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Network Analysis in Educational Applications


The changing environment within which schools must functions demands that school administrators be proficient in the application of a variety of managerial techniques to educationally-related projects (Sybouts, 1992, p. 3). Among the more important of these techniques in the contemporary period is network analysis. Two primary approaches to network analysis are CPM (Critical Path Management) and PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique). These two approaches to network analysis, together with their relevance for school administration, are reviewed in this research.

In the early years of the twentieth century, Henry Gantt and Frederick Taylor cooperated in adapting the system of scientific management for use in the construction management (O'Brien, 1992, p. 2). The resulting system was the Gantt Chart. The Gantt Chart was the predecessor of the bar charts, which were later used extensively in project control (Cale, 1990, p. 776). Although the Gantt Charts/bar charts and the later bar graphs were simple to construct and easy to use, they proved to be inadequate and inefficient for use in very large projects (Goldharber, Jha, & Macedo, 1991, p. 117). Although it was evident that improved scheduling and control procedures were required for project management, radically new approaches did not begin to be developed until the post-Second World War period (O'Brien, 1992, p. 5).

In the mid-1950s, the concept of a project as a network of interrelated and coordinated activities began to emerge (O'Brien, 1992, p. 8). In order for the network concept to be applied effectively in project management, it is necessary for a project to have four quite specific characteristics. The four specific characteristics which a project must possess to effectively employ the network concept in scheduling and control are (1) a clearly recognizable endpoint or a clearly recognizable ...

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