Conceptualizing leadership and team management in schools

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CHAPTER 3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Introduction

The theoretical framework of research project relates to the philosophical basis on which the research takes place. It also forms the link between the theoretical aspects and practical components of the investigation undertaken. Therefore, theoretical framework “has an implication for every decision made in the research process” (Mertens, 2007:212) .The topic of leadership has been the focus of studies that have progressed through a range of views. By the late 1940’s, dissatisfaction with trait theory in terms of adequately explaining and predicting leader, led to a paradigm shift that focused more directly on what leaders did to actuate results and on the importance of situational factor (Sanders & Davey, 2011:42). In order to start thinking about how best to find new ways of understanding what underpins leader adaptiveness, it is important to review what we already know about leadership. A review of 50 years of study of leadership by House and Aditya (1997:451) illustrated the extent to which the phenomena of leadership have evolved.
House and Aditya (1997:451) distinguished between leadership style and generic leadership functions which have behavioural manifestations of leadership. First, leadership style was defined by these authors as “the manner in which specific behaviours are expressed” and had according to them, not been the focus of research attention. Second, early research on generic leadership functions had examined task-oriented (ensuring organizational performance and incorporated task related behaviours) and socially-oriented functions (focusing on effective integration of members and activities and included people oriented behaviours). Other and more recently researched generic leadership functions, according to House and Aditya (1997), related to the neo-charismatic leadership paradigm and incorporated those activities and behaviours described in the transformational (Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003: 207) and visionary literature (Kouzes & Posner, 2002:191). Our attention now turns to these developments in leadership research and theory which can contribute to an initial understanding of adaptive leadership behaviour. Leadership behaviours associated with transformational leadership, such as supporting the development of individual staff members, arousing and inspiring them and helping them to see old problems in new ways, have been shown to positively affect organizational adaptation to change (Pang, 2006:77). The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was developed to test transformational leadership theory and is the most widely used neo-charismatic leadership measure (House & Aditya, 1997:451). Recently, it was used to predict the performance of followers based on leadership behaviour (Bass, et al., 2003: 207). The transformational components of the MLQ provide useful attitudinal and behavioural descriptors that cluster sub-dimensions to measure self and other perceptions of what it is that leaders do to create an adaptive organizational culture. The transformational sub-dimensions include idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Bass, 1998:56).

