MANAGEMENT as a PROFESSIONAL
REALITY for TEACHERS.
CONTEXTS, PERSPECTIVES and POSITIONS.
MANAGEMENT IN ELT - UNIT 1
Professional Reality - Professional Development
This module addresses equally people who have just recently turned their interest toward "management in ELT", and those who already have some kind of management involvement alongside, or emerging from, their teaching. We won't at all be thinking of two categories, however, as everybody will be at a relatively early stage in what is a long journey. As we go along, some of you will be reviewing whatever measure of management experience you have had, but that will fit well alongside the anticipation of the others. The road ahead offers such a wealth of opportunity for people variously to find themselves that we shall soon leave behind any initial disparity.
Many of you, in fact, may have spent quite a long time in the past thinking that management was no concern of yours, and that teaching represented the whole of your professional commitment. "I want to be a teacher, not a manager" might have been the cry.
However, we can quickly see that management has always been part of your professional life. That teachers do a job of classroom management is easily enough recognised, but there's a case that teachers should help to manage their students' interests around the organisation, too. We should consider also that there are student interests to be managed well beyond the organisation if we accept the various stakeholder involvements that students bring into the classroom with them. Moreover, there are complex relationships with colleagues that have to be managed. This means taking a clear view of yourself as part of an organisation, or - more broadly - of a system. Above all, it's worth remembering that, in that system, unless you are right at the top of the tree, you are being managed, and this needs an aware and sensitive response from you. We take up the whole question of "relationships" in Unit 3.
A teacher actually has very much of a management contribution to make to the organisation that he/she may be with. Some of you, as we have acknowledged, may already be playing a management - or an administrative - role. And that is welcome, if that's what you want. Overall, it could be argued that a teacher who understands and accepts the interdependency that exists between the teaching activity and all the other operational aspects of an organisation should play a management role, however we might define that role. Being a shrewd and powerful contributor will surely have a positive effect on the way you are managed or responded to - at a personal level, and at the organisational level at which you operate.
So, this module should help you toward being a positive (or even more positive) contributor to your organisation in management terms. It will help to spell out those terms, and to define a role for now or for the future as suggested above. It is part of that whole resolve to develop yourself professionally which lies behind your doing the Aston course itself.
Let's reaffirm that it is the management realities that surround you that we are trying to establish. It isn't a question of your being pushed or inveigled into management as some sort of career if you don't want that. What we're trying to achieve is an understanding of where you stand vis a vis management, what you can do for management, what it can do for you, how you can better exert influence and look after your interests. Amidst all this, you will obviously stay solidly as a teacher, a trainer, a teacher trainer, a consultant, whatever, if that's what suits you best. The article in the Articles File: The Fronted Organigram: Putting Management in its Rightful Place (Charles 1993) discusses this issue of career orientation, and where management belongs.
Getting "Management" into Perspective
There will be some of you, as we talk, who may have an initial scepticism towards management that we need to dispel. It's the sort of scepticism that you will meet for yourself in the future and may, in your turn, want equally to dispel. It appears, in the extreme, in those in the educational world who seem to think that the notion of management poses a threat to their own liberal values. The idea of "managing people" has even been construed as some sort of intrusion on personal freedom - with "management" taken to be interfering, insensitive, domineering and exploitative.
That would be prejudiced. It would be a one dimensional view, lacking the broad sense of management relationships that we have started to sketch above. There should never be that tension. Probably, bad management, with the experiences it has provoked, can take some of the blame. Perhaps if we look on management as entirely neutral, something to be done well or badly, and simply as an essential way that we have of organising our affairs, then we shall have found a balanced position.
Note down 3 instances where you have experienced what you consider to have been bad management.
Try and analyse where the fault lay.
Was it perhaps a case where there was a clash of cultures?
Was it that "the system" was getting things wrong, rather than people?
Was it a pure personality matter? Was there perhaps fault on both sides?
Mention management, and almost in the same breath might occur "marketing". In many educational circles, perhaps especially with university people, "marketing" has been regarded with disdain. For some time, it was a dirty word. It seemed to be equated simply with selling, selling yourself in a way that threw doubt on the quality and intrinsic worth of what it was that you were doing. This was a sad misreading of marketing, though fortunately there is now an improving sense of what marketing really is all about. The truth is that more and more educational establishments find themselves in a highly competitive world where they have to work very hard to get their share of customers. Not to put your best foot forward, as it were - to go out into the world and see what it is that people actually want, then work out and tell them what you can do, and negotiate some sort of deal - is simply asking for trouble. Unit 3 tries to get marketing on the firmest of footings, rendering it clean and entirely hygienic!
