CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE REVIEW
In the previous chapter, the context of the South African public TVET colleges as well the strategic and leadership role of the SMT was discussed. The research has shown that effective strategic management and leadership is essential for colleges to “succeed so that leaders are produced by design rather than by default” (Falk 2003:202). This chapter starts by defining the concept of system in general. It proceeds to focus specifically on the college as a system. Open and closed systems are discussed. The role of the principals in international community colleges is also discussed. In this chapter, efforts are made to examine the roles and responsibilities of Vocational Education and Training (VET) principals or presidents in the UK, the United States of America (USA), Australia, Denmark, and the Netherlands. The VET sector have a fair comparison with the TVET sector in South Africa in that they have gone through a merger and employ the same governance process of accountability. Furthermore, it is evident that leadership and management of colleges is a global challenge.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF A COLLEGE AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM.
The theoretical framework that informs the college as social system will be based on Hoy and Miskel’s model. This model attempts to show the relationship between various sub-systems contained in a social system such as a TVET college. Hoy and Miskel (2013) name them elements and place them in the transformation section of their model. They also try to reflect how the various sub-systems are related and how they influence one another. For example, the inputs such as legislative mandates, and human and other resources, are supposed to be utilized by the cultural, structural, individual, and political sub-systems during the transformation process in order to deliver outcomes − such as well-educated youth with the requisite skills to enable them to become useful citizens.
What is a system?
Lessing and Scheepers (2001:37) indicate that a system is “a group of independent but interacting (interrelated) components comprising a unified whole and working together towards a common goal by accepting inputs, and in a structured conversion process, producing required outputs”. Sengé (2006) indicates that a system can be defined as an interrelated set of elements functioning as an operating unit. Furthermore, every organization can be viewed as a system as it has a number of interrelated, interdependent parts, “each of which contributes to total organizational functioning and to the achievement of the overall” strategic objectives. Brown (2011:38) lists the following basic qualities of a system:
A system must be designed to accomplish an objective.
The elements of a system must have an established arrangement.
Interrelationships must exist among the individual elements of a system.
The basic ingredients of a process are more vital than the basic elements of a system.
A system’s overall objectives are more important than the objectives of its elements, and thus the narrow objectives of a system are de-emphasized.
In relation of the above, I have come to the conclusion that a TVET college in its functioning and operations is considered to be classified as a system. The college has integrated parts such Human Resources, Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain, Student Support, Quality Assurance, Information Technology (IT) and Academic departments. All departments are accountable to the executive management or SMT of colleges and comprises deputies and a principal. All the departments are collectively functioning to achieve common goals that are set by both the college council and the DHET.
College as a social system
According to (Norlin, 2009) colleges are social systems in which two or more persons work together in a coordinated manner to attain common goals. Therefore, definition is important, for it specifies several important features of colleges. The features of colleges are people (staff and students); they are goal-directed in nature (have strategic objectives); they attain their goals through some form of coordinated effort, and they interact with their external environment (external stakeholders). According to open-systems views, colleges constantly interact with their external stakeholders which may include parents, business and industry. In fact, they need to structure themselves to deal with forces in the world around them (Scott 2008).
Hoy and Miskel (2013:25) illustrate the major elements, or subsystems, of a social system in Figure 3.1 as indicated below:
Figure 3.1: Social-System model of a college
Source: Hoy and Miskel (2013:25)
According to Hoy and Miskel (2013:25), Figure 3.1 contains the main elements of of social systems. Furthermore, colleges are open social systems with five important elements or subsystems, namely the structural, the individual, the cultural, and the political (Hoy & Miskel, 2013:25-26). These sub-systems are now briefly discussed.
The structure is defined in terms of formal bureaucratic expectations, which are designed and organized to fulfil the goals of the organization. Bureaucratic rules are defined by sets of expectations, which are combined into positions and offices in the organization (Hoy & Miskel 2013:26). In colleges, the positions of principal, lecturer, and student are critical ones and each is defined in terms of a set of expectations. These expectations are mostly mandated and external to principals, lecturers and students and are not necessarily the same as the internal expectations held by the persons themselves.
