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Managerialism is a set of beliefs and practices

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 4483 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Explore to what extent the managerialist model of management and leadership adopted in England and Wales has influenced management culture in China and the impact that this has had on my management and leadership style.


Managerialism is a set of beliefs and practices, and it assumes that better management can solve the various problems existing in the public sectors (Pollitt,1993). In either England and Wales or China, Managerialism has been a stable indispensable ingredient in the policy of government in order to operate state schools, in contrast to the traditional bureaucratic ideals, it provides high priority to management and leadership (Pollitt 1993).

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Leadership, is a complex social phenomenon, and it has been studied and developed over many years. It is a process in which an individual influences the group of individuals to accomplish the common goals and targets. Leadership is born in an organization context, that is to say if there is no organization or group then there can be no leadership. Leadership includes attention to goals, which means leadership impacts in contexts where everybody is moving toward a goal. So leadership seems like a power relationship existing between leaders and followers (Northouse ,2007).

Management is defined realistically in the context of an organization. That is to say that management is a process which enables organizations to set and achieve their objective by planning organizing and controlling their recourses, including gaining motivation from their employees.

Although it is being argued that the application of some managerialist approaches cause problems, in England and Wales, education is overseen by the Department for Education according to managerialist principles. Almost all state-funded schools are maintained schools funded by the government in which the local authority, Ofsted and the TDA are influential partners.

Proponents of the new managerialism in education argue that managerial methods are necessary to respond to the demands of a changed environment with dramatically increased degrees of uncertainty in a knowledge-dependent society. In this paper, I argue that the ongoing changes in education management are better understood in England and Wales as well as in China. I will focus on as follows:

To explore and contrast how government in England and China control schools in their respective countries.

To compare and contrast how leadership is exercised in schools in China and England. (trait, style, transformational leadership)

To reflect on what leadership theory I might be able to apply when I return to China.

Literature review

2.1)Managerialism in English Education

Managerialism has become the predominant ideology in English educational management. Although there are different definitions of managerialism, as a fad and buzzword, it has been given various names including, New public Management, New Managerialism, Entrepreneurial Governance and Neo-Taylorism” (Power 1997 cited in McGrah. 2004)

Managerialism was introduced to English education in 1980s and there has been as a belief that effective leadership and management is considered as the most important element for operating successful schools and colleges (Bush 2004 cited in McGrath).

Bush (2004) summarised its typical traits as follows: managerialism , Firstly, it empowers managers’ right to manage, which is raising the process of management above that which is to be managed. Secondly, it uses cost centres and devolved budgets to achieve greater financial control. Thirdly, managerialism uses contracts instead of the high-trust relationship to organise sub-units. Fourthly, managerialism uses performance assessment to link the individuals’ aim and the objectives of organisation. Last but not least, “a virtual-market environment is created , it promotes competition and transforms students into customers”.

In regards to the features of managerialism mentioned before, better management and leadership have become requirements and a trend. Pollitt (1993:49) stated that “managerialism is the acceptable face of new-right thinking concerning the state. It is an ingredient in the ‘pot pouris’ which can attract support beyond the new right itself.”

During the last two decades, Bush (1986, 1995, 1999, and 2004) also consistently claimed that effective leadership and management play a crucial role in the successful operation of schools and colleges. Bush (2004:2) suggested “successful management requires a clear link between aims, strategy and operational management. In his view there are three aspects which should be clear, that is: formal aims, organizational or individual aims and the determination of aims. Gunter (1997) accepted the same conception that managerialism has to emphasise managerial efficiency rather than the direction at the achievement of educational objectives.

Although opposition to managerialism has never stopped, the government continually emphasises the effective management and leadership in schools, colleges and universities as the means by which governmental and organisational goals may be achieved (Simkins cited in Mcgrath 1999). However, the fact that managerialism has affected the development of education and society and the trend has shown that it will continue to play an important role in education system.

2.2) Managerialism in Chinese education

In China education is a state-run system of public education run by the Ministry of Education. In the basic education, the Chinese government established a uniform standard for basic education, to control the national curriculum, the system of enrolment examinations, and teacher qualifications level. The Chinese education system is reforming, through studying advanced educational counties and excessive government control is being reduced.

Similarity with all most countries in the world, education is a long-term priority in China, it has never been ignored by Chinese government Since the founding of New China, the Chinese government has always attached great importance to education, It is establishing the world’s largest education system (Basic Education in China(2010)). The Ministry of Education (2009) stated that “China has been unremitting efforts to explore a path of educational development with Chinese characteristics”.

