effectiveness. Second, goal conflict in school districts is detrimental to organizational performance. It is apparent that a lack of representation of Latinos, for example, in the school board and among teachers, negatively impacts Latino student achievement over time.
Furthermore, there is an implicit normative argument in this analysis. That resulting argument is simple: there is great import and benefit to having a representative
Table 3 The effects of goal con- flict on Latino student performance
*p<.05; **p<.01; one-tailed test Texas Education Agency, 1995–2002
Latino TAAS pass rates
OLS, (Huber-White Standard Errors)
School board/teacher goal conflict −.017* – (.010)
Teacher/population goal conflict −.068** – (.010)
School board/population goal conflict −.017** – (.007)
Overall goal conflict – −.032** (.005)
Lagged Latino pass rate .447** .448**
Anglo pass rate .488** .481**
Percentage Latino students −.051** −.055* (.009) (.009)
Percentage black students −.081** −.082** (.012) (.012)
Percentage low income students .048** .048**
Teacher experience −.146** −.161** (.062) (.062)
Non-certified teachers −.011 −.010 (.028) (.028)
Teacher salary .569** .592**
Instructional expenditures per pupil .024** .025**
Constant −17.281** −17.548** (1.582) (1.581)
N 7159 7159
R2 .67 .67
F 1211.97 1438.69
The Consequences of Conflict 281
bureaucracy. Using one type of bureaucratic institution, this analysis finds that the lack thereof has significant effects on a portion of the public being served. This result is generalizable to other agencies in that a lack of representation in other types of bureau- cracies might also have detrimental effects for other constituencies. In cases where a representative bureaucracy currently does not exist, bureaucrats must still make efforts to consider the needs of all groups represented in their constituencies. In other words, an entirely Anglo faculty in a district populated with Latino students should make every effort to consider the differential effects of certain education policies, for example, on Latino students despite a lack of Latino teachers on the faculty. Admittedly, an ideal situation would permit all individuals to be sensitized to the needs of all groups alike, regardless of racial or ethnic background, but this is a utopian ideal. It is not illogical or impossible; however, that the public require bureaucrats to take steps toward the realiza- tion that the interests of all groups are of critical importance for bureaucratic effectiveness.
This research has some limitations. Future research on this topic would first include more rigorous measures of bureaucratic values and preferences. The current study used racial indicators as proxies of values and preferences. This is problematic in that the race of a bureaucrat does not automatically denote his or her value system. Thus, more accurate measures would capture personal policy preferences or opinions, rather than draw conclusions based on race or ethnicity. Such indicators would allow for the capturing of variation across and within racial groups.
Second, it would be useful to apply this proposed framework to African Americans. The same research questions should be examined for this group in that their represen- tation on school boards has increased over time, yet there remains puzzling questions surrounding African American student performance and educational attainment.
Third, it would be advantageous to evaluate the potentiality of coalition effects among minority groups in times of conflict. In other words, do African Americans and Latinos ever represent each other when specific racial group representatives are unattainable? If this is true, what happens to influence in conflicting, yet coalition- bearing, conditions? The current analysis is the first step in a long line of inquiry regarding the role of goal conflict in public administration. Incorporating any of the aforementioned suggestions as well as the empirical testing of additional performance indicators would prove beneficial.
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Erin K. Melton is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut. Her research considers the implications of race in the management and performance of public organizations.
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- The Consequences of Conflict: An Evaluation of Racial Disparity and Organizational Performance
- Literature Review
- Agency Theory
- Political Control
- “The Inner Check”
- Theoretical Argument
- Representative Bureaucracy
- The Case for School Districts
- Goal Conflict
- Data, Measures, and Expectations
- Dependent Variables
- Overall Student Pass Rate/Latino Student Pass Rate
- Independent Variables
- Goal Conflict
- Lagged Overall/Latino Pass Rate
- Resources and Constraints
- Dependent Variables
- Findings and Discussion
- Goal Conflict and Organizational Performance