Overarching all this is the idea of "business". That universities and colleges and schools should develop a healthy sense of business (another dirty word?), meaning a constructive involvement with money, is something to be as widely promoted as possible. It simply means that, in all but the most sheltered or reactionary of environments, you have to interact with sponsors, clients and customers in order to transact the means of carrying out what it is you wish to do. You have to do business with people. Put simply, you have to market yourself. (It goes without saying that, for example, some schools in the private sector have been doing this for ages past - it's not the intention here to try and teach such grandmothers to suck eggs!).
We shall routinely be using other words that sometimes cause a flutter, for example "customers" when we may be referring to students. But it's not as though you go around calling students customers to their face! What is important is to think of them as customers. They're probably paying you good money. We shall talk about "products" when we are referring , for example, to courses - because we are referring to conceptually more than just "a course". (If we said that a good course is the product of a fertile mind, or the product of much hard work, nobody would object to the term then).
Overall, you should look forward to becoming comfortable with the concepts and most areas of the terminology we shall be using, and if you tend to be sceptical now of some of the connotations, some of the buzz words and sometimes the rather brittle fashions, then maybe you can replace those feelings with curiosity and critical understanding. If something seems too clever by half, then we'll reject it. And if you take on, to whatever extent, a management way of looking at things, then it should be of considerable interest in future to see if you take on a management way of talking about things - an interest in professional discourse indeed!
The Literature and the Organisational World
Throughout this module, we shall frequently be talking about a much bigger organisational world than our own ELT world. But it's not fanciful to be doing so. We need to draw down experience from that world, and use the literature which tries to describe it, turning it to account to suit our own particular context. There's no need to be frightened of big pictures. If we take the simplest of systems views, we can see that we are plugged into environments far greater than the one we are immediately concerned with in our own particular organisation. We should remember that in many cases the students who come to our ELT organisations have big pictures in their minds. They come from big organisations with big perspectives, international horizons and considerable worldly experience.
Most of you won't have a store of reading behind you as you would in many areas of ELT, so you need to read determinedly with the intention of joining, or at least getting a toehold in, the world of management. Consult the single Reference List and the Web Page list at the end of this page.
There are 4 Core books. Compared with those specified for the Management in ELT Module previously, Mead 1998 replaces Everard and Morris
Impey and Underhill
White et al
These are all very approachable; Impey and Underhill, and White et al, are
from the ELT world, Handy and Mead from Management. There are chapters in the
Articles File from all but Handy.
There is another set of books (and articles) which (beyond Everard and Morris) catch the latest pattern of development of the Module, and which we shall be using extensively. At the extremes are Trompenaars, the business consultant, and Hosking and Morley, emphatically from academia.
Everard and Morris
Hofstede 1980a, 1980b, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1991
Hosking and Morley
Wilson and Rosenfeld
We shall actually be accessing Hall, and Hofstede, via some of the other writers
above (and some of those immediately below). The Articles File has chapters
from Hofstede (via Wilson and Rosenfeld), Hosking and Morley, and Trompenaars.
Recommended back-up books are:
Blackler and Shimmin
Cray and Mallory
Dearden and Foster
Hickson and Pugh
At the extremes are McCorkell the marketing executive, and Usunier (1998) the management researcher. Dearden and Foster is a 'college' text. The Articles File has chapters from Cray and Mallory, Mead 1990, and Usunier 1998.
In this final group are just a few suggestions from the proliferating mass
of cross cultural books addressed directly at the international business, and
business training, world:
Davison and Ward
Guy and Mattock
Harris and Moran
A note to the above:
In the literature, we come across the terms "Anglo-Saxon", "Anglo-American", and (in Mead, and Hickson and Pugh) "Anglo". There is also "Western". We find Anglo-Saxon inappropriate; we shall use Anglo-American to refer to Britain and the USA; and most generally we shall use Anglo as referring to Britain, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. "Western" we will try and use judiciously as the occasion warrants.
A great deal of the literature available to us is Anglo-American. Apart from those titles which are obviously "international" or "cross-cultural", (and in the last 10 or 15 years or so the growth of these has been remarkable), that literature is almost obdurately mono-cultural or narrowly regional-cultural in scope and outlook. Hickson and Pugh (1995, pp 6-8) discuss this phenomenon. In their omnibus edition, Great Writers on Organisations (Pugh and Hickson, 1993) - the study of organisations being perhaps the centre piece of 'management studies' - they listed sixty-two "writers on organisations" who had been included in all their volumes since 1964. Forty three are American, twelve British, two Canadian, two French, two German and one Dutch. The very inclusion or exclusion of writers in the list is a cultural comment in itself, but this must be something more than just a publishing or academic-world phenomenon. Hickson and Pugh stress the important point: "Vitally", they say, "almost all are unaware of their 'Western-ness'". We shall have to accommodate that.
