Human Resources and Structural Frames in Education


Different views on organizational management have been developed and employed. People focused on structures, roles, relationships, technology, politics, and so on when trying to develop the most effective strategies and tools to make their organizations competitive. The structural and human resources frames are widely used in such spheres as a business, education, health care and so on (Shafritz, Ott, & Jang, 2015). The frames are often chosen due to their applicability to organizational goals, social and political environment, cultural peculiarities, etc. This paper includes a brief analysis of the two frames as they apply to the educational sphere.

Introduction to the Frames

The structural frame is based on the assumption that effective structures, hierarchy, and standards enable organizations to achieve goals and remain competitive. Supporters of this approach believe that it is vital to develop proper roles and responsibilities and find the most appropriate people who could fit these roles (Bolman & Deal, 2017). Importantly, considerable attention is paid to procedures, policies, and standards. Technology is also regarded as one of the central components that can

The human resources frame is associated with the focus on the relationships among employees, the development of a favorable atmosphere at the workplace, and so on. People using this framework believe that human resources are the core asset of any organization that can help it reach major objectives and goals (Bolman & Deal, 2017). The organization is seen as a family where its members’ needs and feelings are taken into account. In simple terms, relationships between employees are central, and the achievement of goals is as important as the development of the proper environment for people.

Introduction to the Mini-Case

The use of the two frames in the educational sphere is characterized by certain heterogeneity as a significant number of stakeholders are involved. To consider this feature, the chosen mini-case is the article by Spillane and Callahan (2000). The authors examine the way a new district policy (hands-on science), which is quite a new educational paradigm, is implemented and viewed by educators and policymakers. According to Spillane and Callahan (2000), policymakers’ misinterpretation of the changes and their core principles results in failures.

Importantly, the authors identify such patterns in some stakeholders’ understanding of the policy as form-focused, beyond the book, motivation, function-based, transforming students’ understanding of the process, accommodating learning styles, transforming science pedagogy, and transforming science content. These patterns can be analyzed in terms of the structural and human resources frames.

Application of Concepts to the Case

As has been mentioned above, the educational sphere is associated with the collaboration or interaction of many stakeholders. These stakeholders (including but not confined to teachers, administrators, policymakers, students, parents, the community) have different needs and goals, which affects the organizational development as well as the implementation of organizational change (Bolman & Deal, 2017). Therefore, the application of the frames to the case can help identify the most appropriate approach.

First, it is necessary to note that educational facilities have quite specific organizational goals. Educational establishments do not only provide educational services but try to be the platform for the effective collaboration of the stakeholders mentioned above, as well as the development of new generations of people who will successfully integrate into modern society (Bolman & Deal, 2017). Hence, it is but natural that the primary approach will be associated with the development of relationships between people. The human resources frame is the most suitable for the educational sphere as it provides the patterns to facilitate the collaboration between different groups.

The analysis of the patterns revealed by Spillane and Callahan (2000) can help evaluate the existing views of policymakers and other stakeholders and come up with the approaches that will be the most efficient. Accommodating learning styles, motivation, function-based, transforming students’ understanding of the process, and transforming science pedagogy are understandings that focus on people rather than structures, standards, technology, and the like. These patterns aim at developing the necessary environment that could facilitate the learning process. This environment would involve the focus on students’ needs and educational styles, teachers’ views on the content and pedagogical process, as well as their interaction with students.

Although the human resources frame should be the core pattern employed in the educational sphere, some elements of the structural frame can also be helpful. The structural approach is evident in such understandings described by Spillane and Callahan (2000) as form-focused, beyond the book, and transforming science content. These views on the policy focus on standards, materials, technology, and structures.

Teachers’ responsibilities are confined to the delivery of a set of data and skills while students’ responsibilities are also quite structured. Students are supposed to have certain knowledge and skills, and their accomplishments are assessed with the help of standardized tests. The focus on standards and materials is likely to have a negative impact on policy implementation as people’s needs and characteristic features are not taken into account. For instance, Shafritz et al. (2015) claim that the abundance of rigid standards and policies can prevent the stakeholders from developing creative ideas and approaches. The educational sphere needs certain freedom, but the communication between the people involved in the process is essential.

However, some elements of these approaches can be incorporated. For instance, it can be beneficial to use the function-based understanding alongside with the use of certain standards and tests at certain stages. This combination will enable educational facilities to create the necessary environment for the most effective collaboration between teachers, students, the community and so on, as well as ensure the accomplishments of the major academic goals (Shafritz et al., 2015). It is also important to note that the implementation of a new pattern, policy, or standard should start after discussions and training provided to educators.

Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, it is possible to note that the structural and human resources frames can help in developing a paradigm for organizational development. In the educational sphere, it is necessary to use the human resources pattern with some elements of the structural frame. The focus should lie on the relationships between the stakeholders, but certain standards can also be applied. The further step to consider the mini-case in question could be a study aimed at the evaluation of stakeholders’ views on the paradigm described above.

It is also possible to develop a new policy that would be based on the principles mentioned above. The policy can be implemented in a state or even a community. If the new framework appears to be effective, a new state educational policy can be developed and implemented. The development of new frameworks will also need the implementation of an in-depth analysis of the needs and peculiarities of educators, students, communities, and so on.


Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2017). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Shafritz, J. M., Ott, J. S., & Jang, Y. S. (2015). Classics of organization theory (8th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Spillane, J., & Callahan, K. (2000). Implementing state standards for science education: What district policy makers make of the hoopla. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(5), 401-425.