The Systemic Leadership Development within the Organizations: The Case of Longitudinal Research in Time for Leaders Project

Eglė Katiliūtė, Berita Simonaitienė, Brigita Stanikūnienė, Jūratė Valuckienė, Sigitas Balčiūnas

Abstract


Purpose. The main purpose of the paper is to measure the distribution of leadership manifestation indicators (variables) in certain target groups at school, municipal, national levels (in the field of education) at a given moment and the comparison of the results with the study of initial situation carried out.

Methodology. The methodology of the longitudinal study of the manifestations of leadership is grounded on a study of the manifestations of trends in educational leadership, whereby the same samples (representative or target) of the general totality (the same general totalities) are studied at certain time intervals using the same instruments (indicators).

The study data was collected in early 2011 (January–April) when conducting internet surveys of seven target group respondents participating in the national project “Time for Leaders”: Lithuanian general education school principals, deputy principals for education, teachers, other teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils of grades 7 to 11, parents or custodians of pupils of grades 7 to 11, and municipality specialists of education. A total of 1,886 respondents were surveyed. The data of the second research was collected in the end of 2012 (November-December). The target groups of respondents are the same as in the first study. 4438 respondents participated in the second survey.

Results. The majority of school leaders consider themselves as strong leaders and the schools they lead are treated as unique organizations where relationship is based on mutual trust and honesty. Almost 90 percent of school teachers believe their principal has been flexible, able to listen to person‘s opinion and develop good psychological atmosphere. However, the evaluation of school principal‘s leadership on level of his activities (e.g. teamworking), it has been revealed that school leaders evaluate themselves better that school community. The research in 2012 revealed the increase of school leaders competencies and this allows making assumption that active involvement in leadership development activities made some impact and raise their self-confidence. All the target groups (school leaders, teachers, parents, municipality specialists in education and other employees in education) agree that better results are achieved by the organizations with strong leaders.

The theoretical contribution. The study was based on the systemic concept of leadership (Hargreaves, 2007), which emphasizes successful learning of organizations and communities, distribution and transfer of leadership, horizontality (relationships with the community). The purpose of educational leadership is to develop every school and the whole educational system. It is assumed that systemic leadership is the improvement of schools and of the educational system by attracting, fostering and educating leaders in all the levels: in a class, at school, on the municipal level, and on the national level.

Systemic Leadership concept in Time for Leaders project context is supported by a concept of Leadership for Learning. Pupil learning is the pivotal point for leaders in education, followed by all other forms of learning (of teachers, managers, consultants, parents, etc.) aimed at providing a stronger back- ground for pupil learning (Knapp et al., 2006, Blandford, 2009).How leaders behave and operate at national or municipal levels or school level needs to focus on how they can contribute to better learning.

Practical implications for further research. When forming research sample, the same municipalities and schools have to be included in research as well as the additional schools that do not participate in the activities of “Time for Leaders” project. The results would allow comparing the change of leadership in the schools under this particular research where the purposive intervention was carried out. The situation of these schools could be under the comparison with the schools which do not take part in “Time for Leaders” project. The further research may involve the investigation of the development of pupils’ personal leadership at school with the emphasis on developing their independency, responsibility, ability to build and analyse the ambitious life goals, to foresee the way to achieve them, the obstacles and their solutions.

Keywords: systemic leadership, educational leadership, leadership for learning.

Paper type: Research paper.

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