The Management of education quality in schools: A multi-frames approach

Wai Ming Frank TAM, Yin Cheong CHENG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The changing relationship between education and society, and the emerging concepts of education as a service product and parents as clients give rise to new definitions of 'quality' that focus on competence, outcomes, satisfaction and effectiveness, rather than excellence, truth, knowledge and the integrity of the discipline. These changing concepts have produced threats of existence for some schools, but they have also provided challenges and opportunities to those who are striving for high performance. In order to deal with the changing concepts and to provide sustained, high quality school education, the authors suggest that school administrators may adopt the concept of 'quality space' in managing education quality in their schools. The quality space is an environment within which the following four parties: the education authority-the resource provider; the teachers-the producers of education services; the students the clients or service receivers, and the parents-the customers, interact to exchange opinions, debate, and determine the meaning of education quality within a school. However, since different parties may have different expectations, set different standards, and require schools to perform different tasks, the traditional, bureaucratic approach to school management may not be sufficient in managing the quality space. It is therefore suggested that school administrators should use a multi-frame approach to manage the quality space. The multi-frame approach consists of four frames which describe different aspects of the school organization. The structural frame is based on the classical management theories which look at the function of organization primarily from the vintage of control and efficiency. The human frame is based on the human relations movement which perceives the effective management of human resources and the fulfillment of human needs as important purposes of an organization. The political frame is based on research on organizational politics which assumes that power is the critical resource of an organization. The cultural frame is based on studies on organizational culture, which pecieves that shared values and beliefs are important characteristics of an effective organization. The school administrators should integrate the four frames in the design and implementation of quality assurance mechanism and quality management functions within the school in order to manage quality space effectively and attain high standards of performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


Tam, W. M., & Cheng, Y. C. (1996, November). The Management of education quality in schools: A multi-frames approach. 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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