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The quality imperative of the last two decades has led to a redefinition of global competitiveness which also includes reshaping the ways many organisation approach the strategic controls. Commitment to continuous improvement provides the basis for designing strategy control systems. Quality, efficiency and responsiveness are not one time programmes of competitive response, they combine to create a new standard to measure up to. Organizations quickly find that continually improving quality, efficiency and responsiveness in their processes, products, and services is not just good business; it's a necessity for long-term survival. (Pearce & Robinson). Strategic controls are applied to steer the organisation towards long-term strategic goals of competitive excellence and continuous improvement. They fulfil management's needs to track the strategy as it is being implemented, to detect underlying problems and to make necessary adjustments. These strategic controls and their corresponding environmental assumptions as well as key operating requirements necessary for successful strategy implementation are intertwined and interlinked with each other. In the face of intense global competition, continuous improvement has emerged as the most prominent factor necessitated in the wake of ever present forces of change fueling the urgency to focus on strategic control which at the outset contingent upon formulation of strategic development plan.
Strategic planning is synonymous with an approach to predetermine the long-term future of an organisation and then steering that organisation in an appropriate direction to achieve the desired goal, these are the goals which its members pursue with zeal and zest. (Lesbell 2002)
A comprehensive definition has been developed by Johnson and Scholes (2005); i.e. Strategy is the direction and scope of an organisation over the long term, which achieves advantage in a changing environment through its configurations of resources and competences with the aim of fulfilling stakeholder expectations.
Davies and Ellison (1998) defined strategic planning as:
... the systematic analysis of the school and its environment and the formulation of a set of key strategic objectives to enable the school to realise its vision, within the context of its values and its resource potential.
The imperatives of all encompassing change also warrant that we must introspectively at our successes and failures in regard to student learning and leadership in our schools. As the swift winds of social change steer our vessel into unchartered territory we must look inward. Social and economic pressures, technological advancements, higher accountability and a shortage of qualified educators are the challenges to be overcome.
The intent behind this introspective research venture would be to present qualitative research providing autoethnographic explanation based on confessiona, self-critical, self-evaluative, self-affirmative, analytical, interpretive, and evocative as well as appealing narratives to generate an emphatic understanding of preconceptions and feelings about others.
Autoethnography has evolved itself as a form of cultural construction rather than cultural reporting and this is how it leads to self-articulation, self-dicovery, self-reconfiguration, self-examination and self-transformation. Compelling and effective autoethnographic writings are based on careful analysis of the autobiographical data, critical reflection and interpretation as a result of which the researcher immerses himself in the process of refiguring the past and in turn reconfigure the self. This is how the researcher is able to transcend the spacio-temporal constraints of the self balancing between descriptive particularity and interpretive generality. The backward movement of narrative therefore turns out be dialectically intertwined with the forward movement of development (Freeman, 2004).
Ellis (2004) (Change) sees autoethnographic writings as not only descriptive narratives but also creative products. In 'performative autoethnography', written text comes alive on stage (ref from Chang pg 143). Autoethnographers' vulnerable self-exposure opens a door to readers' participation in the stories. This open invitation to mutual vulnerability may appeal to readers and evolve empathy. The power of being able to speak to the hearts of readers is a natural attraction to this type of writing, according to Ellis (1996, 2004) (Change)
The research being under taken aims at presentation of a highly personalised account of the complexities, hazards and challenges which would be encountered by me during the course of formulation of a strategic school development plan. This chronicalisation of my experiences as a senior principal and owner of a private school in Pakistan using appropriate cannons of qualitative research would enable me to venture into the domain of 'heuristic enquiry' summed up in the question, what is my experience of the phenomenon. (Patton, 1990, as cited in Bochner and Ellis, 2000)
The main purpose of this study would be none else than a heuristic enquiry to the understanding of the process by examining the complexities and problems involved in conceiving, steering and galvanising a strategic school development plan.
The research would also encompass a comprehensive appraisal of multiple major and subsidiary issues inclusive of the following core questions.
What themes would emerge in the context of this particular socialization phenomenon?
What challenges shall I face in the wake of initiatives for formulation of strategic development school plan?
How shall I respond to the challenges?
What would determine my priorities?
What barriers and obstacles did I encounter in attempting to cultivate a positive environment and an organization centred around learning?
How will these experiences affect and change the way I feel, think, and act?
Rendering of auto-ethnographic account in this study would serve as a valuable and enlightening insight into mid-career socialisation in the case of those who aspire to be practitioners of strategic development in schools.
This research study dilates upon formulation of a strategic development plan in the case of a school of which the researchers happens to be the senior principal acting as participant observer enabling me to relate and share with others a personal encounter occurring within a particular educational and social context. Strategic school development plan formulation is the prerequisite to effective and meaningful change management initiatives. It envisages that core competencies of a school are harnessed to the optimal level in a holistic way synchronising goal setting, translation of strategy into action, determination of effective intervention point, development of strategic capabilities taking into account an interplay of internal strengths, organizational culture and subcultures as well as expectations and accountability needs to which all stake holders would be committed. Strategic development plan is predicated on strategic analysis, strategic choice and strategic implementation compatible with needs of change management. Exploration of the best suited strategic development plan duly customized to the contours of a particular organizational culture and compatible with the shades and nuances of autoethnography would best serve the purpose for authoring a comprehensible, evocative, appealing piece of dissertation.
