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Educ 804 - Cultural Perspectives on Educational Management

Fall 2007– Schedule #
Draft syllabus – Final detailed version available in class
Wednesdays, 1-4 PM    273 Hills South

David R. Evans, 285 Hills South –            


Educational management takes place within cultures around the world and increasingly across cultural groups. The course begins by studying a theoretical perspective that provides key concepts for cultural analysis. Using these concepts, the course then examines elements of culture and how these interact with and shape management practice in educational settings. While the field of business management addresses issues of cross-cultural management, little has been done in the field of educational management. Close examination of the interaction of culture and educational management is important because deeply-held cultural beliefs and values shape both behavior and expectations about the functions and roles of educational managers.


The goals of the course are three-fold. By the end of the course, participants will demonstrate the following:

Organization and Teaching Strategy

The course is organized into three clusters. The first focuses on exploring and defining culture; the second focuses on defining the practice of educational management; and the third examines how the practice of educational management is shaped by cultural beliefs and values. The course examines three questions:

· What is culture?

· What is the practice of educational management?

· How does culture shape the practice of educational management?

We examine these three questions as they apply to international and to US cross-cultural educational settings. The rationale here is that traditional knowledge about the theory and practice of educational management, generated largely from Western theory and practice, is culturally insensitive both when applied to domestic contexts and when implemented in cross-cultural international contexts. We rely on cases, simulations, and the cultural diversity of participants as vehicles for developing the appropriate knowledge and skills.


The course is designed to be of interest to educators who have worked or intend to work outside of their own cultures; to educators who work with diverse groups within their own cultures or in other cultural settings; and to educators who work in US settings where a variety of cultural groups are represented.

Requirements and Expectations

We expect you to come to class fully prepared to discuss the reading and written assignments and to participate in class discussions and activities.

Required books

The following books are required for the course and are available from Food for Thought Books, N. Pleasant Street, Amherst:

Harris, P. R., & Moran, R. T. (1991). Managing cultural differences, 5th edition. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing.

Hofstede, G. (1997). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Collected readings. There will be a set of collected readings available in class.

Other suggested books

The following are suggested readings on culture that are often cited by authors writing about culture and management. They are not on reserve. You can also find excellent resources on the Internet.

Hall, E. T. (1976). Beyond culture. New York: Doubleday.
Lewis, R. D. (2000). When cultures collide: Managing successfully across cultures. London: Nicholas Brealey.
Nesbit, R. E. (2003). The geography of thought: How Asians and Westerners think differently and why. New York: The Free Press.
Schneider, S. C., & Barsoux, J. (1997). Managing across cultures. New York: Prentice Hall.
Trompenaars, F., & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business, 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Written assignments The following are the required written assignments for the course:

1) analysis of an artifact from your culture - due February 4 (1 p.)

2) analysis of your culture using Hofstede's framework:

3) guidelines for practice OR an outline of a workshop for training educational managers for a specific region, cultural group or cross-cultural situation - due May 12 (10-15 pp.)

Please be sure that all written assignments are carefully edited for both mechanics and style.

Other assignments

Group presentation: responsibility (with a group) for conduct of one class in last cluster (April 14 - May 5): presentation on a region and activity that depicts specific management issue in cross-cultural perspective

Grading policy
The course will be graded Pass-Fail with a graded option. If you want a letter grade, you must request one in writing by the third class meeting (February 11).

Please inform us early in the course if you have a learning style difference or other circumstances that might affect your work in the course. Informing us early on permits appropriate accommodations to those circumstances.