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The problem discussed in the article “Teachers’ Organizational Behavior in Public and Private Funded Schools” seems nested on the blurring of boundaries between publicly funded schools and privately funded schools in the Dutch context and its effects on teachers’ organizational behavior. Honingh and Oort (2009) used the Dutch vocational educational training (VET) sector as the study context to evaluate if the organizational behavior of teachers in publicly funded and privately funded Dutch VET schools has converged as a result of the market-oriented reforms in the education sector.
The market-oriented reforms are embedded in the Dutch government’s adoption of a more entrepreneurial approach to managing publicly funded schools, which in turn has resulted in the blurring of boundaries between publicly funded and privately funded schools. The main issue, therefore, was to examine how the different types of funding arrangements (private and public) affect the organizational behavior of teachers.
The article used research questions rather than hypotheses, with the main research question being to investigate the level to which different funding arrangements (publicly funded and privately funded) affect or influence the organizational behavior of teachers in the selected study context (Dutch VET sector). A secondary research question, according to Honingh and Oort (2009), “was to investigate to what extent teacher characteristics and appointment characteristics account for differences in the organizational behavior of the teachers” (p. 173). Based on the main research question, it is evident that different funding arrangements (publicly funded and privately funded) formed the independent variables of the study, while teacher organizational behavior formed the dependent variable.
Need for the Study
The study was needed by virtue of serving as a benchmark to understand if the Dutch government’s efforts of shifting the management of public schools to a more entrepreneurial approach were paying off in terms of improving the organizational behavior of teachers in public institutions. Additionally, it is clear that the findings of this study were instrumental in enabling education stakeholders to have a clear understanding on whether the organizational behavior of teachers within the Dutch VET context had converged as a direct result of the market-oriented reforms initiated by the Dutch government towards the education sector (Honingh & Oort, 2009).
A secondary need is that the findings of this study could be used by education stakeholders and the Dutch government to understand whether funding arrangements (private or public) has any effect on the organizational behavior of teachers, particularly in terms of having a student-oriented attitude and developing a positive perception of the school climate.
The study used a quantitative research approach and a descriptive (survey) research design to investigate the level to which different funding arrangements (publicly funded and privately funded) affect or influence the organizational behavior of teachers in the Dutch VET sector. A purposive sampling technique (participants were directly recruited into the study by their respective managers) was used to come up with a sample of 730 teachers (705 from 35 publicly funded institutions and 25 from privately funded institutions) for participation in the study.
Primary data for the study were collected by means of several sets of questionnaires that were oriented toward measuring different variables of organizational behavior. The Cronbach alphas reported in the study (e.g., 0.91, 0.85, 0.70-0.88) show that the questionnaire sets had the expected internal consistency and the various scales used in the data collection tools were reliable to measure what they were expected to measure (expected range is from 0.75 to 0.90).
Summary of Review of Literature
Honingh and Oort (2009) undertook a comprehensive review of the literature concerning the aspects that are known to influence or shape organizational behavior, namely teacher attitudes, teacher identification, and perceptions of school climate. In attitudes, the focus was oriented towards reviewing seminal literature and policy documents that emphasized how the thinking of teachers should be changed by the introduction of market-oriented mechanisms in schooling.
The researchers also relied on sources that demonstrate how the management of schools using the economic model shifts the thinking of teachers toward becoming more autonomous and professional in their own practice. Another stream of literature sources utilized by Honingh and Oort (2009) revolved around showing the perceptions, views, beliefs, and attitudes of teachers toward recent educational reforms carried in the Dutch education sector. Finally, the researcher explored several literature sources to develop a comprehensive understanding of how teachers’ curriculum-oriented attitudes and a student-oriented attitude interrelate with a more economical approach to education.
In the variable of identification, Honingh and Oort (2009) consulted literature sources showing the relationship between an employee’s affective involvement in the organization and shifts in behavior, with most of the cited sources showing that employees with a strong affective involvement are usually more satisfied, better motivated and more productive in work-related settings.
The sources consulted also showed that individuals who identify strongly with an organization or department are influenced more by that particular setting in terms of demonstrating pro-social behavior, strong focus on group performance and achievements, higher job satisfaction, low turnover intentions, and strong job involvement and motivation. Lastly, in the variable of school climate, Honingh and Oort (2009) consulted literature sources underscoring how the aspect of school climate is important in understanding the employee’s organizational behavior in terms of teachers’ interactions with colleagues and school administrators, the managerial support they perceive, as well as their participation in the decision making process.