Our overriding concern in the whole of this module is to take the cross cultural and intercultural view. So, whilst we shall take that monocultural literature on its own terms when we're dealing with it, and always give it its due - sometimes we may get too locked away in it - we shall try continually to weigh the precepts it puts forward in much wider cultural contexts than it might assume. We shall try to wear our cross cultural hats as often as we can.
The Cultural Imperative
Unit 2 will deal with National cultures and Organisational cultures, and as we said, the cultural theme continues throughout the whole module. It could hardly be otherwise, for English Language teaching is, par excellence, an intercultural activity. It involves either a) teachers hosting students in an English speaking culture which is daunting for the students and at the same time difficult for the teacher to detach from, or b) teachers practising their ELT abroad in a national culture and an organisational culture which may present all sorts of professional, and personal, challenges and problems, or c) native teachers teaching English to 'home' students and wrestling with the question of how much (Anglo) 'culture' they should allow or promote in their teaching.
The particular question of 'culture' as part of the language teaching we do underlies much of our professional activity. Stemming from the Foundation Module, you will have had some thoughts already on matters of "cultural imperialism" in language teaching ( following Phillipson 1992, Pennycook 1994), and we shall glance at this again in Unit 2. We talked above of the apparent dominance, in the presentation of organisational theories and principles, of Anglo material in the management world. We're not going to call this some kind of imperialism, however. The cultural bias of the material is usually perpetrated unwittingly, and its distribution comes about quite freely. One sub-set of management literature is actually dedicated to exploring cultural matters. What we shall do is to use all this material positively to help us make judgements about some of the real cultural issues and problems that come about in the particular management circumstances that interest us.
Our concern is with the different cultural expectations that come into play in a whole variety of ELT organisations. We shall find considerable cultural prejudice, but that prejudice certainly does not just work one way. We shall expect great diversity in the expectations of how people should function in organisations, what people's objectives are, how power is distributed, how the individual is regarded, how relationships are governed - what the values are that guide people's actions. The English teacher abroad needs to tread very warily in order to interact constructively with systems that may be very different culturally from those in his/her own country. The chances of conflict and confrontation are considerable. The need for self management, and the management of relationships, is paramount.
Cultural Awareness: Critical Incidents
In cultural studies, the invitation is often to start with an assessment of one's own cultural awareness. The Task below makes such an invitation.
(see Illustration below)
Think of 2 "critical incidents" in your own experience when the behaviour of somebody from another culture seemed to be entirely incompatible with your way of doing things.
It doesn't have to be something big - in fact it probably happened in the ordinary course of events - but it would be where the opposition of two sets of values was suddenly highlighted.
Try and account for the other's behaviour in entirely positive terms.
Then reflect on your own attitude.
Keep this in mind:
"It is important to recognize that all behavior makes sense
through the eyes of the person behaving, and that logic and rationale are culturally
relative. In cross-cultural situations, labeling behavior as bizarre usually
reflects culturally based misperception, misinterpretation, and misevaluation;
rarely does it reflect intentional malice or pathologically motivated behavior"
(Adler, in Billsberry 1996, pp 265-266).
An Illustration for Task 2
One revealing moment for myself, giving a lecture in Finland for the first time and well into the proceedings, was when a member of the audience suddenly packed up his books, slid out of his seat and, without any sign to me or anybody else, straightforwardly departed the room. This signalled to me that he was bored or dissatisfied - to the extent that he couldn't stand it any longer and had to escape. It stopped me in my tracks and for a moment I tensed up quite badly. I would have expected, according to my way of thinking, that anybody with, shall we say, positive intentions, to have: shuffled slightly, caught my eye, put on a bright and apologetic face, and made jabbing motions at his watch; then, with a slight twiddle of the fingers to indicate a goodbye wave, and with slightly exaggerated care, he would have crept out of the room, leaving me to continue.
I understood, later, that no disrespect at all had been intended to me in this "critical incident", and that the departing audience member had simply remembered an important appointment and decided he had to keep it. He had wanted, with perfect politeness, to create the minimum disturbance for me or anybody else, and to draw absolutely no attention to himself as he did what he did.
