The extent the managerialist model of management

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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).

Educational leadership, is a diverse research field, and it has been studied and developed over many years (Bush 2003). It is a process in which an individual influences the group of individuals to accomplish the common goals and targets. Educational leadership is born in an institutional context, that is to say if there is no institutions then there can be no educational leadership. Educational leadership includes focus on goals, which means it impacts in contexts where everybody is moving toward a goal. It therefore 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, 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).

Educational management is a field of study and practice concerned with the operation of educational organisations(Bush 2003.p1). although there are no single definition of management, three definitions should be taken account of. Glatter(1979) argue that education management studies have to consider and be responsible to two parts, those are that internal elements and external environment including communities they set and government bodies who make policy for education. Bolam(1999,p.194) detailed this deification and describe it as: " education management is an executive function for carrying out agreed policy".

Although it is controversial about definition about education management, Bush (2003.p1) insists that "educational management has to be centrally concerned with the purpose or aims of education. In other words, the principle of linking management activities and tasks to school or college aims and objectives remains vital."

Bush(2003) analysis that Educational management became a field of practice and study divided from management principles used in industry and commerce. Theory, to large extent, involved the application of industrial models to educational settings. Bush(2003) discussed six management models used in educational institutions, they are: formal models, collegial models, political models, subjective models, ambiguity models and cultural models( more explain about the six theories is following table 1). Bush(2003) believes that no one of the six model is perfect to present a total framework for our understanding of educational institutions, and each event, situation or problem should be used one or more. However, in certain context, a particular model may appear to be useful whilst others for different circumstances.

In England and Wales,almost all maintained schools are funded by local authorities(Las), teachers working in such schools are employed according to policy of School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document made by state.these schools are required to follow the national curriculum and inspected by the office for standards in Education(Ofsted).Ofsted usually used the report to modify or replace the governing body and leadship. In addition.

Type of school.

Running of the school


Land and building

National Curriculum

Staff and headteacher



Community school








foundation school






GB in consultation with LEA


Voluntary controlled school








Voluntary aided school


LEA,GB Charity




GB in consultation with LEA


(local educational maintain )

Type of school

Running of school


Land and building

National Curriculum



independent schools


parents and, sometimes, charitable trust funds

the local education authority

Not Follow

the head teacher with the backing of the governing body

the head teacher or the governing body may buy in and administer support services

city technology colleges



the DCSF and commercial sponsors




GB buys the support services


The government

the government

A charity



( not by LEA maintain

In England, Although oppositions to managerialism are existed because of over intervention of government, 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, it is a fact that managerialism has developed and improved the education management system, and the trend has shown that it will continue to play an important role in education system.

2.2) Managerialism in Chinese education

China is a country that its educational management system experiences from zero, to exploring and studying, and then to developing and reflecting. The development of educational management system in China can be divided to four stages should be mentioned.

The budding stage ,in 1952, China has set education institution, but because of a lack of experience of educational management, the education system is centralized and unified by central government. The first stage began in 1958, state council published " previsions to expand their management and decision-making powers ", which symbolized a transformation form centralization of authority to decentralization.

The second stage happened in 1963, the State Council published "interim previsions for enforcing unified leadership and level-level administration in high education" , which developed " unified leadership, level-to-level administration, power is relatively centralized to central government". It is a milestone that is Chinese educational management system in its own way.

The third stage started in 1985, "the regulation on educational management system" was published, the local authorities have to be responsible for education, level-to-level administration has become a feature for education system, which further developed reform of educational management system.

Entre in 2001,the State council announced " regulation on basis educational reform" and "notice of compusolry education in rural area" published in 2002, basis education began implement the policy"local governments are responsible for education、level-to-level administration, give a place on county "



Content of reform


Influence and result

Budding stage

In 1952interim premoryand secondary management


Copy model from former soviet union

The birth of educational management system


  1958 " previsions to expand their management and decision-making powers

a transformation form centralization of authority to decentralization

level-to-level administration

solve the problem in chinese context


  1963年"interim previsions for enforcing unified leadership and level-level administration in high education"

" unified leadership, level-to-level administration, power is relatively centralized to central government".

unified leadership, power is relatively centralized to central government".

