership in education
understand how to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes
in educational management to enable more effective and efficient
planning of resources for use in your school, organising and
co-ordinating of school programmes, projects and activities,
and directing, controlling and evaluating of the teaching
and learning processes in school.
Concepts of management in education
Management can mean different things to different people at
different times, and a variety of definitions have been offered.
The term 'management' itself, derives from the verb 'to manage',
which can mean:
to make and keep submissive
to alter by manipulation
to carry out for a purpose.
(1) Give an example of how you manage your school in the way
suggested by each of the above meanings.
(2) Which of these meanings most closely matches the way you
manage your school?
Some of the meanings given above appear almost offensive.
Do you really, as a head, make and keep your staff and pupils
submissive? These terms suggest to us a variety of styles
of management, some of which will be more acceptable and productive
Another way people talk of management is to describe it as
an art, a science, an organisation, a person, a discipline,
or a process.
Let us consider each of these in turn.
Management as an art
As an art, management is about carrying out organisational
functions and tasks through people. This art involves the
application of techniques in:
human and public relations
the delegation of an authority: assigning and sharing
responsibilities and duties
communication: including decision-making and problem-solving.
Management as a science
Management here is concerned with establishing a philosophy,
laws, theories, principles, processes and practices which
can be applied in various situations, including schools.
Management as an organisation
As an organisation, management is about creating formal structures
and an establishment based on a mission (or goals), objectives,
targets, functions and tasks. For example, social and welfare
organisations in government management can refer to education
and health services, whilst public security management services
could refer to the police and military.
Management as a person
Managements may be seen as a person or a group of people.
For example, a teacher could say 'The school management has
changed the timetable in the middle of the term'. This could
be referring to you, as the head alone, or to all the senior
staff, or it could refer to the members of the board of governors
or school committee. In schools with several promoted staff
a 'senior management team' might be formed in much the same
way as a government has a cabinet of ministers.
Management as a discipline
In this sense, management is a field of study with various
subjects and topics. Knowledge, skills and attitudes in management
can be acquired through learning, from experience and from
Management is a collection of processes, including such things
as decision-making, problem-solving and action-planning. These
processes involve the management of resources including human,
material, financial and time. These processes are also known
as the functions of managers.
The functions of managers
We will briefly examine five main functions of managers, namely:
planning, organising, directing, supervising and evaluating.
These may be seen to form a management cycle as in Fig 1:
Fig 1 A cycle of management functions
If you have studied Module 1, Self-Development for School
Managers, you will have learned that the first action of a
school manager is to identify the mission of the school and
to set the objectives. The head will then need to identify
different strategies by which to achieve the agreed mission
and objectives. Through the planning process the head aims
to manage an efficient and an effective school. Efficient
means using minimum resources to get maximum results on time.
Effective means to achieve the set of objectives. The third
part of the planning stage is thus to decide on an appropriate
Organising involves putting in order of priority and preference
the resources which are available. An Action Plan is needed
in which actions and activities are scheduled. In order to
give the plan 'teeth', targets are set. These targets should
be quite easily attainable within a short period of time.
The manager needs to direct the implementation of the plan.
He or she should provide leadership by delegating duties and
responsibilities to staff, and by motivating them. The directing
process also involves co-ordinating and controlling the supply
and use of resources.
The manager will need to supervise the work which is being
done, ensuring that activities are carried out in line with
agreed standards, and taking steps to correct problems.
The final part of the management cycle is to assess the results
and compare them with the set targets and objectives. The
performance of all the staff including the managers should
be assessed. The feedback is needed in the adjustment of future
(1) How useful do you find these views of management?
(2) Reflect on the processes followed in your school, noting
down strengths and weaknesses in your management practice.
We hope that you are now beginning to have a better understanding
of the nature of management and the range of processes you
undertake in your role as manager. We will be commenting on
management role and functions later in this unit and again
in Unit 3, 'The Functions of School Management', when we will
encourage a more detailed diagnosis of school management functions.
But first, let us look further at management theory and principles.