It is well-known that education system is controlled by central government who was in charge of basic education and high education before the market economy replaced the planning economy in 1985. In short, the curriculum and leaders and teachers management were all administrated by government.

After 1985, the educational system was no longer compatible with the prevailing economic system and social needs, there was a transition that happened in the highly centralized administrative system of education(Su 2004). The National Conference on Education stated that “The reforms were intended to expand their management and decision-making powers”, this policy gave administrators the necessary encouragement and authority to ensure smooth progress in educational reform. Lee (2006) gave a clear explanation that local governments were given some administrative powers. The basic education was mainly the responsibility of local governments. In higher education and vocational education, colleges and universities were more independent decisions-making power than before. Furthermore, the investment system underwent a gradual change under which the state made unified development plans and provided budgetary appropriations for education.

In 1993 after the greatest reform in Education happened in china. The Education Law of the People’s Republic of China states that “the Ministry of Education is responsible for formulating guiding principles for education, establishing regulations, planning the progress of educational projects with expanded administrative scope and power and it is co-ordinating the educational programs of different departments, and standardization educational reforms”. In short, The Ministry of Education is highest power of education in China.

As followed years, the simplification of administration and delegation of authority were made the bases for improving the education system. This devolution of management from central government to the autonomous regions, provinces, and special municipalities made local governments have more decision-making power.

Despite that the new Ministry assumed a central role in the administration of education, the reform decentralized much of the power it previously wielded but decided-power just belongs to local governments. That is to say, the local government establishes curriculum and admissions policies in response to the State Planning Commission’s requirements.

In summary, local management is running in basic education and excessive central government control over colleges and universities was reduced than before, but the location management is more power to control colleges and universities.

2.3) Compare and contrast

Admittedly, government control in education system has been placed at a different level in England and China. Su (2003) analysed that In the Chinese context, the remaking of public play the role of top policy makers, there should be a dilemma in between the state hierarchy and market mechanisms and the controversy of property rights. During the reform era, the top Chinese policy makers have been trying to gain not only a realistic policy making role for the party-state at the macro level, but also feasible approaches in the remaking of public management at the micro levels.

Although State Council (central government) still played a central role in the administration of education and the new ministry of education is in charge of all organisations, there has been decentralisation to constituent educational bureaus and local governments. These local organisations have the power to establish curriculum and admissions policies. Education law of the people’s republic of China (Article 14) states that:

The State Council and all local People’s government at different levels shall supervise and manage the educational work according to the principle of management by different levels and division of labour with individual responsibility.

Secondary and lower education shall be managed by the local People’s government under the leadership of the State Council.

Higher education shall be managed by the State Council and the People’s government of province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government.

Similar reforms china stated later , in England and Wales, “the school leaderships are reduced to implement the policies and values of government and its agencies” (Bush 2004.p 4). “The government is very appreciative of school leadership who continue to give their time and energy to the voluntary work of serving on school governing bodies.

Although governments have the constitutional power to impose their will but successful innovations require the commitment of those who have to implement these chances in the England and Wales (Bush 2004.p 4). He explained if the teachers and leaders believe the policies are not suitable for teaching and learning, which should give rise to a lack of passion and enthusiasm to implement an initiative. Therefore, government should encourage schools to have visionary leadership as long as the visions and values of school are close to government imperatives.

Bush(2004) argued that to what extent the leadership is able to modify government policy depends on school-level values and vision. Different ideas , Furlong (2002) claimed that the professional status of teachers has been reduced because of increased government control of education. That is to say, in England and Wales, professionalism is allowed to exist only by the grace of central government due to the central monitoring of teacher performance. (Bush, 2004 p5)

Governing bodies and individual governors should also review their effectiveness and carry out self evaluation of their own skills and evaluate the skill set possessed by the governing body as a whole so that any skills gaps can be met. Governors should also receive defined information to enable them to challenge and hold the school leadership team to account

2.4 Leadership theories in common use in England schools

Undoubtedly, managerialism needs high quality management or leadership and policy maker have placed great emphasis on the good leadership. So the model of leadership has been promoting. Although there is no unified definition of leadership at present, it is different from management. Yukl(2002) and Northhouse (2007) described that leadership is an influenced process where individual influences a group or organization through his or her actions and motivation. Bush(2004) clarified this by suggesting three dimensions to define leadership. that is, “leadership as influence”, “leadership and values” , and “leadership and vision” .

