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Understanding Individual and Organizational Level Representation: The Case of Parental Involvement in Schools

Journal Title Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Published Date October 13, 2017
Research Type
Authors Katie Vinopal


With the substantive effects of racial and ethnic representation well-documented in the representative bureaucracy literature, scholars have increasingly turned their attention to better understanding the causal mechanisms underlying these effects. One explored but yet unresolved issue is whether the benefits of representation stem from individual (direct)- versus organizational (indirect)-level pathways, or both. The current study advances this conversation by testing the effect of both levels of representation on parental involvement in schools using a current, nationally-representative dataset: the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–2011 (ECLS-K: 2011). In doing so, this study also contributes to research on parental involvement, and how it may relate to racial and ethnic achievement gaps. Results indicate that both direct and indirect representation matter, though perhaps not equally. Direct representation has a larger association with parental involvement outcomes, especially for nonwhite students. After controlling for this direct representation, indirect representation shows statistically significant but smaller increases in parent-reported conference attendance.

Vinopal, K. (2018). Understanding individual and organizational level representation: The case of parental involvement in schools. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 28(1), 1-15.