STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP AND CURRICULUM STRATEGY

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CHAPTER 3 STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP AND CURRICULUM STRATEGY

INTRODUCTION

This chapter starts by defining concept of leadership in general. It proceeds to focus specifically on strategic leadership and strategic management processes. Three interdependent leadership actions are explained with relevance to the principal‟s role of implementing curriculum strategy. The relationship between strategic leadership and strategic management process is examined with respect to the implementation of curriculum strategy. Key strategic leadership actions are discussed in the context of the Zimbabwean polytechnic curriculum strategy.

THE CONCEPT LEADERSHIP

Leadership as a concept is nebulous and difficult to describe (Thrash, 2012: 1). Nevertheless, an attempt is made to define leadership in this section. According to Killian (2007: 1), leadership is “… any behaviour that influences the actions and attitudes of followers to achieve certain results.” Principals‟ leadership role is to influence lecturers and other staff members to work towards producing a skilled and self-reliant graduate. Leadership is the process of transforming organisations from what they are, to what the leader wants them to become (Dess & Lumpkin, 2003: 353). A critical analysis of this definition reveals that a leader who is dissatisfied with the status quo would want to move the organisation to a more favourable position. Implicit in the definition is the aspect of vision of what the organisation should be in future.
The following section outlines leadership definitions. Leadership is about a distinct role of making things happen to achieve a common goal. It is quite clear that the absence of a leader, leads to a chaotic situation where the operations of any organisation eventually crumble and come to a halt. In a survey of educational leaders conducted in New York, 69% of the principals who responded indicated that traditional leadership preparation programmes were out of touch with the realities of what it takes to run today‟s schools (Hale & Moorman, 2003: 5). To a large extent, the effectiveness of polytechnic curriculum depends on the principal‟s strategic leadership competencies, which very often are found wanting.
“Leadership is the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives” (Yukl, 2006:3).
Bennis (1989: 7) distinguished between leadership and management as follows:
Leaders are people who do the right things. Managers are people who do things right. There is a profound difference. When you think about doing the right things, your mind immediately goes toward thinking about the future, thinking about dreams, missions, visions, strategic intent, purpose. But when you think about doing things right, you think about control mechanisms. You think about-to. Leaders ask the „what‟ and „why‟ questions, not the how questions.
It is rather difficult to find both a leader and a manager in one person. Practically, one may be more inclined to leadership than to management, or vice versa. Theoretically, one is expected to wear both leadership and management hats. In polytechnics, for example, some principals may focus more on control mechanisms in systems and fail to have a strategic focus of what type of graduate may be needed in the next ten years.
Storey (2005: 89) distinguished between “leadership in organisations” and “leadership of organisations” by saying that the former refers to team leaders and the latter to organisational or strategic leaders. Strategic leaders are those leaders responsible for formulating vision, mission and strategic objectives of the organisation as well as designing the structure of the organisation (Dess & Lumpkin, 2003: 354; Storey, 2005: 90).
Mintzberg (2004: 22) argued that the separation of leadership and management is dysfunctional and that leadership should be diffused throughout the whole organisation. In other words, there is no time in the running of polytechnics when principals dichotomise leadership and management, rather these two occur concurrently. Polytechnic projects are implemented through effective strategic leadership. Zaccaro and Horn (in Storey 2005: 90) found out that less than 5% of leadership literature has focused on strategic leadership. It is also true that literature on strategic leadership in curriculum effectiveness is still scarce, let alone on the Zimbabwean polytechnic education sector. This justifies the need to carry out this research.

