This book explores the limits to rational management. The authors develop the idea of organizational irony as a central concept for analyzing and explaining management activity in a managerialist environment. Drawing on international research as well as their own extensive experience in educational organizations, the authors show that effectiveness is not necessarily the result of over-rationalistic approaches to educational management.
Focusing on school leadership and management, authors Eric Hoyle and Mike Wallace suggest that major reforms have had limited success because the changes introduced have diverted school staff from their core task of promoting student learning. The result is dissatisfaction, frustration, and stress. The authors use the ironic perspective to show how practitioners respond by mediating the reforms. They argue that a more temperate approach to leadership and management supported by wise policy-making can create structures that take the strain and reduce stress, encourage autonomy while accepting associated risks, and sponsor moderate experimentation and innovation emerging from communities of professional practice.
This book is essential reading for all concerned with improving education: advanced course students, leaders and managers, trainers, administrators, policy-makers and academics. It also offers insights for the study of public service and business organizations.