Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Chad D. Ellett


The purpose of this study was to utilize the organizational perspective of coupling to extend our understanding of effective schools as complex social systems. Part One of the study focused on the continued development and refinement of the Organizational Coupling Structure Inventory-Teacher Form (OCSI-T) to measure coupling structure in schools (Logan & Ellett, 1989). Part Two of the study focused on the examination of key research questions that bear on understanding the coupling construct and school effectiveness. The findings from Part One of the study support the OCSI-T as a reasonably valid and reliable inventory for measuring five dimensions of organizational coupling structure in schools from the teacher perspective: (1) Goal Consensus/Vision; (2) Work Scrutiny; (3) Manipulative Control; (4) Autonomy; and (5) Centralization. These findings replicate for the most part the prior structure of the OCSI-T identified in previous research (Logan and Ellett, 1989). The analyses indicated that the criterion-related validity of the OCSI-T varies depending upon which criterion of effectiveness is under study. The findings from Part Two of the study indicated that, when competed against school size and SES, none of the coupling dimensions explained significant amounts of variation in student achievement or attendance. The coupling dimension of Goal Consensus/Vision was the most important variable in explaining teachers' perceptions of the overall effectiveness of the school and this relationship was independent of school size and SES. The findings highlight several important issues in understanding schools as complex organizations from the coupling perspective. First, the notion of the coupling "paradox" (Orton and Weick, 1988) and coupling as a multi-dimensional construct need to be considered in any discussion of effective and ineffective schools. Second, discussions of coupling and school effectiveness will need to specify which effectiveness indices (student achievement, student attendance or perceptions of the overall effectiveness of the school) are being considered. Third, school size and SES are important variables to be considered in discussions of school coupling and school effectiveness. Fourth, organizational effectiveness may be an important mediating link between coupling structure and school achievement.