This investigation of the self within the constructs of autoethnography would be more conducive for offering a panoramic view of the effects of formulation of a strategic development plan on learning environment. Auto-ethnography brings with it meaningful experiences to have a richer grasp of the understanding of the beliefs, motivation and behaviours of others, simultaneously adding a dimension of shared wavelength amongst peers and stakeholders through the lived experiences of the participant observer. Accordingly, outside readers are also taken to a feeling level about the experiences being described. This is how this research initiative would make a difference in collaborative and collegial settings. This auto-ethnographic study records strong convictions, deeply felt emotions controlled biases, generating equanimity of wavelength for a better understanding on the issue of bracing the imperatives of change management. In a nutshell, this dissertation imparts to the readers a revealing chronicalisation of experiences of the researcher as a senior principal and owner of a private school in Pakistan enabling him to venture into the domain of 'heuristic enquiry' summed up in the question, what is my experience of the phenomenon and how these experiences affected and changed the way I feel, think, and act? The research study is also likely to provide a valuable an indepth insight into mid-career socialisation in the case of those who aspire to be practitioners of strategic development in schools. This is the study which also contributes to the scanty body of literature through the shared feelings and experiences of auto-ethnographic lenses.
Chapter wise details
This study attempt to enable us to weigh and gauge the value of organisational outcomes, generating collaborative structures geared towards sense of community, prompting transformative practices capable of changing norms that impede positive development. The benefits arising out of this research venture would also like to place colleagues and educational peers at the vantage point giving them opportunities to reflect on their own careers or performance to the extent that their experience relate to those of auto-ethnographer and as a result thereof both are being beneficiaries of equanimity of the wavelength while formulating strategic development plan for the school.
This section contains a recapitulation of relevant literature persued, appraised and assimilated to describe the effects, implications and imperatives of change management, leadership, organizational culture and strategic management on formulation of a strategic development plan making out a case for galvanizing the efforts of the change leader through participative and collaborative strategic reorientation which would make the entities like school sensitised to the challenges of increasing competitiveness, marketization particularly in the wake of globalization which is almost unescapable.
Strategic Management interventions invariably come into play, the moment complacency, stagnation and insularity envelop even the otherwise successful organisations showing progress to a spell of 4 -5 years for the specific purpose of avoiding failure. Schools being entities wielding social and corporate responsibilities are no exception. The 2 nd eventuality to warrant polling interventure on the part of the strategic management is coincidental with the advent of increased marketisation to secure a competitive edge in the arena of knowledge economy, change management.
Strategic Management in schools is geared to achieve a balanced restructuring, and re-engineering of corporate, social and organizational mandates conferred on them. By virtue of strategic management initiatives, a set of decisions and actions results into formulation and implementation of short and long-term plans to secure competitive excellence for the entity. These short term and long term future oriented and complex decisions are made through resource allocation and resource mobilization integrating all the major phases of strategy formulation and implementation. This is a process which centres on the belief that an entity's mission can best be achieved through comprehensive assessment of its internal capabilities and external environment followed by evaluation of its strengths, and weakness, opportunities and threats, yielding in turn a broadened choice for achieving the long-term objectives of strategy formulation i.e. mission, values and plan.
Influences and practices preventive of complacency, and stagnating preoccupation with the operational level constitutes strategic management in schools enabling successful school to avoid failure (Fidler, 1998). Undercurrents of inertia are discernable in many aspects of structure and strategy making, immoderation or extreme process orientation, inattention or restricted information gathering and processing, and a degree of insularity or failure to adapt to changes in the environment (Miller, 1994) (Fidler Article)
A strategic development plan in its essence recognises that an organisation needs to adapt to its environment in view of the fact that at times of rapidly changing conditions such adaptations may need to be continuous (Fidler, 1998). Where standards are rising and context is changing what appear to be successful formerly may turn out to be less in changed circumstances. In order to forestall stagnation and eventual failure, the crucial most measures include detection of change signals, shedding of misplaced priorities, acute sensitization towards competitive pressures removal of barriers to responsiveness. Prevention of stagnation also reliant on recognising a need for change and formulating a plan. This need for change as a result of detection of change signals needs to be widely recognised and accepted by all the stakeholders. Strong organisational culture can come to the fore as a handicap to change. This situation can have a remedy by promotion of largely shared culture. The parameters for this largely shared culture are as follows:
i) Recruitment policies should guard against appointing only like-minded people and should positively encourage those with differing views provided these differences we not dogmatically adhere to
ii) Whilst discipline is required dissenters should be encouraged to look out for signals that support their point of view and to develop alternative scenarios for the school if their view appears to be gaining ground in the outside world (Fidler, 1998). Competition alone is insufficient to keep the complacency at bay. The core ingredient is a strategic planning process with appropriate structures and systems (Fidler, 1998). Insular reliance on perpetuation of past successful practices is to be thwarted through concerted efforts to materialise a shared but pluralistic culture. As a result of emergence of pluralistic culture the proposition gains recognition that there are alternative forms of success and a range of possible success criteria rather than only one e.g. success at cognitive examination.
Strategic management encompasses a set of decisions, initiatives, activities and actions which culminate into devising, orchestration and galvanisation of strategies compatible with prerequisites of managing change to achieve the objectives of an organization at the given point in time. It provides an overall direction to the enterprise. In view of an ever increasing urgency for investment in human capital so as to secure a competitive edge in the world pivoted around the knowledge economy. Strategic management enjoins upon the top, tactical and operational management to work in harmony for furtherance of well articulated change management objectives.
