When Business and Education Collide : Private schools as hybrid organizations in the educational field

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen


This thesis turns to the contested educational field to explore how hybrid schools and its principals deal with conflicting institutional demands. In the context of venture capital firm operated schools, two contrasting logics with conflicting demands become prominent: market logic demands concerning shareholder value and educational logic demands regarding educational activities. A case study was conducted on schools owned by a venture capital firm and our findings suggest two different levels of demands (‘Fundamental’ and ‘Additional’) which evokes different organizational responses. While strict compliance is apparent on the fundamental level, partially due to the specificity of the demands, resource dependency and high supervision of organizational conformity, there is room for agency, compromises and defiance at the additional level. To ensure constituencies about its commitment to their fundamental demands the hybrid schools use a strategy of avoidance to conceal and disguise its dual compliance. Further, they customize their information and rhetoric to suit the constituencies’ embraced logic and by that manage to claim their right to operate in the contested field. Finally, at the managerial level the principals’ role resemble the role of a gatekeeper, determining which demands other organizational members should focus on and what remains at their own desk.

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