Contested Control: Systems of Control and their Implications for Ambiguity in Elementary and Secondary Schools

Samuel B. Bacharach, Peter Bamberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on a perspective originally developed by Braverman and Edwards, and using a sample of 42 elementary and 45 secondary schools, we examine the consequences of (as well as the interrelationships among) three traditional administrative control mechanisms (direct control through supervision, and indirect control through routinization and participation) on ambiguity across organizational forms. The results appear to support the idea that administrative control in organizations is not a unidimensional construct, and that, regardless of organizational form (e.g., elementary vs. secondary schools), multiple control mechanisms are likely to have both direct and indirect effects on the average level of teacher ambiguity in schools. However, the findings also suggest that multiple administrative control mechanisms may coexist, having reinforcing, offsetting, and mediating effects on one another with regard to ambiguity. Moreover, the findings indicate that the specific effects of these control mechanisms on ambiguity are likely to be contingent on organizational form.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-466
Number of pages28
JournalWork and Occupations
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1995
Externally publishedYes

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