School development and school improvement are deeply aligned through strategic analysis, strategic choice and strategic implementation which have a catalytic effect to harness a school's core competences and enhance its capacity enabling it to respond imaginatively to its environment in a holistic way. Strategic management concurrently takes account of long term objectives and aspirations, the external environment, internal strengths, the prevalent organisational culture, the expectations and accountability to which the stakeholders are committed (Middlewood, 1998). In the wake of ever increasing proliferation of self-managing schools and colleges, in all parts of the world, the need for effective school management has had a proportional increase. Education is inextricably linked with requirement for economic competitiveness. (Bush, 1997)
The term 'strategy' has military antecedents and etymologically is derived from the Greek word for general ship. It takes into account a coherent set of actions, the ploy or the tactic, usually concealed from the enemy, intended to achieve a specific military feat. Strategy was to be implemented by using a series of tactics, immediate measures conducted in the presence of the opposition. (Bell, 2002) Today, strategy as well as the development of strategic plan constitutes important weaponry in the armoury of the modern manager.
Ingredients that constitute the most palatable recipe of strategic management worthy of emulations and adoption comprise nine distinct critical tasks as has been expostulated by Pearce and Robinson (2000).
1. Formulate the organisation's mission, including broad statements about its purpose, philosophy, and goals.
2. Conduct an analysis that reflects the company's internal conditions and capabilities.
3. Assess the organisation's external environment, including both the competitive and general contextual factors.
4. Analyze the company's options by matching its resources with the external environment.
5. Identify the most desirable options by evaluating each option in the light of the organisation's mission.
6. Select a set of long-term objectives and grand strategies that will achieve the most desirable options.
7. Develop annual objectives and short-term strategies that are compatible with the selected set of long-term objectives and grand strategies.
8. Implement the strategic choices by means of budgeted resource allocations in which the matching of tasks, people, structures, technologies, and reward systems is emphasized.
9. Evaluate the success of the strategic process as an input for future decision making.
Davies and Ellison (1998) make out a cogent case that traditional approaches to school planning no longer serve the needs of schools. Strategy as applied to school planning is only of partial use. Schools are advised to utilize the instrument of strategic intent replacing the limited school development planning frameworks. Under the aegis of this exercise we come across an interplay of multiple factors:
Create a high expectations and success culture
Design and implement accurate performance indicators and hold everyone accountable for them
Establish technology - based individual learning for all pupils, build, leadership in depth' throughout the staff
Link home and school through the development of learning community. (Davies and Ellison 1999) Achieving a specific strategic intent involves significant creativity with respect to means. As such, strategic intent sets a series of challenges which are followed by a succeeding series of challengaes. (Davies and Ellison, 1998)
(Mintzberg) Mintzberg et al. (1998) describing their research as a safari to reveal the 'whole beast of strategic management, for exploring its various aspects' introduced different schools of thought about strategy and organisation each of which highlight different and distinct aspects of strategic management. Each has a unique perspective that focuses ... on one [of the] major aspects of the strategy - formulation process. Each of these perspectives is, in one sense, narrow and overstated. Yet in another sense, each is also interesting and insightful (Mintzberg et al. 1998). These schools of thought include the planning school propagating systems development, the positional school advocating rational decision making incremental school making out a case for logical incrementalism, the collective school expostulating the significance of strategic intent, the visionary school committing itself to organisational learning and the learning school which stands for core competencies. This is how Mintzberg safari ride provide insights into how organisations actually approach strategic management in practice imparting a sense of totality of strategic process in organisations.
In its essence, strategic management is a process. For its practical manifestation a pragmatic model is to be identified. The model should recognise the importance of strategic analysis at different organisational levels as well as the importance of internal analysis. The techniques that aid and augment strategic analysis, forecasting decision making, implementation and control are equally important for informed decision making. The model should be integrative and deeply embedded in emergent canons of corporate social responsibility. The model introduced by Johnson and Scholes (2005) happens to be comparatively more relevant to schools, it being predicated on conceptual pluralism. According to model for strategic management as devised by Johnson and Scholes (2005) would be worthy of adoption. The said model comprises three conceptual stages:
Strategic implementation and change
Under the said model due care is aresied for stock taking with a view to foresee forthcoming externalities likely to effect an organisation. Its components are internal resource audit, environmental scanning and analysing culture and values. Internal resource audit takes cognizance of tangible and intangible resources, their potential and the methodologies of their exploitation. A school might not be able to tap all its potentials at a given point in time. The internal resource audit framework would promptly suggest remedial measures. In this regard one should be mindful of over optimistic assumptions, which are capable of misleading internal resource audit. As far as environmental scanning is concerned, the concept of environment should not be isolated from its true contests having its roots in the system theory of organisation (Fidler, 2007) which envisages that everything outside the boundary of an organisation is to be termed as the environment. The general denomination of socio - technical influences is best abbreviated as PESTE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological and Educational)
Effective strategic analysis is conluged appraisal of shot analysis and organisational culture. The organisational culture has an over shadowing influence on the thinking of school staff by virtue of its resistance prone conditioning effect. It is so dominating a factor that it is capable of forestalling a review of strategic possibilities as these are prejudged on the touchstone of acceptance and rejection already indoctrinated into the mindset of the organisation. The prevailing culture should not become sacrosanct. On the contrary, emphasis should be laid on recognition of latent values and assumptions which are holding the edifice of organisational culture together. (Dimmock and Walker, 2002)
The second most important component of Johnson and Scholes model is none other than strategic choice which is inclusive of ways and means to create options, evaluate them and choose the best suited one management aims at formulation of possible strategies for not less than five years. A combination of retrospection and anticipation is needed so as to bring compatibility between strategic analysis and future vision for an organisation including schools. If the outset the primary concerns like enrolment of students are addressed. The secondary issues have a wider range of options e.g. academic curricular emphases; e.g. technology, languages, sport, creative arts; community involvement, creative use of information and communications technology (ICT), music performances, art exhibitions, drama performances, sport performances, charitable work, varied work experience, preparation for adult life. (Fidler, 1998)
Evaluating choices involves formulation of a number of strategic options. The basis of choice is urgency to conform to the criteria of consistency, suitability, feasibility and acceptability (Fidler, 2007).