The structural system is similar to that of formal organisations. Bureaucratic expectations rule organizational behaviour. Roles that are derived from such expectations are represented by positions in a hierarchy. According to Hoy and Miskel (2013), expectations are formal demands and obligations set by the organization; they are the key building blocks of organizational structure.
Organizational structure, rules, and regulations define school life for teachers, students, and administrators. Accordingly, schools are characterized by the rules controlling and directing student and teacher behaviour, as well as the standard procedures shaping organizational behaviour (McGuigan 2005). Given that colleges are bureaucratic in nature (Lane, Corwin & Monahan 1967; Hoy & Miskel 2008; Treslan 2008), effectiveness of their informal organizations will hinge on the extent to which the ever-present bureaucracy (implicit in formal organizations) is understood and effectively managed. More specifically, this applies to these four bureaucratic components: division of labour and specialization, impersonal orientation, hierarchy of authority, and rules and regulations.
In a bureaucratic school structure, the authority is generally concentrated top management. Information usually flows from the top down, encouraging a school culture focussed on control and command, in which operational processes are rigidly controlled and closely supervised. Colleges, like other organizations, function by having certain activities required for the purposes of the bureaucratically governed structure distributed in a fixed way as official duties (Gerth & Mills as cited in Hoy & Miskel 2008:90).
TVET college principals report to both the minister and the college council. They are expected to fulfil the expectations of the two ‘masters’; and to perform their duties within set boundaries.
It is likely that the concomitant hindering and enabling nature of bureaucratic expectations has a potential impact on the general functioning of a college and on realization of their strategic management and leadership goals. It has been reported that such a situation hinders college organizational structures should the principal’s behaviour be one of ensuring compliance with all mandated regulatory procedures. Principals are then not encouraged to take responsibility for improvements in the management and strategic leadership process, and are only expected to comply strictly with the bureaucratic rules (Hoy 2003).
The reporting processes and functioning of strict control of principals by the college councils and DHET allow little space for principals to think creatively in managing and leading their colleges. Hence, they focus more on narrow compliance with all procedures than on possible strategies for improving teaching and learning.
The hierarchy of command in an organization, combined with the career aspirations of different people and the need to allocate scarce resources, guarantees the formation of coalitions of individuals who strive to take care of themselves first and the organization second, third, or fourth (David 2011:196). The individual is viewed in terms of the needs, goals, beliefs, and cognitive understandings of work roles; the individual provides the energy and capacity to achieve the organization’s goals. Regardless of official positions and elaborate bureaucratic expectations, members have their own individual needs, beliefs, and cognitive understandings of their jobs (Hoy & Miskel 2013:26).
According to David (2011:196), all organizations have a culture. He further indicates that culture includes the set of shared values, beliefs, attitudes, customs, norms, personalities, heroes, and heroines that describe a firm. Finally, David (2011) states that organizational culture is the unique way an organization does business. Leaders are recognized as exerting a dominant influence on the emergence and direction of cultural norms, values, and basic assumptions in institutional settings (Schein 2004). Culture is the shared work orientations of participants; it gives the organization special identity. Furthermore, culture has consistently emerged as a pivotal variable in determining the success of efforts to implement institutional change (Bate, Khan & Pye 2000). Thus, the emphasis here will be on organizational culture which, according to Hofstede (1991: 182), is not the same as national culture, and organizational culture is mainly learned via organizational practices and socialization processes in the workplace. However, in practice it may be difficult to distinguish national from organizational culture as the two are interwoven with one another.
There is a dynamic relationship between bureaucratic role demands and individual work needs as people are brought together in the workplace. Organizations develop their own distinctive cultures (Hoy & Miskel 2013:29).
There are many definitions of organizational culture.
• William Ouchi (1981:41) defines organizational culture as symbols, ceremonies, and myths that communicate the underlying values and beliefs of that organization to its employees.
