Group self management: Instrument development

Wing Ming Francis CHEUNG, Yin Cheong CHENG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


School systems world-wide are currently facing a huge volume of challenges and reforms (Caldwell, 1994; Cheng & Cheung, 1995). In order to meet the megatrends in education (Caldwell & Spinks, 1992; Caldwell, 1994) the school as a whole, including work groups and individual staff members, should be sensitive, responsive and flexible to its ever changing internal and external work environment. To achieve this, the professional teachers in work groups should be effective in self managing their work (Cheung & Cheng, 1996). Despite the above, there is exceptionally few studies addressing to the conception of group self management in school and the operationalization of related concepts. Based on Cheung & Cheng's (1996) conception, this paper first elaborates their framework for understanding and facilitating group self management in the school organization. Following this, the authors attempt further to operationalize the proposed concepts of group self management by developing an instrument to measure the group self management strength. The proposed group self management framework is an self iterative process. This self propelling nature of the self management process is in line with the work of other theorists like Argyris, Putnam & Smith (1985); Argyris & Schon (1978). The process comprises five stages; namely, the Environmental Analysis Stage, the Planning & Structuring Stage, the Staffing & Directing Stage, the Implementing Stage, and the Evaluating & Monitoring Stage. By practising these five sequential stages, work groups in school may acquire the learning necessary for them to be sensitive and responsive in self managing their work. Detailed discussion on the framework with special reference to how learning in work groups may occur will be presented in the full paper. To facilitate quantitative investigations related to group self management, an instrument to measure group self management strength is necessary. Browsing through the literature, we may note that instruments available for measuring self management in school are mostly developed for the school level and very often are not focused on management process. It surfaces that an appropriate instrument is not available for measuring group self management. With this in mind, the author developed an instrument for measuring group self management strength. The developed instrument consists of five subscales, each measures the strengths of the five stages. In the paper, the procedures to establish validity of the instrument with emphasis on predictive validity and results of Principal Component Analysis will be reported. Moreover, sample items together with the estimated reliability of the five subscales will also be presented. The development of the instrument was divided into three stages. In the first stage, a list of group self management indicators was prepared based on the conception. According to this list, all the five sub-scales were drafted and sent for review by a primary school principal and an expert in the field of educational management. Based on their comments, the five sub-scales were refined. Then, the revised instrument was field tested in five pilot study schools. Further amendments to the instrument were also made based on the feedbacks from respondents in the pilot study. Predictive and construct validity of the instrument were tested with 1183 teachers in 169 work groups of 63 primary schools. Test results showed that the five Group Self Management sub-scales possessed a considerably high level of predictive validity to students' academic achievement, teachers' perceived organisational effectiveness, work group intimacy, work esprit, sense of disengagement, job commitment, job meaningfulness and job challenge at p<0.05 level of significance. Construct validity of the instrument was tested by performing Principal Component Analysis. Principal Component Analyses were performed on each of the 5 sub-scales. Results of analyses showed that the factors were distinctively extracted. These factors accounted for around 60.5% to 76.8% of the total variance of the five measures of the sub-scales. Thus, five sub-scales have a reasonably high degree of construct validity. The estimated Alpha reliability coefficients of five sub-scales were reported to be ranging from 0.8636 to 0.9401 respectively. Thus, the instrument for measuring group self management strengths is believed to have a high degree of validity and estimated reliability. It is hoped that the group self management framework together with the developed instrument may serve as a ground for the conceptualization of related researches in the field and as a practical basis for school's reflection and assessment of work groups' self management practices in school.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997


Cheung, W. M. F., & Cheng, Y. C. (1997, November). Group self management: Instrument development. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 14th Annual Conference: Compulsory Education and Beyond, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.

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