The third factor of strategic implementation braces critical areas like organisational structure and systems, staff and change as well as resources. Strategic analysis followed by strategic choice leads to the final step of strategic implementation. The implementation is weighed at the evaluation stage for its viability. The implementation is affected by resources, co-operation of others, staff preparation and hazards arising out of external environment. It involves managing a change over many years particularly regarding decisions which concern the way in which staff are to work together. In addition to the structure, systems have to evolve to give a respectable pace to the progress in the new direction. Staffing needs are to be foreseen which should be sufficient enough to facilitate the desired strategic change. Capacity building of existing staff would also pave the way for complementing the implementation drive. The magnitude of change would determine the nature of contingency plan and quantum of yearly funding besides giving due consideration to resources and their sources as well as mobilisation over a span of a number of years.
(Fidler, 1998, 2007) (Bush and Coleman, 2000)
Strategy control and continuous improvement generate a blend of reward system, functional tactics, and empowering policies as well as generic and grand strategies which coalesce into each other for a more meaningful strategic analysis and choice compatible with a school's corporate social responsibility. This is how a school's core competencies are harnessed to its best advantages. This exercise is not exclusively fixated with profit maximisation in all the cases. On the contrary it is equally palatable for non-profit entities. If a school resolves to pursue objectives alien to profit maximization, strategic management is capable of demonstrating compatibility with these non-corporatized parameters. The strategic management is holistic and integrative in its approach, making organisation and its externalities complement each other. It addresses all the critical areas so as to make the best of divergent yet shared values, heterogeneous yet homogenising perspectives evolving systems and structures to accord reasonable pace to progress, for the sake of meaningfully managing change over a number of years.
Over the years, organisational leadership of schools has transformed and evolved itself into a complex structure. Manager, executive, guardian, instructional leader and instructional facilitator are some of the oft repeated metaphors describing a leader of schools. Increased accountability has provided the alchemy to enable the leadership to abandon management in preference to guidance and facilitation in the distract domains of learning environment, curricula prescription, staff development, monitoring and evaluation, student conselling and resource allocation.
Centrality of leadership may not be disputed but a bigger question mark remains over who the leaders are. In facing up to challenges of global environment paradigm shift in the roles of leadership is imperative. Traditional concept of leadership concentrate on leader's management techniques and his interpersonal skills. It is not denied that a relationship between leadership style and organisation outcomes in moderated by situational factors which constitutes variables leading to predictability of the leadership style. Transformational perspective however has surfaced itself as an alternative perspective to the traditional concepts presenting the leader capable of piloting proactivity about the organizational vision, shaping of members' beliefs, values and attitudes and developing options for the future. As compared to the transformational leadership, transactional leader is reactive about the organisational goals using a transactional approach to motivate his followers. Transformational perspective encapsulates organisational goal development as well as process of influencing members to achieve these goals in a changing environment.
Culture building for transformational leader also envelope behaviour patterns aims at development of school norms, beliefs, values, assumptions having student centred and professional growth oriented ingredients. In view of the emergence of redefined contours of organisational culture, there emerges a shift of emphasis in the new era of globalisation, information technology and knowledge based economy forcing the educational leaders to play a key role as transformational leaders to facilitate paradigm shifts in learning, teaching and curriculum, transform various contextual constraints and create opportunities for new development for their institutions, students and staff (Cheng, 2002). Transformational leadership has inbuilt tendency to facilitate restructuring initiatives designed to pave the way for challenges of the new millennium meant for the schools. Three fundamental goals fall within the jurisdiction of transformational school leaders:
helping staff develop and maintain a collaborative, professional school culture;
promoting teacher development; and
helping the school community solve problems together more effectively (Leithwood, 1992 a)
Leithwood (1992b) advocated that school administrators are required to focus on use of facilitative powers for making changes in their schools. Collaborative strengths come into play to accomplish these objectives. Transformational leadership believes in empowering those whose participation is contributory to organisational goal development as well as the process of influencing these goals. Teachers are accordingly helped to find their work more meaningful to meet higher level needs through their work and to improve their instructional capacities. This is complemented by a renewal of commitment toward success for students, teachers, staff and parents.
Leitwood and Jantzi (2006) identified teacher commitment as a key aspect of a school's capacity for change. They are of the view that it is the quality of the teachers themselves and the nature of their commitment to change that determines the quality of teaching and the quality of school improvement. However apart from commitment other factors are capable of influencing teachers' contribution towards strategic planning and change management which are none other than teachers' decision - making power and the school climate and parental involvement in the school.
Five dimensions of leadership are integrated to merge into a broad based model of leadership introduced by Chang (1994). Human leadership implies development of positive social relation, facilitating social interaction and participation resultantly enhancing staff commitment and satisfaction. Structural leadership stands for development of clear goals, policies, organisation structure holding staff accountable for results before which suitable technical support is provided to plan, organise, coordinate and implement policies in the institutions. Political leadership believes in building alliances and coalitions resultantly participation and collaboration is encouraged in decision making and conflicts are resolved among constituencies. Cultural leadership helps in providing inspiration to stimulate members pursue institutional vision for excellence and performance as a result of which new institutional culture evolves. Educational leadership caters to needs of expert advice on development of learning, teaching and curriculum emphasizing diagnosis of education problems and simultaneously encourages professional development and teaching improvement.
