When Policymakers are Not True Believers: The Bounded Rationality of Policy Borrowing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Based on a description of the national features of the Israeli society and educational system, this chapter will briefly describe various attempts conducted since the 1970s to decentralize the Israeli educational system and promote school autonomy. It will focus specifically, on the School-Based Management (SBM) policy, borrowed by educational policymakers and implemented in the Israeli educational system during late 1990s. The decision to borrow this policy did not follow policymakers’ recognition in the limitations and shortcomings of the centralized structure of control, which characterized the educational system since Israel became an independent state in 1948. Rather, it followed pressures coming from various stakeholders who considered centralized policy plans irrelevant and not enough sensitive to the variety of local circumstances and needs (David, 1989; Hanson, 1984; Nir, 2002; Nir et al., 2016). Therefore, more than 20 years later, it appears that the implementation of SBM created limited effects in terms of teachers and school leaders’ degrees of freedom and that the educational system still maintains its centralized structure and features. The main argument the present chapter will attempt to make is that borrowed policies have a limited capacity to promote significant change in the borrowing system when policymakers do not fully believe in the policy’s values and ideas and are reluctant to abandon current patterns of organizational behavior. Specifically, it will describe the process that characterized the borrowing and implementation of the SBM policy in the Israeli educational system and will discuss the main symptoms that characterized the policy borrowing process when policymakers were not fully committed to the values and mode of operation brought by the borrowed policy.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationWorld Education Patterns in the Global North
Subtitle of host publicationThe Ebb of Global Forces and the Flow of Contextual Imperatives
EditorsC. C. Wolhuter, Alexander W. Wiseman
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-1-80262-518-9, 978-1-80262-517-2
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Education and Society


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