Policy and Administration as Culture: Organizational Sociology and Cross-National Education Trends.

The study of public policy and administration, including research on education, has long been dominated by assumptions rooted in the disciplines of politics and management. Politicallyoriented research focuses on causal processes driven by power and self-interest, looking at sources of inequality and hegemony. Research using a management lens emphasizes economic notions of robust individual capacity for strategic and self-interested action, focusing on function and efficiency. Although some phenomena are well-described by these views, they overlook important elements of global educational administration and policy that are best understood through a cultural lens. Core features of contemporary policy and administration, such as privatization and the rise of network forms of governance, are not fully explained by ideas of power or function. Using examples from education, I show that a cultural explanatory framework, drawn from recent developments in organizational sociology, can provide additional insights into the most pressing global administrative and policy issues.

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