An overview of literature of management and organisational effectiveness reveals that there are seven models introduced to conceptualise, manage and pursue education quality (Cheng and Tam, 1997)(Cheng, 2002).
Goal and specification model envisages that accomplishment of stated goals inconformity with the given specifications is facilitated by leadership which introduces institutional mission and goals, establishes its programmes and plans and prescribes standards ailing as a goal leader and planning facilitator.
Resource input model assigns the role of resource developer and resource distributor to the leadership. Process model has a leadership which assumes the role of process engineer and process facilitator to encourage participation and promote social interaction as well as positive classroom and institutional climate.
Satisfaction model gives birth to a leadership which is not only a social leader but a social satisfier as well. This leadership creates opportunities to satisfy the diverse expectations of all powerful constituencies.
Legitimacy model provides adequate room for emergence of public relations manager, environmental leader and accountability builder to create better public relationship and to marketize institution's strength and image.
Absence of problem model gives birth to the leadership which is supervisory capable of detecting disfunction and problem shooting. This is how avoidance of conflicts becomes the primary focus of the leadership under this model which identifies and prevents organisational defects in the institution on pre-emptive bases.
Organisational learning model depends on leadership attributes like the expertise in the fields of environmental analysis, learning promotion and organisation development. This leadership is able to establish a strategic plan for institutional management.
These leadership roles have a very subtle interplay when strategies for achievement of educational quality are employed from amongst a wide spectrum of strategies related to each of these leadership models in a complicated and changing educational environment. (Chang, 2002)
(Hall) from strategic managed in schools and college. On the contrary and leadership read. It is membent upon for the educational leaders to wield information and resource control simultaneously negotiating with constraints of the environment. They must capitalise on the opportunities. They continuously adapt strategies with the advent of unanticipated events. Strategic withdrawal is also an option (Hall ?).
Strategic management initiatives are culmination points combining strategic thinking, ability to make intelligent guesses about the future which is reinforced by virtue of operational management thinking (Hall et al 1997). Linking creative approaches to leading and management with strategic action involve collaboration. Team work approach to strategic planning and implementation sustains the desired capacity of managing strategic change. This artistry is in relation to four frame of references i.e.
structural elements, human resource elements, political elements and symbolic elements. The core issue which cannot escape attention of the strategic management is capacity for managing strategic change. Fullan, (1993) argues that every person is a change agent, and personal mindset and mastery are the ultimate protection against being the passive tools for others' change efforts. Managing an educational innovation is at par with an exploratory adventure rather than guiding a package tour. Accordingly this disposition as well as skills of the adventure leader are very different from those of the package tour guide. He has the ability to manage people as winning companions galvanising them into teams. All these are ways and means of realigning people to implement the school's agreed upon strategic plan. Leaders should have the persuasive power to disseminate the moral purpose behind strategic goals. Their ability to manage conflict and negotiate positive outcomes lead to diffusion of leadership responsibilities. Still leaders have to act like supermen or women if they are to make a plan become a reality.
Strategic leadership and effective development of school are inextricably linked. Short-term school improvement and school effectiveness can only be made sustainable with renewed attention paid to strategic dimension of leadership which not only seeks to improve the school 'now' but concurrently build strategic capability within it (Davies and Davies, 2006).
Strategic leadership involves itself in direction setting, translating strategy into action, enables the staff to develop and deliver the strategy, determines effective intervention points and develops strategic capability. Core moral values and purpose coupled with future perspective and vision constitute a strategic context which is further executed in terms of deployment devolve on to strategic leadership. Operational planning followed by certain current action and reactions secure directional shift or change. Articulation of strategy leads to build a common understanding of what is possible through shared experiences and images. The leadership also charts out a shared conceptual or mental map of the future. Enabling of the staff to develop and deliver is based on iterative nature of alignment and capability.
Strategic conversation generates a blend of participation and motivation. Determination of effective intervention points is characterised by references for the right things at the right time. Strategic timing is very vital, if it is wrong it can have devastating effects on schools. In this arena concept of strategic abandonment comes into play forcing the schools to give up acceptable current practices, making room for future improved practices. Strategic capabilities are equivalent of core competencies. One must be mindful that pressure to deliver short term targets can lead to the postponement of longer term more significant development. This entails cultivation of self-reflection and willingness to be life-long learners amongst the whole team of the management. Strategic approaches are not just confined to the elements of strategic planning. The elements of emergent strategy, entrepreneurship or decentralised strategy and strategic intent are also part of repertoire of strategic approaches. Strategic planning happens to be a rational linear approach having coherence of objectives to be achieved by following a predetermined number of steps and activities. Emergent strategy entails that considering the results and outcomes of current activities, an organisation replicates successful activities and discards the less successful ones. This reactive strategy is responsive to external changes and paves the way for strategic framework for future action. Intrapreneurship is an equivalent of decentralised strategy and addresses difficulties to cope with complex and ever chaning environment. Under this framework the centre of the organisation will lay down core value and key strategic directions but allows the subunits in the entity the freedom to work out the detail of the strategy. Strategic intent prescribes modalities for the organisation, simultaneously prescribing key strategic goals which further stretch the entity to new levels of performance. Under this framework the organisation engages itself in a series of capabilities building measures to establish the capacity to achieve its objectives. A series of strategic intents are build to make the organisation to move forward. (Davies and Ellison, 1998)
Characteristics of strategic leadership
The conspicuous characteristics of strategic leadership are exclusive of dissatisfaction or restlessness with the present. Strategic leaders prioritize their own strategic thinking and learning. Strategic leaders create mental models to expostulate their own understanding and practice. Strategic leaders have powerful personal and professional networks (Davies and Davies, 2006).