Basically correct out of control of educational development of education


1985"the regulation on educational management system"

local authorities have to be responsible for education、running a school in deferent level、level-to-level administration

local authorities have to be responsible for education

solidify the outcome of reform before


2001 regulation on basis educational reform" and "notice of compusolry education in rural area in 2002

local governments are responsible for education、level-to-level administration, give a place on county

Take priority for county

Sooner after implement,have a initial achievement about solving some probeloms about default salary of teachers, schools funds not enough and headteachers and senior manager's right and responsibility


Step by step to legalization

More Scientific and democratic

Different timedifferent emphasis and policies to sovle the existing problems

Study advanced experience and sovle existed problem while establish educational management system in chinese way

The simplification of administration and delegation of authority were made the bases for improving the education system. In the basic education, this devolution of management from central government to the autonomous regions, provinces, municipalities and special counties made local governments have more decision-making power.

For high education, considered a reason that the education system in China is highly centralized for the long time in the past, Lee(2006)argued that decentralization in education in China has some evident features and the administrative system and funding system of higher education is main aspects in which decentralisation took place in. In the sense, the provincial governments should carry out responsibilities and accountabilities to fund local universities.

Although the new Ministry assumed a central role in the administration of education, the reform decentralized much of the power it previously wielded and its constituent offices and bureaus, which had established curriculum and admissions policies in response to the State Planning Commission's requirements.

Although hierarchy management is running in basic education and excessive government control over colleges and universities was reduced( the Ministry of education) than before, it is clear that government control exerts strong in informal channels.

2.3) Compare and contrast

Admittedly, government control in education system has been placed at a different level in England and China. Gunter(1997) accepted that managerialism, to some extent, has to emphasise the managerial efficiency rather than the direction at the achievement of educational objectives.

In England and Wales, Educational management system is simplified with the Department for Education(DFE) and Local education authority(LEA), on the top level, the education system is overseen and inspected by The Department for Education and the Departement for Business, Innovation and Skills. On the local level, LEA is engaged in monitor and inspect the progress and is responsible for implementing policy to education institution.

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)). Compared with England and Wales, educational system is more complex either in basic education or high education.


Universities affiliated with MOE(76)

Departments & bureaus directly under MOE(22)

Provincial minister of education


Universities affiliated with regional government


Province, Municipality directly under the Central Government

Ministries & Commissions directly under the state council

Universities affiliated with ministries and commissions(38)

Provincial Universities

Private universities

Municipality University

Provincial Municipality

Educational bureaus affiliated with municipality

Bureaus of education

Schools affiliated counties

Schools affiliated with town


School affiliated with municipality


Although the reform of educational management system never stopped and devolution administrative power to lower level has achieved partly, a fact can been seen from char 1 and 2, the formal control imposed by the bureaucratic hierarchy. In another words, the power to manage schools is still hold by government in some informal channels.

Compared with China, government control in educational system is less than that in China. Firstly, Britain is country with perfect law system and Independent legal entity of school is explicit so that local government and educational departments are not able to intervene administratively to school without evidence of law. More importantly, In terms of governing body of school, the head teacher is commissioner of school and responsible to school board that is decision-making body. The head teacher implements the decision made by school board and manage school monitored by school board. As we know that governments have the constitutional power to impose schools that they have to implement their policies in the England and Wales. Bush (2004.p 4) explained if 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. However, "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" (Bush 2003.p5)

2.4 Leadership theories in common use in England schools

Undoubtedly, managerialism needs high quality management or leadership and policy maker have to place great emphasis on the good leadership. This is why that the significance of effective leadership has been increasingly acknowledged. Bush(1986, 1995,1999,2004) has consistently argued that effective leadership and management play a crucial role for the successful operation of schools and colleges.

Although there is no unified definition of leadership at present, at first, it has been realized that leadership 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" .

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.

In terms of prior research, many researchers paid a great attention to leadership as trait. In the 19th century, trait theory was born based on the Great Man theory and concentrate on the personality which is innate traits that a leader requires. (Power 1997 cited in McGrath. 2004)

In fact, no one has been able to provide the definitive list of traits which are different between leaders and non-leaders. However, it represents a general convergence of research regarding which traits are leadership traits. However, it is hard to list all the traits that are associated with effective leadership. Northouse (2006) studied researches (conducted by Stogdill 1948, Mann 1959, Stogdill 1974, Lord, Devader and Alliger 1986, and Kirkpatrick and Locke 1991) and identified five typical traits which emphasise what qualities a leader should have. Those are: self-confidence, intelligence, determination, integrity, and sociability.