Because the significance of effective leadership has been increasingly acknowledged, not true beause its important new therories have been developed researchers never stop to study and analyse leadership theories. In consequence, there are many leadership theories according to different concerns the style approach emphasized on and various social context. However, in England, every leader has their own leadership style which very often can be analysed using trait, style and transformational leadership.

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Trait theory is leadership theory with long history. It originated in the 19th century, is based on the Great Man theory of leadership. Where from The Great man theory believes that a successful leader should have certain innate characteristics that make them special and concentrate on their success. Trait theory developed out of the Great man theory and emphasises the identification and analysis of the superior qualities of leaders. This theory concentrate on the personality which are innate traits that a leader requires. (Power 1997 cited in McGrath. 2004)

As a theory, the traits leaders should hold have been studied since its birth. Although no one has been able to provide the definitive list of traits which are different between leaders and non-leaders, there are seven typical traits that have been considered important. That is: self-confidence, intelligence, helicopter effect (explain it) , persistence, integrity, motivation and responsibility, which emphasise what qualities a leader should have. ( McGrah. 2004)(reference)””

For the reason that trait theory is still important at present, two strengths should be mentioned. The greatest one is that it is very easy to understand, people likely think about what their leader is and what their leaders should be like. Another great function of trait theory is that trait theory can be used to filter candidates and identify those with leadership qualities. These strengths also affect following new theories, but as a theory, the greatest weaknesses also constrict its development. The greatest weakness is that the definitive list of traits has not been agreed. That is to say, if a new list is identified the recognized leader should be in dilemma, because they likely do not have all the traits specified. ( McGrath. 2004 )(quotation if u copy other words say situation some

Compared with trait theory that focus on the personality, style theory concerned with the behaviour. Northouse (2007) comments that generally there are two kinds of behaviour which should be considered. One is task theory which aids goal achievement and other is relational theory which assists interpersonal support. Style theory seeks a way to help leaders to effectively combine these two behaviours. As a theory, the greatest strength is that it established the idea that the leader’s style is composed of two major components- task and relationship, more importantly, the key to good readership is finding the right balance, which changes the focus of research to what leaders do and how they act while it provides leaders with an insight into how others see them. However, there are three doubts about this theory. First, how does style of leadership impact on performance and attitude of staff? Secondly, whether there is a style that is effective in all situations? Thirdly, it does not take account of the context or situation in which leadership is exercised (Northouse 2007).

Currently, the Transformation Leadership theory (TL) has become popularised in the educational leadership field. Transformation Leadership theory focuses on values, ethics standards and long-term goals. A connection leaders create is characterized by raising the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and followers.

Caldwell and Spinks (1992) commented that transformation leadership theory is crucial for self-managed schools.

As opposite to them, Bennett et al(2003) argued that because this theory put too much on the top leader as a “heroic” figure and encourage manipulation of followers, it gave rise to overemphasis on conception of distributed leadership. ( for leadership )Similarly, Bush(2004) discussed that transformational model is popular in the literature but the contemporary policy climate cannot provide enough condition for its growth, because “the English system increasingly requires school leaders to adhere to government prescriptions which affect aims, curriculum, content and pedagogy as well as values”(Bush 2004,p78). Bottery (2001) holds a the same view that “the more centralized , more directed, and more controlled educational system that has dramatically reduced the possibility of realising a genuinely transformational education and leadership.” (2001: page) However, transformational leadership theory is consistent with the collegial model in which a challenge should be faced is that leaders and staffs have shared values and common interests.

2.5) Management and leadership approaches used in China

Government control, on the one hand, built a solid basis of education; on the other hand, it produced a constriction on leadership. Although being one of the major public policies, educational decentralization is a popular reform of governments around the world including China. Admittedly, there are considerable autonomy and variations in and among the autonomous regions, provinces, and special municipalities, but decentralization is by no means an entirely new policy initiative or a recent policy product. Leadership has to be impacted by local government and it has to adopt diversified strategies to obedience to authority. (reference ? why )

Indeed, in China, leaderships in school are strategic compliers of policy and government. The reason is that “what is extent of which the government policy can be changed by leaderships who develop alternative approaches based on school-level.

In general, the aim of schools for basic education is to enter higher school and the target of high education is to be in business in China, In face of increasing financial constraints and under increasing pressure of government inspect and social intervention., on balance, leaderships in school have to pursue three “Es” (efficiency, effectiveness, and economy) to follow the policy of government.