A strategically focused school and a strategically focused school leader put together are able to lead the process and approaches that contribute to a concert strategic approach. This perspective has also been present in Gardner's (1999 as cited in Davies and Davies, 2006) notion of multiple intelligences and schools should consider a range of collective capacities to foster and develop the use of experience, skill and understanding to develop strategic intelligence. A model of strategic leadership developed by Davies and Davies (2004) is based on conceptualisation of strategic intelligence having three types of wisdom i.e. a people wisdom, a contextual wisdom and a procedural wisdom. People wisdom is based on participation and sharing information with others, developing creative thinking and motivation so as to finally develop capabilities and competencies within the school. Visioning and foresight, as a process requires an interpersonal intelligence. People wisdom is essential in order to understand what motivates people and how to work co-operatively with them. Contextual wisdom is derived from understanding and developing culture, sharing values and beliefs, developing networks and understanding external environment. Strategic approaches appropriate to the situation are adopted and learning alignment as well as timing coalesce to give birth to action which sets into motion strategic processes i.e. reflection, analysis, conversation, creating a common language, creating mental models and articulation. All this put together is manifestation of procedural wisdom.
This is how strategic leadership is able to develop a common understanding and common language for the school community facilitating alignment of everyone to a common cause coupled with creation of urgency for the people to own the plan and a being committed to it.
Leadership profiles are also revolving around the distinguished cultural clusters and different conceptions of what leadership should entail in terms of leadership prototypes which emerge due to constitution of different cultural groups. Within these clusters differences in leadership prototypes to a certain extent mirror differences in culture (Koopman et al 1999).
A comparison between universally endorsed leadership attributes and culturally contingent attributes reveal that specific aspects of charismatic and transformational leadership are strongly and universally endorsed across cultures. The way in which the social environment is interpreted is strongly influenced by the cultural background of the perceiver (Hartog et al, 1999). Yukl (1998) points out that most of the research on leadership during the past half century was conducted in the United States, Canada and western Europe.
This has led to eclipsing of other cultural profiles typical of derivatives from other cultural closets. Hofstede dimension of culture are:
As regards cultural dimensions based on typical perspectives and backgrounds. High uncertainty avoidance culture placed additional demands on leaders to rely on emphatic adherence to rules, procedures and traditions. Similarly, innovative culture is only expected in no uncertainty avoidance cultures. Masculine cultures are compatible with strong directive leaders and feminine cultures promote the cause of consultative processes and are compatible with considerate leaders. Low power-distance cultures favour egalitarian leadership. A high power distance societies have a preference for authoritarian leadership. Collectivistic society goes hand in gloves with leaders which encourage group loyalty. Individual goals suffer under this cultural cluster whereas the same is encouraged in a society which is individualistic. Future orientation is very handy in the society where people do not live for the present and engage themselves in planning, investing in future. (Hofstede, 1994)
As a result of research findings under the major globe study captioned as Culture Specific Cross Culturally Generalizeable Implicit Leadership Theories. It became self evident that several attributes characterised as charismatic/transformational leadership qualities universally acknowledged to be contributatory to outstanding leadership include the epithets of motive arouser, foresight, encouraging, communicative, trustworthy, dynamic, positive and confidence builder. Culturally contingent attributes include leadership qualities such as risk taking, ambitiousness, self-effacing, unique, self-sacrificial, sincere, sensitive, compassionate and wilful. A point of reconciliation between leaders' characteristic behaviour and his dominant outlook of cultural cluster is seen as prerequisite for success. (Hartog et al, 1999)
Prescriptions can hardly be translated from one cultural context to another particularly in view of the fact that leadership is unlikely to be culturally neutral (Dimmock and Walker, 2002). Although bulk of the research in the school leadership has taken place in western industrialize countries, it is very remote possibility that assertations and models of school leadership developed there pertained to the societies and cultures of the developing world. And understanding has to be developed of those variables which determine the possibility of effective school leadership in an atypical culture setting. (Simkin, 2003)
Considerable doubts arise about the degree to which head-teachers in many developing countries might be expected to act as transformational leaders in the schools. One of the reasons in that of highly bureaucratic and hierarchical structure. Another factor that comes into play relates to limited professional training and socialisation to which most of the teachers in the developing countries are exposed to. Last but not the least is the reason associated with national cultures which may encourage dependency, autocratic management style and aversion to risk. (Simkim)
National culture inevitably influences leadership behaviour as an important variable. Hofstede's finding that Pakistan is relatively high power distance culture is fully supported by the evidence available of hierarchy in which a subordinate exhibits a strong sense of dependence on their superiors and express a preference for a boss who decides autocratically or paternalistically (Hofstede, 1991 as cited in Simkim et al, 2003). Although dynamics of power distance and dependence may operate somewhat differently in each school, national and community cultures tend to create broad generic frameworks of the cultural expectations generated and powers conferred within particular school system which would further be refined through head teachers' person orientation, history and personality. These three factors are the determinants of personal efficacy. However different cultural settings and perspectives would require changes in assumptions about applicability of theory and models of effective leadership styles. Any attempt to super impose notions and models of leadership alien to the original context would be riddled with pitfalls. (Simkim et al. 2003)
Culture is a blend of customs and rituals. It has been developed overtime within a group of people.