LEVELS OF LEADERSHIP

According to Dent (2003:15), leadership basically has three levels, that is: strategic, operational and team.
Strategic leaders: These are leaders at the top level responsible for a range of organisational functions and for contributing to major decisions.
Operational leaders: These are responsible for a functional area of the organisation, all the human capital in that functional area, and for contributing to decisions in their own specialist area.
Team leaders: These are leaders who operate at team level and whose prime responsibility is the people who work with them and the achievement of the goals for which they are jointly responsible.
According to Stoner, Freeman and Gilbert (2009: 292), middle level and lower leaders are responsible for implementation of strategic plans and for devising operational plans. It is the responsibility of the founder member(s) of the organisation to spell out the mission statement while top managers, with the support of middle managers, craft strategic plans for the organisation (Stoner, et al., 2009: 292). Strategic leaders can be individuals at different levels of an organisation who assist with the formulation of strategy and with its implementation and control (Hitt, et al., 2007: 24). This suggests that all the three levels of leaders perform different strategic leadership functions according to the level they occupy in the organisation. Bass (2007: 34) stresses that the strategic leadership role is important for the CEO and for other senior executives.
Polytechnic principals and their deputies act as chief executives at institutional level, and they are helped by heads of department who head functional or specialist areas such as commerce, automotive engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and civil engineering department. According to Dent (2003: 15), heads of department are operational leaders responsible for leading “…all the human capital in that functional area, and for contribution to decisions in their own specialist area”. The human capital in this case refers to lecturers and support staff in a particular department. It is the quality of their strategic decisions that contributes to effective polytechnic curriculum implementation.
Team leaders in polytechnics are lecturers-in-charge who supervise small groups of lecturers in particular departments and are also supervised by operational leaders or heads of department (Dent, 2003: 15). Lecturers-in-charge assist in enrolling students in their respective areas, supervise schemes of work, and ensure that lecturers have adequate resources that facilitate learning. They are supposed to assist in ensuring that a high quality of curriculum instruction is delivered. However, some lecturers-in-charge lack even instructional skills to supervise lecturers on curriculum issues.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF LEADERSHIP

Literature on leadership shows a progressive pattern, which starts from focusing on the attributes and characteristics of a leader, then concentrates on behaviour and later emphasises on the contextualised nature of the leadership (Riaz & Haider, 2010: 30). Leadership is a key ingredient in the implementation of any project in organisations. Bolden, Gosling, Marturano and Dennison (2003: 6) posited that leadership theory has evolved from what they called Great Man Theories: trait theories, behaviourist theories, situational theories, contingency theories, transactional theory and transformational theory.

Transactional Leadership

Burns (1978: 20) explained that transactional leadership represents the everyday interactions between manager and follower where a follower is offered an incentive for compliance to achieve organisational objectives. Robbins and Coulter (1999:5534) explained that transactional leaders “guide or motivate their followers in the direction of established goals by clarifying role and task requirements.” Transactional leaders use rewards as a control mechanism to carry out the exchange relationship explicitly established to externally motivate followers (Liu, 2007: 3). For example, polytechnic principals recommend that staff members be awarded incentives by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), though their hands are tied and they do not go beyond recommendations. Principals work within the confines of Treasury Instructions which stipulate how public resources should be used. It will be up to CSC to implement recommendations or not. Transactional leaders who use rewards to exchange for followers‟ compliance only develop followers‟ extrinsic motivation.
Economic exchange can only externally motivate followers to the extent that specific behaviour is directly rewarded and the amount of rewards is more than the cost of engaging in the behaviour (Liu, 2007: 5).

