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Complexity and Control: The Organisational Background of Credentialism

William Tyler
British Journal of Sociology of Education
Vol. 3, No. 2 (1982), pp. 161-172
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1392787
Page Count: 12
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Complexity and Control: The Organisational Background of Credentialism
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Abstract

Sociologists of education have until very recently ignored the role of organisational processes in generating the demand for qualified personnel, preferring instead to explain any 'inflation' of the value of credentials in terms of either class strategies of social reproduction or as the outcome of positional competition within the labour market. In recent years, however, neo-Weberian theorists have tried to redress this imbalance by pointing to the importance of contextual features of organisation (such as size and national prominence) as predictors of educational demand, while neo-Marxist historians of the firm have examined the role played by credentials within the control processes of the capitalist enterprise. As a preliminary to more extensive investigation, a path analysis was carried out using the data from the original Aston study which tested one possible causal model of the organisational processes behind the level of specialist qualifications found in a sample of firms and public institutions. This analysis underlines the importance of the organisational division of labour as a mediating influence between contextual features and patterns of bureaucratic control and suggests that the level of specialist qualifications, far from being 'spuriously' associated with organisational structures, is deeply embedded in the causal network of complexity and control.

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