We should generalise from any critical incident that we are concerned with. I now know that, in Finland, in professional and indeed social circumstances, people simply get on with their business and leave you to get on with yours. They trust that you are perfectly competent to be doing things as you are doing them, and expect you to trust them in the same way. To intrude into this kind of contract would be to question their motivation. In all manner of circumstances, the consequences of such infringement could be serious. Finland seems to me to be a very 'low profile' culture, and I use that 'reading' to make all sorts of interpretations.
Cultural Awareness: Self-Reference
We need to appraise how tightly/loosely we may be bound by the norms and strictures of our own culture. Yet it's difficult to know ourselves. Certainly, it's nobody else's business to be questioning the strength and quality of your cultural attachments as they reside in you. But a good measure of self examination, in the light of reading and discussion and reflection on what you have experienced, must be in order. We may all be prejudiced in the sense that we have to trust ourselves first and foremost; the "self-reference criterion", ie unwitting reference to one's own cultural values, often and understandably comes into play. Yet we have to stretch. Do you subscribe to the informal theory that we have to get out of our own culture by indeed 'going native' on some other culture, before 'coming back' some way to find a balanced position?
Note down the areas in which you sense that you are prejudiced in favour of what you take to be common values of the national culture you belong to.
Express those values as adjectives (let's take half a dozen).
You might think some of the following are appropriate for you, or you might want to mix in some of your own:
Liberal, tolerant, orderly, efficient, decisive, honest.
Can you remember occasions in organisational circumstances when you have allowed
yourself to compromise on these?
Why did you do so?
Take that further:
note down the opposites of your list of adjectives, and think of some circumstance which would allow you to accept the appearance of that behaviour in somebody from a different culture - because you can see that the meaning to that person would not be your meaning. The Finn, in my example above, meant no offence at all - his politeness was my impoliteness.
Cultural Dimensions: National and Organisational
Unit 2 will look at a number of dimensions which start to give us some sort of measure of various national and organisational cultures. We acknowledge from the outset that trying to get hold of something we might like to call a "national culture" is enormously difficult. There are problems with boundaries and regions and whole sets of sub-cultures, problems with all the various manifestations of culture and the very expression of cultural phenomena. But we shall try.
Intertwined with questions of national culture, or cultures internationally, are those of organisational culture. Whether this can be given a focus of its own which is independent, for a moment, of any specific national cultural consideration is an interesting argument. We shall, in the event, do a little theorising as though it can. We shall need everybody to summon up and examine the experience they have of working in different organisations in their own culture and probably in a number of other cultures, too. Managing cultural diversity, or perhaps managing oneself in the midst of cultural diversity, emerges as our particular theme.
A moment's extravagance:
We're going to look on organisations as "cultures", and that is to use metaphor, usefully, to try to understand them. That will broadly suffice for us, but in considering organisation theory we might pick up one or two aspects from the following: "Viewing organizations on the basis of new metaphors makes it possible to understand them in new ways. Viewing organizations systematically as cybernetic systems, loosely coupled systems, ecological systems, theatres, cultures, political systems, language games, texts, accomplishments, enactments, psychic prisons, instruments of domination, schismatic systems, catastrophes, etc, it is possible to add rich and creative dimensions to organization theory" (Morgan, in Henry 1991, p 91). We shall indeed just touch on a few of the above - organisations as theatres, political systems, language games, and instruments of domination; we shall try to avoid organisations as catastrophes!
It could be interesting for you to sketch just what are the ways in which you like to work, what sort of cultural animal you are, ie what sort of preferences and inclinations you have in the matter of organisational culture (taking it as read that you place your preferred organisation in one particular national culture or another).
You may feel you have a firm position here - that you function best in one organisational climate rather than another, and under one particular managerial style rather than another.
You can perhaps sense if and how you might change, and how you might like your organisation to be, if you crossed from a position of being managed to one where you are managing others.
Unit 3 is about marketing. We spoke above about the need to get beyond the pejorative notions of marketing that hold some people back in the educational world. Marketing itself has moved rapidly through stages of awareness and development over the last couple of decades and we shall follow that progression through. There are perhaps two aspects to pick out here from what is to come:
a) the idea of marketing yourself, which is a question of how you might build relationships in your professional life, working with immediate colleagues or interacting with your peers more widely throughout the profession. It's a question of marketing your ideas. There's a sense in which people might have a strategy for this as part of their professional development.
b) the idea of internal marketing, where a particular department or unit within any biggish organisation might have to think of marketing itself to targeted sections of that organisation - treating them as though they were clients and customers. Too often, different parts of an organisation remain isolated, alienated, indifferent and largely in ignorance of what the others are doing. Without indulging in self pity, we might remark that ELT, especially ESP, is often seriously misunderstood. It is striking how much ELT practitioners need to market themselves as they struggle so often to make a place for themselves in universities, colleges and perhaps companies, where the danger is that they appear abstruse.