Culture and strategy have certain features in common, both being an organisation's phenomenon. Their linkages are well entrenched as both are underpinned by values and beliefs. Stragegy operates within the cultural context. Both strategic management and organisational culture have the ability to develop over extended timescale and both tend to relate to the whole of the organisation. Varying cultures are to be accounted for while contemplating any strategic management initative which may involve the necessity to modify culture if it is inconsistent with the new strategic aims. (Bush and Coleman, 2000) (bush from strman in school)
According to Schien (1992) culture denominates a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid Schein maintained that culture embraces three facets: artifacts, values, and assumptions. Artifacts from the physical representations of culture and can include the environment or physical surroundings. Artifacts may represent little meaning until cultural values of the group are understood. Assumptions are the way a group member describes what is their perception and reality. To truly develop an understanding of a group's culture one must analyze its shared basic assumptions, and study how these shared assumptions came to be (Schein, 1992).
Organisational culture is no exception either. Each school has its own culture that shapes the climate of the building and sends a strong message to teachers and students about what is important in the environment. Brophy (1998) advocated creating a school environment in which students and teachers feel comfortable, valued and secure. This environment encourages school members to form positive emotional bonds with other and a positive attitude toward school, which in turn facilitates students' motivation to learn and success in learning.
As regards multiple dimensions of organisational culture, it entails taking into consideration the more specific factors which eventually create syntropy and cause entropy as cited by Whitakes (1997). On the analogy of organic cultures enhancing or syntropic effects tending to display increasing energy and order in an organization are also discernible in certain organisations whereas in certain other organisations have to cope with an inhabiting or antropic effects, tending towards disorder, deterioration and depletion of energy.
Involvement in the organization tends to increase:
Involvement in the organization tends to increase
A psychological landscape of organisational culture is produced by the human forces at work. The syntropic culture would flourish only in the vent, collaborative efforts are made which not only enhance the strategic charter of the school but also address the crucial issues of welfare and well-being of both staff and pupils. These assumptions are to be translated into management behaviour which is well advised to be beware of cultural toxins that lead to emergence of entropic effect on the cultural landscape. Such emotions emanate from a particular type of communication behaviour i.e.having our ideas rejected or stolen; facing our ideas rejected or stolen; facing constant, caping criticsm; being ignored; being judged; being over-directed; not being listened to; being misunderstood (Whitaker, 1997).
Sarason (1996) has specifically asserted that schools share similar organizational cultures to other corporations, except for the organizational 'product', or outcome, which is in the case of schools comprises students learning. School cultures have various and varying outlooks ranging from progressive to passive, nurturing to threatening, invested to indifferent patterns. However there in now an overwhelming tilt of balance in favour of collaborative cultures, centring around improvement of student achievement and learning. Societal trends forge ahead organizational changes which are of the top down or lateral nature. With the diversity of the demographics, organizational structures tend to vacillate between democratic process and autocratic dispensations. The advantages of cooperative work environments are characteristically conducive to the norms of sharing of ideas, allowing idosyncracy to be a strength rather that a weakness, supporting innovation and change and broadening the range of perspective on work problems. (Clark and Asuto, 1994)
Changing a school culture requires a systemic change. Auditing culture is a pre-requisite if it is to be managed effectively so as to establish the main cultural features of an organization. This auditing process would lead to identification of several diagnostic techniques including study of behavior, examination of the communication rules, assessment of the myths, rituals and symbols, developing of a cultural profile and organizational cultural. (Bush, 1998) ?
The desired dose of accountability hinging on self regulate would definitely involve a relationship of trust rather than mutual suspicion. This would materialize when climate of mutual accountability is developed between teachers and pupils taking into account
i) negotiation of agreements or TOR (terms of reference) ii) making explicit statement of learning aims and purposes iii) working within agreed structures and boundaries iv) working to timetables and meeting deadlines v) providing appropriate accounts of work done and results achieved.
The dynamics of this mutual accountability interplay between teacher and leaner would be contingent upon the following parameters.
Defining requirements, resources, time available and support extended on the part of the teacher
expression of specific needs, particular interest and individual hope on the part of the learner
Agreement upon the TOR or a programme of study or a learning task mutually acceptable to both the teacher and the learners who will strive together to achieve the same.
Needless to state that learners are only able to exercise accountability effectively when an organizational culture is promoted where teachers help them with regard to the following issues:
i) Determination the discrete activities needed for completion of the work ii) Producing a plan of sequence of these activities iii) Review the outcomes when the work is completed
Learners are more likely to develop self-discipline, self-reliance and a real sense of responsibility if the teacher engages with them in a mutual examination of completed work. (whitaker, 1997)
Another contributory factor to reinforce existing cultural norms or to radically change anotherwise obsolete cultural assumption would find its manifestation in the option of generating culture. Generating culture is reliant on focus on the aims of the school. The statement of purposes, and their espousal in action, serve to reinforce the values and beliefs of the organisation (Bush, 1995) ?
A consistent policy is likely to emerge in a case where there is a mono culture within the organisation. However in the event of existence of competing cultures, there is likelyhood of undermining of the stated aims of organisations like schools which are expose to subversions by members of different subunits opting to interpret exclusively interpreting them in line with their own sectional values and goals (Bush, 1995). These are the situations which are more germane to creation of a mosaic of organisational realities rather than a uniform corporate culture. Multicultures are well-suited to multipurpose organisations. Primary loyalties to subunits such as departments rather than organisation is the outcome of flourishing of competing and multi-cultures. This compartementalisation in some schools give birth to 'balkanised culture' (Fullan and Hargreave, 1992).