2.6 Reflection: what extent could that trait, style and transformational leadership used in China

Despite a fact that government control, to some extent, impacts the development of leadership in China, with managerialism development, leadership theories also exerted influence on leadership style. Trait, style and transformational leadership theories are paid attention more. Exactly, trait theory is the oldest theory and the earliest used in china, this theory is not solely copy of the Great Man theory, but it is based on Great Man theory, summarized the common traits of successful leaders.

Up to now in China, likelihood, if an organization wants to look for a leader or someone want to work as a leader in educational institution, the basic qualities as first sieve should be required, these traits are as followed:

Intelligence: leaders should have professional knowledge and be intellect to deal with issues and problems.

Self-confidence: it is quite different between leaders and their followers. No matter how hard the leaders confront with challenges, leaders should be confident to tackle them, it is not fake it but positive to seek effective way due to a believe you can deal with them.

Helicopter effect: China is a country whose thought is more collective, as a leader, she or he should be able to encourage everyone’s aim to be same with organization. leaders need to motivate not only themselves but also staff.

Persistence: as good quality, the leader must have it. As leaders in education, they should meet challenges, obstacles and results that are not expected. Never giving up and keeping forward are ever objectives.

Integrity: it come from respect and trust and integrity is foot of respect and trust.

Responsibility: leaders should put responsibility before accountability.

Reference here who wrote it With popularity of transformational leadership theory in western, this theory is permeating to China. It is part of the new leadership paradigm that give more attention to the charismatic and effective elements of leadership. It meets the needs of today’s work groups who want to be inspired and empowered to succeed in times of uncertainty, because this theory focus on the intrinsic motivates and follower’s development. It provide easier way for leaders to combine the aim of organization and individuals targets. It is more humanism, and it consider emotions, values, ethics, standards and long-term goals and includes assessing followers motives, satisfying their needs and treating as full human beings. That is why this theory is broad researched and applied in China.

These three theories have their own strengths and weaknesses, how to exert their advantages and avoid their disadvantages is strategy and tactic.

Conclusion : 500

In conclusion, therefore, it can be seen that despite widespread opposition to managerialism. It is common sense that there are two sides for everything in the world, although opposition of managerialism has never stopped, managerialism has become a dominant ideology in educational management either in England and Wales as well as in China. It is a production of development of society even though the application of managerialist approach can cause some problem.

However, managerialism emphasizes on manager’s right to manage. It is typified by a set of practice including the assumptions, techniques, ideas and behaviours, so the practice of management is raised above importance of the function being managed. So the introduction of manageriamlism led to a greater emphasis being place on management and leadership as these skills were necessary to meet the new requirements. Reference here who said quotation

According to managerialism, government needs the good management and leadership to control education. However, the government policy cannot be changed by leaderships who develop alternative approaches based on school-level. In other words, governments in England and Wales have the constitutional power to impose their will but successful innovations require the commitment of those who have to implement these changes; while in China, central government controls and manages at different levels. On the one hand it keeps educational development stable; on the other, it limits innovation.

Management and leadership

As a predominant ideology in educational management, managerialism needs the effective management and leadership which are required by governmenal and organizational. Management is of mind so it is important. As a science, it is concerned with now and here, which means manager need to do things right; while leadership is concerned with future, as a art, leadership is sole and heart, it need to do right things. So management and leadership, in most time, could not be divided.

Indeed, leadership theories have provide a dramatically different view of the driving forces behind leadership. As is mentioned before that in England the trait, style and transformational leadership are very often analysed by most leaders even if they have their own leadership style. During the process of development of leadership theory, the researchers and leaders have been looking for the best way to obtain the sense and avoid their weakness. This is why some good strengths of old theory (traits and style theory) are still important for today. With the development of leadership theory, the new theories always fit requirement of age in order to fit effective management and leadership.

Areas of weakness in what you have done

I have done my best to show the educational management and leadership in England and Wales and China. Because the aims of education are more diffuse and contested. As is known, the educational aims are tied up with people’s values and beliefs, so educational management and leadership should be different with other public areas. In addition, because of the differences of context and tradition in different countries, management and leadership in China and England are in different way, although it is in very subtle, implicit ways. The analysis and discussion have been shown; some of these were somewhat out of date. Although it is not clear which leadership style is the best for England and China, at least, the strengths and weakness mentioned before are meaningful for further research if it is merely reflecting way for me to see my own leadership style.

However, in the long run, negative effect of managerialiam and leadership theories should be attractive my eyes. As we know that things will change, but only slowly. Research in these areas is important, the eventual solution would identify the better way to manage schools, colleges and universities – in other words, a greater respect for aims of education to look for a fittest management method. (3982)


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