Transformational Leadership

Glanz (2006a: 78) identified transformational leadership as more effective than contingency leadership styles in motivating members to achieve organisational goals. Northouse (2003: 131) explained that transformational leadership was developed by Burns (1978). Burns (1978: 20) defined transformational leadership as the process whereby an individual engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower (Northouse, 2003: 131). Burns (ibid.: 4) asserted that “The result of transforming leadership is a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents”.
Northouse (2003: 132) clarified that transformational leadership theory is noticeable in the four dimensions of idealised influence, inspirational motivation, individualised consideration and intellectual stimulation. Northouse (2003: 132) further explained that idealised influence describes leaders who are exemplary role models for associates. Principals ought to exhibit professional behaviour that can be imitated by subordinates. However, an observation as an insider-researcher reveals that rarely do they exhibit instructional skills and leadership as they are mostly busy with administration work. Leaders with idealised influence can be trusted and respected by associates to make good decisions for the school. Inspirational motivation describes leaders who motivate associates to commit to the vision of the school. Whilst there is a desire by principals to motivate subordinates to commit to the vision of institutions, this goes as far as verbal positive reinforcements only. Matching exceptional performance with tokens of appreciation needs Permanent Secretary‟s approval and this is fraught with red tape. Leaders with inspirational motivation encourage team spirit to reach goals of increased revenue and market growth for the school. Intellectual stimulation describes leaders who encourage innovation and creativity through challenging normal beliefs or views of a group.
Transformational leaders question assumptions and beliefs and encourage followers to be innovative and creative, approaching old problems in new ways (Barbuto, 2005: 27). Individualised consideration describes leaders who act as coaches and advisors to the associates. They help associates to reach goals that help both the associates and the school. Ross and Gray (2006: 800) argued that schools with higher levels of transformational leadership have higher collective teacher efficacy (CTE), greater teacher commitment to school mission, school community, and school-community partnerships, and higher student achievement. CTE stems from teacher self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997: 2) that is “the perceptions of teachers in a school that the efforts of the faculty as a whole will have a positive effect on students” (Goddard, Hoy & Hoy, 2000: 480).
Transformational leaders may also motivate followers to transcend their own interests for some other collective purpose (Feinberg, Ostroff & Burke, 2005: 471), which is a good antecedent for collective teacher efficacy. Robbins and Coulter (1999: 534) posited that transformational leaders:
pay attention to concerns and developmental needs of individual followers; they change followers‟ awareness of issues by helping those followers to look at old problems in new ways; and they are able to excite, arouse, and inspire followers to put in extra effort to achieve group goals.
Yukl (1998: 325) noted that “… transformational and transactional leadership are distinct but not mutually exclusive processes, and … that the same leader may use both types of leadership at different times in different situations.” A lecturer with the highest pass rate may be awarded with a token of appreciation (transactional leadership), while another one with a skill of coming up many innovations might be supported with necessary scientific equipment to make his/her dream a success.
In Zimbabwean polytechnics, most lecturers‟ developmental needs are self-funded. This PhD research programme is self-financed as the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development cites lack of financial resources. However, one is promised that fees or educational costs will be refunded on completion of the programme, although previously those who completed their programmes were never refunded money they spent on tuition fees and other related expenses. The notion put forward by transformational leadership that followers are “inspired to put in extra effort to achieve group goals” (Burns, 1978: 20), seems far-fetched. This is because Zimbabwean polytechnic lecturers are not getting fair remuneration for their work.

Critical Leadership and Pedagogy

To define critical leadership as pedagogical helps to move us away from a hierarchical and individualistic banking model of leadership. Instead, sucha perspective movesus towardpracticesthatengageleadershipasasocialphenomenonthatexistsin community and evolves pedagogically, through communal structures of participation (Darder, 2013: 15).
Freire (1971: 72) argued that “apart from inquiry, apart from praxis, individuals cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other”.
Freire (1998: 53) further asserted that, “Human existence is, in fact, a radical and profound tension between good and evil, between dignity and indignity, between decency and indecency, between the beauty and the ugliness of the world”. The unaccommodative and undemocratic nature of education, especially polytechnic education, has resulted in students settling for an inferior type of education whose skills are not relevant to the needs of the Zimbabwean society. To this end, it is argued that:
An unwillingness to contend with deep moral questions within educational institutions and the larger society has resulted in the bureaucracy of schools, where schools are ruled by absolute, top-down, and expedient policies, which do little to attend to the larger social and institutional conditions, of which social problems are a symptom. For example, good educators, human development folks, and even neuroscientists, all understand that human beings, and particularly children, need physical contact to connect and enhance the maturation in the brain. Hence, physical touch can be linked, neurologically, to healthy brain development (Darder, 2013: 15).
A critical theory of leadership must be founded on a notion that leadership, just like education, is a political activity, requiring efforts toward structural change and social transformation. As such, it also encompasses a question-posing approach, which recognises that culture and power are inextricably linked to any system of organisation (Darder, 2013: 15). For instance, principals should be aware that they wield some form of political power in their space of operation and are therefore responsible for making things happen towards social justice with students and always critically question the status quo.