Jot down what qualities and attributes you think are most marketable in yourself, making a distinction between what you would market internally, and externally.
People and Groups
Unit 4 will deal with people as individuals within organisations, and people acting in groups. We shall deal with: Self-perception, Conflict, Power and Influence, Decision-making, Leadership and Motivation. There is a very complex set of factors in play here, and we shall offer a 'map' to try and simplify the ground.
Think whether you are a 'team person' or not. Under what conditions might you, personally, best function as a team member? What particular role might you best fulfil in a team? When do you think an individual's performance may score over a team's performance? What are the dangers of operating in teams, especially cross-cultural teams?
Unit 5 is about Change. Implicitly, all the units before that will have been about change. We shall be looking essentially at two particular dimensions: Change that is brought about in organisations, and change that people can make in themselves.
One of the themes we started out with in this introduction was that of professional development. It will be a measure of the usefulness of the module if, at the end of it, you are able to see that you have shifted - changed, developed - your views and your understanding of management. In the tasks in this first unit, you will have set down some of the perspectives you presently have, and some of the positions you would adopt at this point. At the end of the module, you would aim to check back and see what gains have been achieved.
The Assignment is open for you to develop along any lines you wish, so long as you are working with ideas that are dealt with in the file - using those ideas as a springboard in some way. It is expected that you will make use of your own experience, bringing that experience to bear against some of the frames and models, and precepts and issues, in the file.
Often, a good way into an assignment is deliberately to start small, expanding outwards from perhaps just one 'critical incident' and opening up a whole number of implications.
Or you could well express yourself in the form of a case study, where you give an analytical account of events in your organisation or working environment, and draw conclusions appropriately.
Many of the "Tasks" in the file could form the basis of an assignment. You would go beyond the sketching you do in routinely tackling the tasks. Your treatment would acquire an investigative quality, where you would test out and evaluate sets of observations or different kinds of experimentation that you were able to do.
You might be able to study a case of culture clash, or of stress in the face of change, or the resolution of conflict between competing groups, or the development of professional relationships. You could perhaps do a marketing audit, or a SWOT analysis - you might find perhaps that the very process of doing a SWOT analysis among different protagonists in an organisation throws up insights that are just as interesting as the analytical 'results' themselves, or that the problems lie not in producing the findings but in applying them.
Overall, what is important in all this is that you are able to generalise usefully as you pick up and expand on a particular circumstance, so that what you say has an appeal and relevance to your fellow practitioners.
Please make contact to discuss emerging ideas for your assignment.
Length of Assignment: 3000- 4000 words.
LSU Web Page Books
Management in English Language Teaching Core Books
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Trompenaars F 1993 Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business London: Nicholas Brealey
Usunier J-C 1998 International and Cross-Cultural Management Research London: Sage
Wilson D C and Rosenfeld R H 1990 Managing Organizations: Text, Readings and Cases Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill
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Charles, D. A. 1993. 'The Fronted Organigram: Putting Management in its Rightful Place'. ELT Management, Newsletter of the IATEFL Management Special Interest Group, No. 12, June, 11-15.
Charles, M. 1994. Layered Negotiations in Business: Interdependencies between Discourse and the Business Relationship. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Birmingham, UK.
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Derr, C. B. and Laurent, A. 1989. The Internal and External Career: A Theoretical and Cross-cultural Perspective. In Arthur, M. B., Hall, D. T. and Lawrence, B. S. (Eds). Handbook of Career Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
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Handy, C. 1993. Understanding Organizations. 4th edn. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
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Henry, J. (Ed). 1991. Creative Management. London: Sage, in association with The Open University.
Hersey, P. and Blanchard, K. H. 1993. Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources. 6th edn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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Hewings, M. and Nickerson, C. 1999. Business English: Research into Practice. Harlow: Longman.
Hickson, D. J. and Pugh, D. S. 1995. Management Worldwide: The Impact of Societal Culture on Organizations around the Globe. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Hill, R. 1994. Euromanagers and Martians. Brussels: Europublications.
Hoecklin, L. A. 1995. Managing Cultural Differences: Strategies for Competitive Advantage. Wokingham: Addison-Wesley and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Hofstede, G. 1980a. Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-related Values. Beverly Hills/London: Sage
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