Principles of educational management
A principle is a generally accepted truth, which is based
on experience and the available information. Henri Fayol (1916)
listed fourteen principles of management with regards to human
activities. They were:
division of work
authority, responsibility and accountability
unity of command
unity of direction
scalar chain (the chain of command in an organisation)
remuneration of personnel
subordination of individual interest to general interest
stability of tenure of personnel
ésprit de corps
span of control or order.
These principles derive from industrial management in a Western
context. Are they relevant in managing education in your country
today? Look at current practices. Is there any evidence for
the application of some of the above principles of management?
Yes indeed, two principles popularly practised are:
Span of control
This means the optimum number of subordinates reporting to
the same supervisor. It is often suggested that this number
should be between five to eight; one person cannot effectively
supervise above this supposed limit, and some delegation may
This principle highlights that effective organisational performance
is achieved when all persons and resources are synchronised,
and given directions. This implies deliberate planned action
towards the achievement of specific goals or policy objectives.
Can you give examples and illustrations of applications of the
principles of management in your school?
You may have noted the principle of division of work. The
idea of specialisation in all kinds of work, both management
and technical, is widely upheld. For example, in primary education,
we all have a responsibility to provide quality education
for the pupil. Our roles at different levels as a teacher,
school head, school inspector, Director of Education, are
indeed based on this principle of division of work! Within
your school there will be some clear divisions of work and
it is not uncommon to find educational organisations in many
countries structured into:
policy formulation units: to make and regulate policies
planning/development units: to translate policy into
action - policy to goals and objectives in relation to resources
implementation of policy units
evaluation and monitoring units.
So it will be seen that there is some universality in Fayol's
principles of management. However, some writers consider that
the special characteristics of educational organisations imply
caution in too readily applying management models or practices
drawn from non-educational settings. Let us look further at
the idea of schools as organisations.
The school as an organisation
Draw the structure and establishment chart for your school starting
with the chairman of the school committee or governing body
and ending with the position of the pupil. Preparing the chart
should assist you in understanding the nature of your school
as an organisation.
A manager works for and is part of an organisation. Educational
institutions are organisations. Your school is an organisation.
The word organisation comes from the word organ, and organs
are living things. Your eye is an organ; so is your ear, mouth,
heart, kidney, liver and many others. All these organs have
specific work to do. A healthy living body has all its organs
working properly. A healthy society has all its organisations
working well in relation to one another. Societies set up
organisations to do specific work. An organisation is thus
the result of the grouping of work and the allocation of duties,
responsibilities and authority to achieve specific goals.
In the management of education, it is important that the
school head understands that a school as an organisation has
a specific purpose.
We can summarise some important organisation concepts in
terms of the following:
Mission and objectives of the organisation
Functions of the organisation: What the organisation is
supposed to do in order to achieve the goals.
Responsibilities and duties: People in various positions
in the organisation have to carry these out. These responsibilities
and duties are worked out from the functions: responsibilities
would include broad statements of the job; whereas duties
are the day-to-day jobs arising from the responsibilities.
Tasks: These are specific activities within a duty.
Standards: These describe the amount and the quality
of products from the organisation.
Targets: These are the amount and quality of products
which an organisation wishes to give out over a given time.
For example, a school which can enrol 105 pupils in Grade
1 can hope to have at least 90 of those pupils completing
seven years of primary education.
You will come across many more terms about management and
organisations during the course of this module, but we hope
by now that you are beginning to appreciate how an understanding
of the key concepts and principles of management may help
you to improve your performance as a school manager. As the
summary of the concept of organisation highlights, a starting
point for examining whether a school 'works properly' is to
clarify its purpose as an organisation. Typical organisations
have the following aspects clearly stated and understood by
all the people in them and those who have interest in them:
title of the organisation: its name, logo or symbol
or emblem or badge or trade mark, motto, location and address
the mission statement and objectives of the organisation
functions of the organisation
expected results and products.
State the following about your school: name, motto, logo; current
mission statement and objectives; its functions; its expected
and actual results for the last three years. If your school
has none of these, it is maybe time you initiated them.
Efficient and effective schools are strongly guided by their
emblems and mottos. An efficient school head uses the minimum
number of people, materials, machines, equipment, money and
time to get maximum results. Efficiency in management is important
because there will nearly always be an inadequate supply of
resources for any job.