Strategic Leadership

The leadership style that underpins this research is strategic leadership because it is specifically mentioned as one of the key factors of effective implementation of strategy in any type of organisation. Hitt, Ireland and Hoskisson (2007: 350) argued that effective strategy implementation depends largely on effective strategic leadership. Crafting and executing strategy that leads to an organisation‟s success is reckoned as the most trustworthy proof of good management (Nyambayo, 2008: 35).
McNeilly (1996: 7) provided several strategic principles for successful business particularly with regard to dealing with the competition. He advocated that rather than using precious resources to eliminate the competition, the resources should be focused on exploiting the organisation‟s competitive advantage, capitalising on the competition‟s weaknesses and creating opportunities while at the same time playing fair.
These principles are quite relevant to how principals can strategise in order to effectively implement polytechnic curriculum. Although polytechnics are government institutions, they are in competition with each other. All the above strategies suggested by McNeilly (ibid.) apply to polytechnics. Any competition may be viewed as a game where deception and attacking one‟s weaknesses are some of the strategies that make one effective. Some principals may be weak in facilitating the production of civil engineers or mechanical engineers. This might be a chance for a vigilant principal to capitalise on weaknesses of competitors and produce more of these skills.
Bass (2007: 36) summarised the functions of strategic leaders as follows:
formulate the organisation‟s goals and strategies;
develop structures, processes, controls and core competencies for the organisation;
manage multiple constituencies;
choose key executives;
groom the next generation of executives;
provide direction with respect to organisational strategies;
maintain an effective organisational culture;
sustain a system of ethical values; and
serve as the representative of the organisation to government and other organisations and constituencies as well as negotiate with them.
In Zimbabwean polytechnics for example, principals develop strategic plans for their institutions (cf. 3.7.1.1) which encompasses vision and mission statements. As principals are at the core part of the organisation, they develop and maintain processes and structures of the organisation. Though most policies are cascaded down by the Ministry, they develop and implement their own local operational policies. All the activities listed by Bass (2007: 36) are implemented as the principal thinks strategically to move the organisation in his or her desired direction. The practical outworking of each of the above functions makes each polytechnic effective.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
DECLARATION 
DEDICATION 
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 
ABSTRACT 
ACRONYMS 
List of Figures 
List of Tables 
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND 
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 GOVERNANCE OF ZIMBABWEAN POLYTECHNICS
1.3 THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.4 MAIN QUESTION
1.5 AIM OF THE STUDY
1.6 IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
1.8 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.9 CHAPTER DIVISION
1.10 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2: POLYTECHNIC CURRICULUM STRATEGY
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.3 CURRICULUM AS A POLITICAL DISCOURSE
2.4 Education system in Zimbabwe
2.5 THE CONTEXT OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT
2.6 TRADITIONAL EFFORTS FOR IMPROVING CURRICULUM EFFECTIVENESS
2.7 COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION
2.8 RECONCEPTUALISATION OF CURRICULUM
2.9 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 3: STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP AND CURRICULUM STRATEGY
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 THE CONCEPT LEADERSHIP
3.3 LEVELS OF LEADERSHIP
3.4 DIFFERENT TYPES OF LEADERSHIP
3.5 THREE INTERDEPENDENT LEADERSHIP ACTIVITIES
3.6 STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PROCESS
3.7 STRATEGIC LEADER‟S KEY ACTIONS
3.8 CURRICULUM LEADERSHIP
3.9 Supervision and evaluation
3.10 THE BALANCED SCORECARD
3.11 FAILURE OF CHIEF AND SENIOR EXECUTIVES IN ORGANISATIONS
3.12 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS
4.3 RESEARCH APPROACHES
4.4 POPULATION AND SAMPLING
4.5 STEPS IN THE RESEARCH PROCESS
4.6 INSTRUMENTATION AND DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES
4.7 DATA MANAGEMENT AND ANALYSIS
4.8 RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF RESEARCH
4.9 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
4.10 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 RESPONSE RATES
5.3 ANALYSIS OF QUANTITATIVE DATA
5.4 QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
5.5 THE INTEGRATION OF QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE APPROACHES
5.6 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 6: SUMMARY, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 SUMMARY OF QUANTITATIVE FINDINGS
6.3 SUMMARY OF QUALITATIVE FINDINGS
6.4 THE INTEGRATION OF QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE APPROACHES
6.5 CONCLUSIONS
6.6 RECOMMENDATIONS
6.7 CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STUDY
6.8 SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
6.9 CONCLUSION
REFERENCES
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
PRINCIPALS’ ROLE IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF CURRICULUM EFFECTIVENESS STRATEGY IN ZIMBABWEAN POLYTECHNICS

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