Although the trait theory was porpular in the 20th century, it is still meaningful to think about what their leader is and what their leaders should be like. So until recently, trait theory can be used to filter candidates and identify those with leadership qualities.

With the development of researches on leadership, researchers found that the effective leadership not only depends on leaders themselves but also rely on other elements such as followers and situation that leadership is in. Situation theory, as its name implied, focus on leadership in situation. Hersey and Blanchard(1969,1977,1988), Blanchard, Zigarmi, and Zigarmi (1985) refined and review this theory and they claim that the effective leader have to adapt his or her style to the demands of different situations. Especially, if leaders want to achieve target their action should match with the level that followers prepare. In short, the leader style should be changed according different situation.

Northouse (2006) described that situational leadership emphasis that leadership is made up of both a directive and supportive dimension and each has to be used properly in a given situation. he explain further that "the essence of situational leadership demands that a leader match his or her style to the competence and commitment of the subordinates."

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Source: Blanchard, Zigarmi, and Zigarmi (1985) cited Northouse (2006)

This model is divided three steps, first is to identify the task to teachers and needs of teachers. Second step is to understand what level subordinate present and then to choose appropriate leader style. In this sense, it is important for leaders to communicate with followers in order to more understand them, so that flexibly deal with issue in practice. Because it is hard to confirm that there are only four specific parameters of situational leadership (directing, coaching, supporting and delegating), in the practice, this theory mostly is used in leadership training.

Currently, the Transformation Leadership (TL) that is considered as part of "new leadership" has been paid great attention and almost one third leadership research is interested in TL(Northouse 2006). It has growth in popularity because "it fits a needs of today's work groups, who want to be inspired and empowered to succeed in times of uncertainty."(Northouse 2006.p 175). Many researches (Burns,1978; House,1976, Conger, 1999; Hunt and Conger,1999; Bass,1998;, Bass and Steidlmeier 1999, Howell and Avolio, 1993; Bryan; Bass and Riggio, 2006, ) showed that transformation leadership theory focuses on four essential factors: emotion, values, ethics standards and long-term goals. In terms of perspective, it is humanism because of assessing followers' motives, satisfying their needs and treating and it is process incorporates charismatic and visionary leadership, A connection leaders create is characterized by raising the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and followers. Regarding elements that leadership take incorporates 'trait, action and situation' in dimensions , it includes intelligence , personality, motive, value and variable situation etc. It emphasises on cultivating value of leaders and intensification of communication .

As opposite to them, Bennett et al(2003) argued that because TL puts 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. 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. 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

The development of leadership approach in China is impacted by two parts, one is influence that traditional culture exerts on leadership, and other is 'borrowing culture' from western leadership theory. China is a country with long history, traditional thinking and culture exert strong impact on leadership development. Such as : "Discipline and social commitment" (The Book of Change); Confucianism states that "everything is people-orientated; advance with the times." and Laotze and Taoistic Management Thought believes that the leadership is to use advantages and avoid use disadvantages of person.

Leadership theory in China experienced four stages following that in western, the first stage is "traits" period that is used in identify and select leaders. The second stage is "action" period that focuses on behaviours of leader. The third stage is situation period that consider different time, places, situation should use different approach of leadership.

With popularity of transformational leadership theory in western, TL 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.

government control impacts the development of leadership in China in different ways, with managerialism development, leadership theories also exerted influence on leadership style. No one theory is perfect to use in every school. Every theory has their own strengths and weaknesses, how to exert their advantages and avoid their disadvantages should be taken into account for different schools.

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

In recent years, the leadership has been increasingly highlight in the literature. It is convinced that there is no perfect theory that can work well in every school and organization. It is consistent that either government or schools themselves need effective leadership. The key point is that cultural differences exist should be considered into any comparative exercise.

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.

Indeed, in China, leadership in school are strategic compliers of policy and government. 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.

Conclusion : 500

In conclusion, 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)