• Henry Mintzberg (1989:98) refers to culture as organization ideology, or the traditions and beliefs of an organization that distinguish it from other organizations and infuse a certain life into the skeleton of its structure.
• Edgar Schein (1992), however, argues that the culture should be reserved for a deeper level of basic assumptions, values, and beliefs that become shared and taken for granted as the organization continues to be successful.
Bolman and Deal (2003) and Hoy and Miskel (2001) summarize the organizational culture as a system of shared beliefs that holds the organization together, unites people around shared values and beliefs, and gives it a distinctive identity.
Martins and Martins (2003:382) also mention the following as functions of organizational culture:
• It has a boundary-defining role, that is, it creates distinctions between one organization and the other organizations.
• It conveys a sense of identity to organizational members.
• It facilitates commitment to something larger than individual self-interests.
• It enhances social system stability as the ‘social glue’ that helps to bind the organization by providing appropriate standards for what employees should say and do.
• It serves as a meaningful control mechanism that guides or shapes the attitudes and behaviours of employees.
TVET colleges function to achieve certain objectives. Therefore, such objectives require the commitment of the whole college as a collective. In relation to that, Arnold (2005:579) states that culture can be seen as something that can be managed or changed when the existing culture is inappropriate or even detrimental to the organisation’s competitive needs.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND Pages
1.1 THE INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.3 LITERATURE REVIEW
1.4 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
1.5 THE PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.6 THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.7 THE AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.8 RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY
1.9 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
1.11 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.12 LIMITATIONS AND DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
1.13 DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS
1.14 CHAPTER OUTLINE
CHAPTER 2: STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT ROLE OF THE PRINCIPAL AT PUBLIC TECHNICAL VOCATIONAL EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING COLLEGES 30
2.2 DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
2.3 LEADERSHIP THEORIES
2.5 AN OVERVIEW AND BACKGROUND OF TVET COLLEGES IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.6 THE ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF KEY PLAYERS IN TVE COLLEGES
2.7 THE NEED FOR REVIEW OF SENIOR POSITIONS READINESS AND
MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS AT TVET COLLEGES
2.8 FACETS OF THE PRINCIPALS’ LEADERSHIP ROLE
2.9 STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT PROCESS AT TVET COLLEGES
2.10 THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
2.11 CONCEPTUAL FACTORS IMPACTING EFFECTIVE STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
2.12 FAILURE OF THE STRATEGIC STAKEHOLDERS IN THE SUPPORT OF PRINCIPALS
CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE REVIEW
3.2 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF A COLLEGE AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM.
3.3 CLOSED SYSTEM PERSPECTIVE
3.4 SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
3.5 THE ROLE OF THE PRINCIPALS IN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY COLLEGES CONTEXT
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
4.2 RESEARCH DESIGN
4.3 RESEARCH APPROACH
4.4 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS
4.5 POPULATION AND SAMPLING
4.6 DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES
4.7 QUALITATIVE DATA MANAGEMENT AND ANALYSIS
4.8 RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF RESEARCH
4.10 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
4.11 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5: ANALYSIS OF RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
5.2 PARTICIPATION OF SELECTED RESPONDENTS
5.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
5.4 SUMMARY OF THE INTERVIEW PROCESS
5.5 RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS
5.6 THE DATA ANALYSIS PROCESS
5.7 DETERMINING OF SUB-SYSTEMS AND THEMES FROM PARTICIPANTS RESPONSES
5.8 SYNTHESIS OF FINDINGS
CHAPTER 6: A SYNTHESIS OF THE FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.2 SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
6.3 A SYNTHESIS OF THE FINDINGS
6.4 SUMMARY OF A TVET COLLEGE AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM BUREAUCRATIC EXPECTATIONS
6.5 SUMMARY OF A TVET COLLEGE AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM POWER RELATION
6.6 SUMMARY OF A TVET COLLEGE AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM CULTURAL
6.7 KNOWLEDGE BASE THAT THE STUDY ADD TO HUMAN KNOWLEDGE
6.8 SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
6.9 CONCLUDING REMARKS
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT