Margaret wakeham ph d candidate memorial university of newfoundland
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Boundary-spanning leadership practices of central office leaders and principals in families of schools in a school system: Distributing leadership and creating innovation. Margaret Wakeham Ph D Candidate Memorial University of Newfoundland . Overview. Context Study Findings

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Margaret Wakeham Ph D Candidate Memorial University of Newfoundland

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Margaret wakeham ph d candidate memorial university of newfoundland

Boundary-spanning leadership practices of central office leaders and principals in families of schools in a school system: Distributing leadership and creating innovation

Margaret Wakeham

Ph D Candidate

Memorial University of Newfoundland

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Overview

Overview

  • Context

  • Study

  • Findings

  • Discussion

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Boundary spanning leadership

Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • Boundaries help define and delimit the roles of individuals and groups in organizations and communities (Adams, 1976; Akkerman & Bakker, 2011; Aldrick & Herker, 1977; Ancona& Caldwell, 1992; Ernst & Chrobot-Mason, 2011; Tushman & Scanlan, 1981).

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Boundary spanning leadership1

Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • Boundaries are points and edges of contact rather than barriers, where individuals and groups meet, navigate differences, manage tensions, share stories, exchange ideas and skills, and build relationships (Ernst & Chrobot-Mason, 2011).

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Boundary spanning leadership2

Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • Boundary spanners or boundary crossers have extended their roles across and through structural and social confines to influence the effectiveness of organizations and communities (Krochik & Tyler, 2009; Miller, 2008; Steele, 2010).

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Boundary spanning leadership3

Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • For decades, research in business and the social sciences has examined boundary spanners in organizations as

    • disseminators of information and influence

    • bargaining agents

    • managers of activities across groups

      (Adams, 1976; Aldrick & Herker, 1977; Tushman & Scanlan, 1981; Ancona & Caldwell, 1992).

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Boundary spanning leadership4

Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • Recent research has highlighted the role of boundary spanners as

    • agents of cohesion,

    • respecters of diversity,

    • builders of organizational capacity,

    • forgers of relationships,

    • sense makers

    • leaders of change

      (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011; Ernst & Chrobot-Mason, 2011; Ernst & Yip, 2009; Marrone, 2010; Palus, Chrobot-Mason, & Cullen, 2014; Williams, 2011).

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Boundary spanning leadership5

Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • As school systems engage more regularly in interactions within and across settings, roles and functions, leaders must achieve a deeper appreciation of how boundaries affect school improvement, organizational professionalism, and shared leadership (Brundrett, 2010; Miller, 2008; Robertson, 2009).

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Boundary spanning leadership6

Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • Leadership at the boundaries of groups, settings and identities emerges as an important area of study for public education (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011; Millward & Timperley, 2010).

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Boundary spanning leadership7

Boundary Spanning Leadership

  • More needs to be known about the boundary spanning leaders in school systems and how they engage with individuals, groups, networks and communities to realize change (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011; Ernst & Chrobot-Mason, 2011; Marrone, 2010; Millward & Timperley, 2010; Steele, 2010; Williams, 2011).

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Research question

Research Question

  • What are the boundary spanning practices of school district leaders and school principals in families of schools in a school system?

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


The study

The Study

  • This paper explores how central office formal leaders and school principals in two families of elementary schools in a large urban school district in Atlantic Canada engage in boundary spanning leadership practices.

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Methods

Methods

  • Multi-case study

  • Purposeful sampling

  • Semi-structured interviews

  • 5 Central office leaders

    • 2 executive leaders

    • 3 senior education officers

  • 8 Principals

    • 4 from the Light family

    • 4 from the Beam family

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Findings

Findings

  • Boundary spanning interactions

    • Central Office with

      • Each other

      • Principals

      • Teachers

      • Others

    • Principals with

      • Teachers

      • Central office or other principals

      • Others

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Findings1

Findings

  • Boundaries

    • Hierarchical

    • Organizational

    • Geographical

    • Professional

    • Personal

    • Ideological

    • Cultural

    • Political

    • Socio-economic

    • Other

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Findings2

Findings

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Administering

Administering

Central Office Leaders

  • Scheduled meetings and being prepared for unscheduled meetings consumed a large portion of their work. One executive said “he lived by the calendar.”

  • Expected the unexpected

  • Organized teleconferences, online forums, and used conferencing platforms that functioned to support meetings across locations to increase efficiency and reduce costs

  • Attended school functions

  • Implemented provincially mandated directives and organized in-service sessions

  • Buffered interruptions

  • Monitored schools

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Administering1

Administering

Principals

  • Short and long term plans

  • Plans interrupted

  • Organizing

  • Monitoring

  • Using technology

  • Resourcing

    One principal compared the nature of her job to a “lighthouse” because she had to “turn rapidly and cast[the]light on so many different areas”, respond to countless and persistent requests from all levels, in what she called “rapid fire change ups.”

