The interaction between the personal and the institutional dimensions of sixteen comprehensive secondary schools: An organizational and comparative analysis.

  • John Adderley Bunday

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This investigation was conducted in eight English and eight Western Australian comprehensive secondary schools. The aim was to make an analysis of these randomly selected schools in terms of the interaction between institutional goals, structures and procedures on the one hand and staff responses on the other. The background includes a brief examination of the recent political and historical context of secondary education in the two countries, identification of school objectives and major policy areas. The research, which is based on the major dimensions of organizational behaviour identified by Getzels and Guba, utilises two discrete methodologies. The institutional (nomothetic) strand is examined by means of participant-observation and interviews. These show considerable differences between schools in organizational patterns, methods of decision making and the degree of staff involvement. The personal (idiographic) strand is analysed by means of the questionnaire responses of 73.34% of the teachers in the sample. The results show significant differences between schools in terms of levels of personal needs satisfaction, professionalism and degree of involvement in decision making. A number of links between these variables and school and personal characteristics are identified. Conclusions fuse the two sets of findings, show the vital role of leadership, demonstrate the advantages of a sub-school structure, examine the extent to which teachers participate in decision making, identify teachers who feel deprived in their school situations and pinpoint two areas of comparative neglect within the schools. Areas for possible further research are specified. Finally, fifteen recommendations to school and system level administrators are proposed. Among these, schools are exhorted to give added impetus to the areas of ethos and staff development and to provide avenues for involvement of those teachers identified as deprived. Systems are apprised of particular staff support needed and of the effects of different hierarchy establishments within schools.
Date of Award1982
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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