An effective head is able to produce expected results in
a school. Factors used in judging an effective school include:
excellent achievement by many pupils in examinations
excellent performance in games, sports, athletics,
drama, debates, music festivals, etc.
well behaved pupils
the success of past pupils.
Your management practice can improve the efficiency and effectiveness
of your school. We will be examining the concept of school
effectiveness and the head's contribution towards this at
a number of points in these Modules, particularly Module
6, Monitoring School Effectiveness.
There are many different types of organisations. Note down some
of the similarities and differences between a school, a hospital,
a bank, in terms of the organisation concepts discussed earlier.
What might be the implications of these for management practice?
You may have noticed in comparing a school to a hospital that
they are both service organisations, albeit with different
client groups. Schools serve healthy people to change their
behaviour. Hospitals serve unhealthy people to become healthy.
Other organisations like banks aim to make a profit as they
serve people. Some private and commercial schools also operate
like banks. Other distinctive characteristics of educational
management concern the objectives, which may be hard to define,
and the fact that outcomes are rather difficult to measure.
Another point relates to the time available for managerial
activities, a point which may become clearer when we look
at the role of the head.
The role of the head
As a school head, you fulfil a number of important roles.
Your role ultimately involves changing the behaviour and attitude
of each pupil. It is recognised that you get this job done
through other people. This is the management role, and the
key focus of this unit so far has been to explore the nature
of the management practices which make up this role.
Note down some other major roles which might describe the way
a school head undertakes his or her job.
The roles you noted might have included the following:
We will be commenting on many of the functions associated
with these various roles subsequently in this module. Here
we attempt some clarifications of the administrative and leadership
roles to conclude this introductory unit.
Administration and management
Pause for a moment and consider what you think to be the difference
between administration and management.
Some people use management to mean administration. However,
management in an organisation involves planning, designing,
initiating actions, monitoring activities and demanding results
on the basis of allocated resources. It is policy making,
policy control and monitoring. Administration on the other
hand involves implementation of the policies, procedures,
rules and regulations as set up by the management.
A school head plays the role of an administrator in the implementation
of policies on education within the country.
You will need, for example, to be familiar with educational
policy statements, such as:
the language policy in education as stipulated in the
constitution of the country
policy statements on promotion and provision of education
services as stated in the education laws
policy statements on education by government officials
especially those on code of conduct for pupils and for teachers;
curriculum development, implementation and evaluation.
Supervisions and leadership
In addition to the managerial and administrative role, the
head teacher has a supervisory and a leadership role.
Suppose you are appointed as head of a school where results
in Mathematics for Grade 7 have been poor for the last five
consecutive years. Suggest any three supervisory and any three
leadership steps you would take towards the improvement of the
Mathematics results in the school.
Leadership: This involves the use of authority, power
and influence in the process of managing and administering
resources at work to produce results.
Supervision: This involves doing the job itself; and
showing others how to do it and checking that the job is well
Remember that an effective supervisor explains what is to
be done, who is expected to do it, how it should be done,
when it is to be done and the consequences of a good job done.
On the other hand, an effective leader sets the targets and
the standards. Success or failure in doing the job is measured
against the set targets and standards.
In this unit we have introduced different perspectives on
educational management, highlighting key concepts, principles
and processes of management and administration. We hope that
you have been able to relate the discussion so far to your
own experience as a school head and that you have started
to reflect on your role and functions as a manager.
A summary of many of the key features of management is presented
schematically in Fig 2, the Egg Model of the Management Cycle.
This shows three major inter-related domains, influencing
results. The three domains are:
1 Management: theory and practice.
2 Administration: authority, power, influence and people.
3 Management of change: planning, research, evaluation, development
The Shell and Membrane represent: management, administration,
The Egg Albumen represents: elements of the process of management;
adminstration; planning and development
The Egg Yolk represents: results; yield; outcomes
These features are discussed in greater detail in the subsequent
units of the module and in other modules. But before exploring
the various elements of school management in greater depth
in Unit 3, Unit 2 focuses on the wider organisational context
within which schools operate - government organisation and
Fig 2 The Egg Model of the Management Cycle
Source: J. Lodiaga, Kenya Education Staff Institute, Nairobi,