Decision - making has to be culture bound and cultural - plurality should be harnessed in a manner that the organisation is steered in favour of the strategic choice which is inconsonance with its unique ethos.
Another source of generating culture is the structural change bringing about the reorientation of working relationships between teachers and the management as well as amongst the teachers.
Leadership has a role and power to archestrate change in organisational culture. The sponsorship and communication and dissemination of core values and beliefs of the desired educational culture devolves on to leaders entrusted with generating and sustaining culture. However there is no single approach capable of providing all encompassing recipe in the presence of cultural pluralism. Formal models like beauracratic and top-down leadership have been rendered deficient and inadequate to serve the purpose of effective action. Leaders need to beware of other models is managing strategic change. To be fixated with rational model is not likely to optimize the desired performance. Conceptual pluralism is the best option enabling the mangers to prefer a model best suited for a solution of a problem they face (Bush and Coleman, 2000). The collegial model would be suitable for organisations where broad-based ownership of strategic initiative is needed for its success implementation. The political model would be appropriate where negotiations with subunits happens to be a bottleneck in decision making. The subjective model is helpful to managers for appreciation of the fact that teachers and other staff have a unique perspective which is to be accorded due weightage. The ambiguity model would serve the purpose in managing environmental turbulence. The cultural model would be valuable in facilitating the managers to acknowledge the beliefs and values of staff and stakeholders, conceptual pluralism in the desired recipe for the periods of rapid and multiple changes. It augments the capacity building of the reflective practitioner whose managerial accesses is the product of a blend of good experience and distillation of theory placing him at a vantage point which provides him the desired over view desired for strategic management.
Change Management Imperatives
Managing people through change require different leadership approaches at different times. There are occasions which require the force of directing authoritatively and there are other times when it is necessary to merely coach, demonstrate and support.
Chang being non-linear operates at multilevel working at different speeds sometimes going round in loops, sometimes doubling back on itself.
Change within organization has the capability to affect it from varying and various angles and aspects. It may be partially affecting or entirely affecting an organization. There are also change that impact on society and in turn cascade back into the organization. The nature and complexity of change is further accentuated due to occurrence of random or chance factors. (Evans, 1996) Notwithstanding the thrust of reforms, it is conceded by Evans (1996) that the structure of schooling and the practice of teaching have remained remarkably stable. This stability constitutes the Achilles heel of those schools who at the outset happen to be resistant to change. Schools must grow and develop at a pace the society is changing in technology, demography, knowledge level, ecology and life expectancy. Schools must be geared up to sustain themselves and meet the needs of an ever changing diverse group of students. Complacency to outlive restructuring is too overwhelming to be set aside. Evan (1996) states school improvement faces a fierce paradox: its essential agents of change - teachers - are also its targets, and , sometimes, its foes. Change is invariably perceived as quite a negative connotation. However this notion is required to be shed. (Morgan 1986), professes that change implies that the organization as responding to the outer environment. Conversely change can also mean deterioration and regression (Raudenbush, 1994). For the viability of an organization to undergo effective change it must examine, challenge and if necessary modify its basic assumptions (Raudenbush, 1994). Any school improvement rhetoric is pivoted around student learning which cannot be improved without organization's ability to adapt to its environment. Organizational change in particular is at cross purposes with any framework of a systemic change. The extensive study of literature on the issue with regard to organizational change through a rigid hierarchical structure reveals that no longer can an institution afford to merely adhere to a lock-step method of structuring for change. Change has to be indoctrinated into the belief system of employees before it is possible to materialize a truly systemic make over. The new core set of values must be nurtured and entrenched in the culture of the organization for process of change to permanently take root and hold. Evans (1996) is of the view that organisational change - not just in schools, but in institutions of all kinds - is riddled with paradox. We study it in every greater depth, but we practice it with continuing clumsiness.
The thematic profundity of the culture of change is further subdivided into five key dimensions by Michael Fullan (2001). These five themes include a moral purpose, understanding change, relationship building and knowledge creation and sharing. There is a tendency amongst these five phenomenon to interplay among themselves and these episodes have an inbuilt inclination to recur.
The currents of moral purpose constitute the source of inspiration to excel in student learning unique charisma. Leaders do contribute to a moral purpose but the achievement secured through charisma and alchemy of personality cult is invariably short-lived. Sustainability is an organisation's ability to adapt and modify over time and continue to produce positive results. Understanding change according to Fullan (2001) subscribes to six distinct steps:
The goal is not to innovate the most
It is not enough to have the best ideas;
Appreciation of the implementation dip;
Reculturing is the name of the game;
And never a checklist, always complexity.
It is not a checklist based process. The underpinnings of the moral purpose are always available to enable the change leader to navigate the unseen waters, which accompany the change
Relationships building reinforces the change process and contributes to the systemic change in an organisation unless these relationships turn into lobbying. Fullan (2001) admits that relationships are powerful, which means they can also be powerfully wrong. Change leader must cultivate connections to enhance an organization's ability to adapt, modify and create positive change for its constituency including staff members, fellow administrators, parents, students, school board members, central office staff, and recognized members of the local community.
Knowledge creation and sharing is the very foundation of organizational ethos. Fullan (2001) points out that leading in a culture of change does not mean placing changed individuals into unchanged environments Knowledge sharing is about employees given access to the knowledge and in turn enabled to use the information to better their teaching or productivity in the workforce. It is the responsibility of a change leader to provide an environment conducive to sharing and using knowledge.
Coherence making is centred o