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Contracts and Competition? A Reflection on the Nature and Effects of Recent Legislation on Modes of Control in Schools


  • Broadbent, Jane
  • Laughlin, Richard


This paper examines the extent to which recent legislative changes in schools have introduced 'the market' as a mode of control. The legislative reforms of the Education Reform Act (1988) can be seen as part of an ongoing attempt to change the public sector in the United Kingdom and internationally. In order to examine the changes, the authors build a heuristic framework to develop 'ideal type' models of markets, hierarchies, and clans, thus developing the ideas of W. Ouchi (1979). They argue that that the Education Reform Act and the subsequent and related legislation form an initiative which, while justified by an appeal to market-based control, has a strong centralizing tendency, seeking to restrict the autonomy of professionals. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Broadbent, Jane & Laughlin, Richard, 1997. "Contracts and Competition? A Reflection on the Nature and Effects of Recent Legislation on Modes of Control in Schools," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 277-290, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:21:y:1997:i:2:p:277-90

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    Cited by:

    1. Suzanne J. Konzelmann & Frank Wilkinson & Roy Mankelow, 2007. "Work Intensification and Employment Insecurity in Professional Work," Working Papers wp345, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

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