The philosophy of leadership in education

I believe the transformational leadership philosophy is the best way to lead the school community to positive change. It focuses on morals and virtues and aligning individual goals and values with the organisation. Transformational leaders inspire their constituents and empower them to bigger and better things. I want to be this type of leader that encourages others and gains others’ respect and trust. Moral leaders use intrinsic motivation and belief in self to increase satisfaction and performance. I hope to inspire others to look to the future, want to do well for the world, and move them to positive social change.
SMTs must incorporate aspects of the human relations theory to bring about positive change in schools. It is good to have an organogram and a clear procedures and protocol to follow as SMT in monitoring teamwork. The “bureaucracy” of it all sometimes does not work out for the best for individual educators or SMT in school. Learners suffer as well because they mostly interact with these educators. If something needs to be a changed, and it takes too long to make a change because of the “bureaucracy,” then there will be unrest. When staff is ignored, they start to feel disconnected and unappreciated (Lumby & Coleman, 2007).
The human relations movement stresses positive personnel relations, motivation, and morale. I believe these values are very important to SMT and educators. As leaders, the SMT must be committed to lifelong learning, encouraging relationships, academic excellence, personal and professional growth, respect, diversity, collaboration, open communication, organisation, creativity, work ethic, moral leadership, community, and responsibility. At the heart of the school community is the people who make up the organisation; the individuals are the most important pieces to the success of the school (Koestenbaum, 2002).
SMT members are the most important members of a school management. Under the appropriate conditions and with the appropriate strategies, they will be able to manage teamwork. The nature and quality of learning experiences must be exemplary. Creative thinking and analysing skills are important in today’s technological society. They must gain critical thinking skills along with knowledge. SMT performance must be evaluated frequently. Achievement data should be analysed and instruction should be planned accordingly. All of these efforts will help the school to succeed. They should be valued, respected, nurtured, and supported. Encouragement and praise are strong motivators and may be just what they need to succeed.
In an effective school, staff members should feel like they are a part of a great team that works together for the success of their students. Moreover, teachers should be valued and respected for their knowledge of and experience with children. Their efforts should be acknowledged and appreciated. Good teachers are well-read and critical learners that are up to date on the latest teaching strategies and educational issues. Their top priority should be the success of their students. They should be provided with the materials and tools necessary to implement an effective instructional programme. An effective SMT must work hard to support collegiality among staff members. Staff members must be kept informed and consistently supported. Groups and committees should be created and given responsibilities. Staff members along with all other stakeholders should share in decision making when possible and appropriate. Empowered managers should be cherished and feel appreciated. A happy staff that feels supported and needed is often a productive staff (Prastacos, Wang & Sonderquist: 2012).
SMT members must have high expectations and strive for greatness. They must focus on leading as well as managing. They must be both good school managers and effective instructional leaders. A balance must be found between instructional leadership, routine administration, and human relations. Time is limited, and must be used effectively, with priorities set on instructionally related matters. Effective leaders foster open communication, decision-making, and problem solving. In addition, they are able to lead people toward personal and organisational goals. School leaders must also be highly visible, and more skilled at listening than telling. They must have the courage and determination to overcome difficulties. Decisions must be made keeping in mind what is in the best interest of the students, the staff, and the school. Ethical principals should be involved in the decision-making process.
It is essential for every school to have a vision. The vision should include high standards of learning and continuous school improvement. The school staff must share in this vision. A shared vision is very powerful, and will help to create an environment of low anxiety and high standards. Furthermore, SMT members must also have a clear, shared mission. Research and data analysis should be used to help shape the mission of the school. Staff, students, parents, and community members should all take part in developing this mission, and it should be widely shared and understood. A positive school climate is crucial to its success. The atmosphere of a school should be one of caring and trust. The school should be a supportive environment that is conducive to learning. Both students and staff should feel comfortable and safe at their school. Positive interpersonal relationships also help create a positive school culture. These relationships are fostered when both staff and students are encouraged to work collaboratively. An effective staff will work together to create a safe and supportive learning environment (Prastacos et al., 2012).
Besides school staff members, parents and community members can play a huge role in ensuring the success of students. Schools should solicit the active involvement of parents and community leaders in school functions. Community resources should be sought out and used often. Collaboration and communication with families and the community are crucial to the success of a school. Parents can provide valuable and necessary information and they must be valued and respected. They should be welcomed and encouraged to become involved in their children’s education. Opportunities should be provided for parents to work with their children in learning settings. An open line of communication will help build trust and collaboration between school and home (Chen & Lee, 2008).
Professional development is vital to teacher effectiveness. It should be meaningful and helpful to teachers. It should include information on the changing role of the teacher, the latest developments in the area of instruction, and reflective practice techniques to assist teachers in self-improvement. Good staff development will help teachers address the diverse needs of their students and help to improve their professional skills. A school leader has the greatest ability to make a school successful. There are many personal qualities that effective school leaders must possess. They must have a strong sense of self, personal discipline, and the educational process. Effective leaders are well-rounded, knowledgeable individuals with strong problem solving skills. They have good moral character and conduct themselves with pride, fairness, and integrity. Ethics, performance, and quality are never compromised.
School principals should be lead-learners by continuously participating in and providing professional development. They must make a serious commitment to life-long learning for themselves and their staff. Moreover, school principals must constantly renew and improve their knowledge and skills. They must be willing to take risks when necessary for the welfare of the school. In addition, they must also allow and encourage their staff members to take risks for the good of their students. I feel very strongly that the relationship an administrator has with his/her staff is a key component of an effective school. I will continue to work hard to ensure that my relationships with my staff are positive. I will trust and respect them in order to reciprocally gain their trust and respect (Lumby & Coleman, 2007).

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Leadership Theories and Models

The concept of ‘theory” relates to ideas and views, as formulated by individuals, on a certain scientific area (in this case, school management). Northouse (2004:121) asserts that, “A theory usually consists of a number of assumptions and presuppositions, i.e. hypotheses, which are established as a theory by means of research”. The concept of “model”, on the other hand, relates to the grouping or joining of a number of theories into a single model. An organization like a school does not always represent a specific model: rather very often there is a mixture or combination of models. In order for SMT members to manage teamwork, several perspectives must be used in each institution. It is further important for SMT to know that the school can be managed according to more than one model. The reality of school life is often different from the explanations given by specific models. In practice, we usually find that we can distinguish different characteristics from various models when we analyse the leadership strategies employed by SMT members to manage teamwork in schools.
Leithwood, et al. (2000:112) outlines the following leadership theories and model:

Transformational leadership theory

The concept “transformational leadership” is defined by Kouqing (2009:190) as a leadership style that involves motivating followers to do more than expected, to continuously develop and grow, to develop and increase their level of self-confidence, and to place the interests of the team or organization before their own. Characteristically, transformational leaders display charisma, intellectually stimulates their subordinates, and provide individual consideration of subordinates.
According to Shelley, Francis, Leanne and William (2004:182), transformational leadership consists of four I’s which are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. Idealized influence/inspirational motivation are related to the formulation and articulation of vision and challenging goals whereas intellectual stimulation includes seeking differing perspectives when solving problems, suggesting new ways of examining how to complete assignments and encouraging re-thinking of ideas that have not been questioned in the past. The term “transformational leadership” implies leaders’ ability to change or transform their followers.
The transformational leader transforms the needs, values, preferences, and aspirations of followers from self-interests to collective interests (Northouse, 2004:121). Transformational leaders incorporate six leadership behaviours: Articulating vision, providing an appropriate model, fostering group goal acceptance, expecting higher performance, providing individualized support and offering intellectual stimulation.
Leithwood, et al., (2004:112) stated that one factor that separated transformational leaders from most other leaders was the ability to create and communicate a compelling vision or purpose for the group. They further suggested that transformational leaders stimulate, strengthen, and fascinate people in addition to having an inspiring vision. Transformational leaders generate and maintain trust and openness, as well as qualities that strengthen member commitment and loyalty (Northouse, 2004:122). As the name implies, transformational leadership is a process that inspires and stimulates followers to change. The change, in turn, commits followers to the leader’s mission rather than self-interests (Rouche, Baker & Rose, and 2005:101).
Schaubroek et al. (2007:1020) define a transformational leader in a school context as a leader who inspires followers to transcend self-interest and perceptions of their own limitation to become more effective in pursuing collective goals. Transformational leaders articulate ambitious collective goals and encourage followers to accept those goals. Transformational leaders also support followers in working towards the goals, such as by acting as a role model, stimulating them to engage in analysis, showing concern for them as individuals, and encouraging teamwork.
Transformational leaders act as mediators because they influence team performance through the mediating effect of team potency which is defined as members generalized beliefs about the capabilities of the team across tasks and contexts. They communicate a high level of confidence in the team’s ability to achieve ambitious collective goals (Dionne, Yammarina, Atwater, & Spangler, 2004:177).
Burns (as cited in Yukl, 2010:113) contends that a transformational leader is concerned with appealing to the moral values of his/her followers, to raise their self-consciousness about ethical issues, and to work in synergy to reform institutions. Bass (1998: 207) conducted additional research on transformational leadership. He posited transformational leadership in terms of behaviour to influence followers. According to him, transformational leaders recognized and sought to satisfy the needs of followers by engaging the full person. In addition, the transformational leader created a synergy in the organization by inspiring others to embrace and achieve collective goals. Avolio and Bass (2004:113) also maintain that transformational leaders have a moral imperative. He also asserted that transformational leaders must have a certain amount of charisma to get followers to transcend self-interests for the interests of the organization (ibid).
Bass and Avolio (2004:113) later developed the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) to measure a broad range of leadership types, from passive leadership to transformational leadership. The conceptual basis for the factor structure for the MLQ began with Burns’ description of transactional and transformational leadership. The MLQ measures transformational behaviours – idealized influence, inspirational motivation and intellectual stimulation, and two transactional behaviours, contingent reward and passive management by exception. In their study, Bass and Avolio (2004:113) also identified a third dimension to leadership, which is laissez fair kind of leadership. According to them, the MLQ was, and is still used today by organizations, to define leadership in relation to organizational effectiveness.
Transformational leaders should model desired behaviours and encourage followers to engage in analysis. Such guidance provides team members with a better understanding of how to approach their work and should therefore strengthen their belief that they can execute the behaviours and analysis needed for successful team performance. According to McNatt and Judge (2004:550), transformational leaders should show concern for followers’ needs, and also should promote a belief among team members that the leader will provide them with any support that they might need from him or her. Believing that the leader will provide them with resources and other type of support, followers need to execute their work successfully and also strengthen team members’ confidence that they will be successful.
Transformational leaders also promote cooperation among team members by fastening belief among team members so that any disagreements that arise within the team will be resolved. Furthermore, Rafferty and Griffin (2004:329) define a transformational leader in school as a leader who motivates followers to achieve performance beyond expectations by transforming their attitudes, beliefs and values. In Dionne et al.’s (2004:177) opinion, a transformational leader provides vision and mission, instils pride, respect and trust and augments optimism among the subordinates. As a result, the leader acts as a model for subordinates, the representative of vision, the symbol to focus efforts.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION 
ABSTRACT 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 
ACRONYMS USED IN THIS STUDY 
TOPIC PAGE
CHAPTER  INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Aims and objectives
1.4 Significance of the study
1.5 Rationale and motivation
1.6 Limitation of the study
1.7 Definition of concepts
1.8 Research methodology
1.9 Chapter summary
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Conceptualizing leadership and team management in schools
2.3 Historical and philosophical foundation of leadership and teamwork
2.4 Leadership strategies in school context
2.5 Implications of teamwork in the SMT and the school in general
2.6 Practising teamwork in the school leadership context
2.7 Teamwork as a tool for improving quality of teaching and learning
2.8 Leadership strategies employed by SMT members in classroom situation to improve teaching and learning
2.9 Benefits of leadership strategies and teamwork in school context
2.10 Chapter summary
CHAPTER 3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
3.1 Introduction
3.2 The philosophy of leadership in education
3.3 Leadership theories and models
3.4 Transformational leadership theory
3.5 Participative leadership theory
3.6 Transactional leadership theory
3.7 Situational leadership theory
3.8 Tuckman’s teamwork theory and model
3.9 Chapter summary
CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The constructive paradigm
4.3 Sampling
4.4 Data collection
4.5 Data analysis
4.6 Validity and reliability
4.7 Ethical considerations
4.8 Research realities
4.9 Chapter summary
CHAPTER 5 DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Interviews analysis
5.3 Questionnaire analysis
5.4 Chapter summary
CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Summary of findings
6.3 Recommendations
6.4 Conclusion
REFERENCES
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