Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) play an important role in reforming education. The purpose of the study was to describe the management challenges and the type of management approach that developed during the implementation of an ICT network, and what possible contribution the lessons learnt from this case study could make towards management theory.
In April 2008 an interactive whiteboard (IWB) network was established in an Mpumalanga town, with one of the province’s foremost schools being partnered with five disadvantaged schools. The management challenges in this network required an approach that deviated from the traditional line-function approach. This study explores the paradigm shift from a mechanistic management view to an organic or distributed model and matrix design.
This is a qualitative descriptive case study. I described the reality through the eyes of the participants and the context of the study from my own specific perspective. The intervention established the project as a case: a small geographical area and a small number of individuals chosen. I did a content analysis of my semi-structured interviews, documents and field notes. I arranged the data in different codes and families in Atlas.ti and described the patterns in the data.
Findings indicated a difference between the management challenges of the rural schools and the leading school. The management approach was identified as a systems management approach. A balanced matrix management model developed in the leading school, but in the rural schools teachers still reported hierarchically to their HODs and principals. They also reported horizontally to the project manager, administrative officer and HODs of the leading school in their subject groups.
This study contributes to current management theory through the description of the matrix model that developed in the leading school, as well as the discussion of the management procedures in the rural schools, and the special roles of the SGBs, principals, project manager, administrative officer and HODs.