Multi-level school self management: Strategies for implementation

Wing Ming Francis CHEUNG, Yin Cheong CHENG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Regarding the effect of school-based management, a diversity of implementation results was observed. For example, some investigators noted that school-based management is effective in enhancing the satisfaction level of teachers, parents and students (e.g. David, 1989; Collins & Hanson, 1991). Some, on the other hand, observed very negative results like a high level of anxiety and overload of teachers. And most important of all, there is an absence of empirical evidence that school-based management is related to students' educational outcomes (e.g. Arnot, Bullockd & Thomas, 1992; Cheng, 1992; Malen, Ogawa & Kranz, 1990; Mitchell, 1991). In tackling these cited implementation difficulties, Cheung & Cheng (1996) suggested that schools should not only focus on school level self management, but should practise self management at the school, the group and the individual levels, each following a five-stage sequential cycle. These self management cycles provide a comprehensive theoretical framework for understanding and practising self management at multi-levels. This paper first attempts to outline Cheung & Cheng's (1996) framework. Then based on their conception, it proposes the implementation strategies for practising multi-level self management in school. It is hoped that through adopting these strategies, the unnecessary hurdles and resistance to change may be minimized and thus the benefits of multi-level self management in school may be derived. According to Schermerhorn, et al (1982), Cheng (1991b) and Cheung, Cheng & Tarn (1995), in order to effect fruitful changes in schools, we need to focus our efforts in three phases: the Unfreezing Phase, the Changing Phase and the Reinforcing Phase. The Unfreezing Phase is crucial for formulating comprehensive strategies to raise the cognitive level of all parties concerned regarding self management in school. By working through this stage, the needs for change may be created and thus school members may be more ready for the actual implementation of self management in school. Subsequent to the establishment of a sound base for change, the school as a whole will enter the Changing Phase in which the school implements the multi-level self management cycles proposed by Cheung & Cheng (1996). In the Reinforcing Phase, key actors at the school, group and individual levels evaluate their performance in self managing their work. They may identify the possible areas for improvement and create new mechanisms for future practice. Apart from the implementation of the above three phases, the paper also discusses the possible interactions between the three phases and the three levels. In particular, the possible strategies of initiating the work in these three phases, for example the time frame for implementation, in three levels of self management will also be analysed. In order to work more effectively through the above three stages, the school may use a numbers of skills to reduce resistance and gain support from school members (Dunham & Pierce, 1989). Futhtermore, self management in school as a management reform is an on-going initiative that requires a huge amount of effort from school members at multi-levels. If implemented causally, schools may often expect negative and unrewarding results. The present paper attempts to provide a comprehensive model of strategies for implementing self management in school by taking the advantages of the conception of Cheung & Cheng (1996). It is hoped that the proposed model may provide insights for practitioners to develop more comprehensive strategies in implementing self management in school and for researchers to plan their research strategies in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


Cheung, W. M., & Cheng, Y. C. (1996, November). Multi-level school self management: Strategies for implementation. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) 13th Annual Conference: Restructuring Schools in Changing Societies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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