Assumptions, Limitations, and Potential for Future Research
Although not expressly stated in the article, it is clear that Honingh and Oort (2009) assumed that teachers’ organizational behavior could not be affected by diverse moderating or confounding variables (e.g., personal characteristics) other than funding arrangements. In limitations, it is evident the uneven sampling characteristics between teachers in publicly funded schools and those in privately funded schools could have affected the validity and generalizability of the results. The multilevel regression model used to analyze the findings also served as a limitation as it does not take such sampling design effects into account.
Additionally, the statistical analysis tools and methodological deficiencies noted in the study made it difficult for the researchers “to decide whether it is state funding or personal characteristics that underlie differences between teachers in publicly and privately funded schools” (Honingh & Oort, 2009, p. 181). A potential future area revolves around attempting to understand the origin of existing variations in the organizational behavior of teachers despite the blurring of boundaries between publicly funded schools and privately funded schools.
The main conclusion is that there are clear variations in teachers’ organizational behavior between the two study settings (publicly funded schools and privately funded schools), as demonstrated by the fact that teachers in publicly funded school settings showed a diminished curriculum-oriented attitude, a poorer sense of identification, and perceived a less supportive school climate compared to their counterparts in privately funded school settings (Honingh & Oort, 2009). Contrary to popular beliefs, therefore, the institutional context (publicly funded versus privately funded) does not in any way have an effect on the level to which teachers demonstrate or exhibit a student-oriented attitude.
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The article under critique is well written and laid out using the established protocols for conducting a scholarly research paper. The two authors are affiliated with institutions of higher learning, meaning that they are qualified and competent in the domain of organizational behavior and educational development. The title of the study is clear, precise, and unambiguous, while the abstract provides a clear and coherent overview of the study to enable readers to understand the research problem, sample, methodology, main findings as well as implications of the study.
Moving on, it is evident that the purpose of the study is clearly identifiable, and the two aims stated in the article are not only concise but also reflect the information presented in the literature review. However, although the review of related literature is logically organized, it does not provide a balanced critical analysis of the literature bearing in mind the study is set in a Dutch setting. Additionally, many of the literature sources used are not of recent origin though they are empirical in nature.
Another weakness noted in the literature review (theoretical background) is that the literature sources reviewed do not appear to identify any gaps that the study needs to fill. Coughlan, Cronin, and Ryan (2007) acknowledge that a good literature review section should not only describe or develop the research question while identifying a suitable methodology of data collection but also highlight any gaps in the literature relating to the problem under investigation. This appears not to be the case in the critiqued research article.
In methodology, Honingh and Oort (2009) make a good effort in identifying the target population and demonstrating how the sample was selected; however, they do not mention the sampling strategy used to come up with the final sample and end up recruiting an unbalanced sample that can affect how the findings could be generalized to a wider setting. A sample of 730 teachers (705 from publicly funded institutions and 25 from privately funded institutions) can be termed as largely unbalanced in favor of teachers in publicly funded schools.
The researchers also perform well in describing the data collection instruments and the measures to be taken together with their reliability scores. However, the research approach and design are not clearly identified and discussed. Wester, Borders, Boul, and Hurton (2013) underscore the importance of clearly describing the research approach and design as these two elements impact how the data collection and data analysis stages of a research study are undertaken.
In data analysis and presentation, it is clear that Honingh and Oort (2009) have used conventional statistical tools and techniques to analyze quantitative data and present them in a clear and coherent manner. However, the multilevel regression model used is not appropriate for this type of study since it fails to illuminate the strength of the relationship between funding arrangements and teachers’ organizational behavior.
As such, it becomes difficult to make a determination on whether there are other variables or teacher characteristics involved in assessing organizational behavior. Lastly, in the conclusions and discussion section, Honingh and Oort (2009) perform well in linking the findings back to the literature review and responding to the two main research questions guiding the study. Additionally, the authors perform well in identifying several limitations to the study and providing a recommendation for further research in terms of understanding the origin of existing variations in the organizational behavior of teachers despite the blurring of boundaries between publicly funded schools and privately funded schools.
Coughlan, M., Cronin, P., & Ryan, F. (2007). Step-by-step guide to critiquing research. Part 1: Quantitative research. British Journal of Nursing, 16(11), 658-663. Web.
Honingh, M.E., & Oort, F.J. (2009). Teachers’ organizational behavior in public and private funded schools. International Journal of Educational Management, 23(2), 172-184. Web.
Wester, K.L., Borders, D., Boul, S., & Hurton, E. (2013). Research quality: Critique of quantitative articles in the journal of counseling and development. Journal of Counseling & Development, 91(3), 280-290. Web.