Educational Policy and Practice From the Perspective of Institutional Theory: Crafting a Wider Lens

Mar. 14, 2007

Source: Educational Researcher, Volume 36, Number 2, March 2007.

Institutional analyses of public education have increased in number in recent years. However, studies in education drawing on institutional analyses have not fully incorporated recent contributions from institutional theory, particularly relative to other domains such as law and health policy. The author sketches a framework that integrates recent institutional theorizing to guide scholarship on these and other issues in K–12 public education in the United States.

The author argues that although concepts such as “loose coupling” have been widely used, education researchers have not fully tapped institutional theories that have emerged more recently. The author introduces three interrelated constructs and applies them to a case study of district reading and mathematics reform. In the final section, the author considers how current developments in the governance of public schooling increase the utility of institutional perspectives and identify critical issues that need to be addressed in future work.

Updated: Mar. 23, 2008