management & leadership
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School management and leadership are often conflated but, while they are inter-related concepts, they are not identical; a well managed school may not necessarily be well led, and much depends on whether espoused theories accord in reality with theories-in-use (Argyris, 1995; Argyris & Schon, 1974). The converse is more likely – a well led school will probably be well managed.
Thus, the relationship of management to leadership can be seen as symbiotic, perhaps depicted as a venn diagram highlighting areas of commonality as well as distinction. Since features of managing and leading involve different skills, foci and strategies, effective leaders will cultivate mindful harmony of both practices in order to achieve school improvement through unrelenting focus on learning as a collaborative endeavour (Hargreaves, 2010).
Management has been distinguished as maintenance whereas leadership is seen as learning and development by theorists identifying transformation as a dynamic of
collaborative learning that leads to purposeful change (Hopkins & Jackson, 2003, p. 100).
Given the complexity of this interplay, where intricate embedded interaction
converts tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge on an ongoing basis (Fullan, 1999, p. 15),
artful school leadership demands setting and communicating the organisation’s vision as its most important feature (Mendels, 2012). Since any learning ecosystem is complex, and processes can appear turbulent, if not chaotic (Meadows, 2008), alignment of leadership practice will involve
the deliberate linking of the key features of the school so as to best serve the purposes of the school as a dynamic educational environment (ACEL, 2011).
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Essential features of school leadership therefore include:
- Setting direction through the school vision and generating influence
- Attending to the organisation’s health as both well managed (resources, policies & frames) and well led (people in context)
- Awareness of distinct tensions through reciprocal process (Hargreaves, 2010).
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ACEL. (2011). Diagnostic inventory of school alignment. USQ Australia: University of Southern Queensland. Retrieved July 30 2013 from: http://disasurvey.acelleadership.org.au/
Argyris, C. (1995). Action Science and Organizational Learning. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 10(6), 20-26.
Argyris, C. & Schon, D. (1974). Theory in Practice: Increasing professional effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fullan, M. (1999). Change forces: The sequel. London: Falmer Press.
Hargreaves, D.H. (2010). Creating a self-improving school system. Nottingham: National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services.
Hopkins, D., & Jackson, D. (2003). Building the capacity for leading and learning. In A. Harris, C. Day, D. Hopkins, M. Hadfield, A. Hargreaves & C. Chapman (Eds.), Effective leadership for school improvement (pp. 84-104). New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
Meadows, D. (2008). Thinking in systems: A primer. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Mendels, P. (2012). The effective principal. Journal of Staff Development, 33(1), 54 – 58.
Sackson, E. (2010). Manager vs. leader. Toondoo cartoon. Retrieved February 26, 2013 from: http://www.toondoo.com/cartoon/2071116