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Representative Bureaucracy, Environmental Turbulence, and Organizational Performance

Xiaoyang Xu,

Abstract: The literature on representative bureaucracy posits that increased representation at the managerial level leads to improved outcomes for minority clients. These managers, however, must work within organizational constraints and during times of environmental turbulence to sustain organizational performance. We forward the theory that contextual factors, such as environmental turbulence, could moderate the effects of representation on organizational performance. Utilizing a Texas school-level dataset of K-12 education from 2011, we examine how the race of the school principal influences student standardized test performance in a time of widespread financial resource cuts. Our findings suggest that same-race school principal representation improves the academic performance of both African American and Latino students, but the positive effects diminish as budgetary cuts become more widespread in the school. This means that environmental turbulence can decrease the impact of representation.
Keywords: environmental turbulence / representation / bureaucracy / race / organizational performance / cuts / widespread / school principal

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