Toward A Critical Constructivist Approach to School Administration: Invisibility, Legitimation, and the Study of Non-Events

Gary L. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article advocates a critical constructivist approach to educational administration that combines the explanatory power of constructivist social theory with the insights of critical theory. The author argues that “meaning management” is a primary role of school administrators and that, because of the legitimation of dominant constructions of organizational and social reality many social phenomena have been rendered invisible. The author further argues that researchers in the field of educational administration continue to perpetuate functionalist paradigms with a heavy management! control perspective and research methods incapable of capturing the sense-making processes of social actors and the subtle ways in which dominant social constructions are accomplished in schools and school districts. The article establishes the need for research accounts that explore the school administrator's legitimation role, describes a mediation model that provides access to the invisible ways dominant social constructions are accomplished and sustained through the mobilization and management of meaning, and concludes with implications for research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-59
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration

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