Education officials between hierarchies and networks

Arnošt Veselý

Education officials between hierarchies and networks

Číslo: 2/2017
Periodikum: Studia Paedagogica
DOI: 10.5817/SP2017-2-7

Klíčová slova: Governance; decentralization; hierarchy; trust; control; education ministries, Správa věcí veřejných; decentralizace; hierarchie; důvěra; řízení; Ministerstva školství

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Anotace: The steering of educational institutions in developed countries has changed radically during the past several decades. One of the most crucial changes has been the move from centralized rational planning to more decentralized governance with a diverse set of actors and networks. Education decision-makers (politicians and officials) must be able to steer through a very complex and fluid environment and use different forms of governing tools beyond the traditional command and control. However, the core education steering institutions — education ministries — are still governed in strictly hierarchical ways. This leads to a clash of cultures: officials must be able to operate in networks while they are themselves deeply embedded within a hierarchical organization. This may lead to role confusion. We argue that people who are more engaged in communication are more inclined to a mission orientation. Open communication also increases the level of trust among actors. However, officials who are engaged in communication networks are also less willing to accept the instructions of their superiors if these seem contrary to the utmost goal of education. It is also argued that officials should be trained in new kinds of skills, including critical thinking and social skills.