Academic Leadership Journal


In the 1980s, the system of relatively uniform centralised budget resource allocation to schools was judged by many to have impaired the achievement of equality, efficiency, liberty and choice. Thus, school-based management was suggested, with lump sum budgets allocated to schools, together with a high degree of community involvement in school decision making and the fostering of diversity within schools to ensure choice (Caldwell and Spinks, 1988). School-based management (SBM) was intended to encourage positive participation from teacher, principal and parent representatives on the school board committee (Yadollah, 2006; Cheung and Kan, 2009). This attracted groups of people with different interests to participate in school policy decision-making. SBM also promised greater freedom and authority for principals to exercise their leadership (McInerney, 2003). Schools also allowed professional teachers to express their opinions and take up greater responsibility for decision-making. Teachers became more like partners rather than employees. Teachers also acted as a facilitator and coordinator to reinvent the organisational culture in school (Cheng, 2004). SBM could provide the necessary conditions such as transparency (Cheung and Kan, 2009), autonomy and flexibility in making decisions (Cheng and Mok, 2007). This was intended to help the employees develop the school and strengthen their sense of belonging to the school.