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Making meaning

Making Meaning

Central office leaders

  • Gathered data, conducted research

  • Talked to constituents to craft policies

  • Helped solve problems

  • Developed and exchanged skills, knowledge and practices

  • Helped connect schools with other schools

  • Surfaced common themes, strengths and needs within families of schools

  • Articulated district strategic plans

    • One of the executives referred to the district strategic plan as a “living document,” and remarked, “We’re constantly referring back to that when we meet and engage with principals.”

  • Participated in school development plans

  • Leadership development programs

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Making meaning1

Making Meaning

Principals

  • Principals believed that the strategic plan of the district, the school development plan, and the professional growth plans of teachers provided a context for making meaning.

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Creating conditions

Creating Conditions

Central office leaders:

  • establishing trust,

  • providing safety,

  • supporting diversity,

  • fostering commitment,

  • nurturing relationships,

  • building identities,

  • forging connections,

  • sharing experiences,

  • developing a shared culture,

  • assuring a feeling of belonging.

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Creating conditions1

Creating Conditions

Central Office Leaders

  • “I like the personal interaction, face to face.”

  • “pretty much an open door here.”

  • Preferred the “human” contact where “I write less and talk more.”

  • Internal and external reviews: “you get to know the schools intimately. You get to know the personnel”, “you get to know where they want to go. You know what the issues are. You know what the challenges are” and he called it “one of the most gratifying parts of what I do.”

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Creating conditions2

Creating Conditions

Principals

  • Provide “opportunities for people to work together,” as a way to “build trust” and “relationships” and to “soften the boundaries,” until they became “like friends” and were “more willing to share,” and the result was “greater opportunity for collaboration.”

  • Work as teams because teamwork empowers and makes “everyone better” and show appreciation for staff, thank them sincerely and make them feel “valued as individuals too, as part of a team.” And actions have to be “sincere” and not “a façade.”

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Creating conditions3

Creating Conditions

Principals

  • Be ready to take a leadership role and ask other schools with common interests to meet and address issues together; to offer your school as a site for meetings, and encourage other schools to do the same

  • Ensure “openness and respect” and the “ability to have conflict” and disagreements without damaging “professional relationships” so that a “diversity of ideas and philosophies” are aired and explored

  • People have to feel “safe” to bring “their concerns forward,” and know that their views will be heard and not “belittled.”

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Transforming

Transforming

Central Office Leaders

  • The district had encountered problems with its student assessment and evaluation policy resulting in considerable angst among teachers, their professional association and the broader public.

    • They involved “stakeholders, teachers, program specialists, some of our senior staff” to work on a committee over a two year period to review, modify if necessary and implement the revised policy.

    • The goal was to invite “people to embrace elements of the change, but also to listen and to, not just to the resisters of the change but to legitimate concerns, with where this policy was going.”

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Transforming1

Transforming

Central Office Leaders

One key lesson was:

“if you are going to embark on major change, a significant amount of consultation has to happen up front,” and “you have to be clear about your vision” and agree on “what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable,” and appreciate that “certain aspects of a change agenda can be flexible without subverting the main thrust of the agenda.”

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Transforming2

Transforming

Beam Family Principals

  • University met with the family of schools

  • One school participated in a school to university partnership to improve teaching and learning in her school.

    • School, principals and teachers wrote proposal

    • Teachers used project towards their graduate degrees

    • Added resources to school

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Transforming3

Transforming

Light Family Principals

  • 21st century learning family-wide PD

  • Conceptualized by principals

  • Organized and delivered by teachers

    • Leadership

    • Networking

    • Enduring connections

      The project harnessed leadership because “you had leaders at every grade level” and everyone learned “a lot of new things.” The principals felt that this PD project was “paving the way for the future in our schools, the way we want to be doing PD,” and bring about systemic change.

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Discussion

Discussion

Central Office Leaders:

  • Interact most frequently with other central office leaders at their site

  • Senior Education Officers had frequent contact with schools.

    Principals:

  • Interact most frequently with teachers at their schools

  • Some interact with principals in their families, while others do not.

    Location appears to be a powerful boundary.

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Discussion1

Discussion

  • In addition to structural and geographical constraints, boundaries such as personal background, political beliefs, professional status, education, age, gender, culture, affiliations, ideologies and values emerged as important (; Ernst & Chrobot-Mason, 2011; Ernst & Yip, 2009).

  • Knowledge of one another

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Discussion2

Discussion

  • Administering

    • Families of schools

    • Liaison - conduits

  • Making Meaning

    • Strategic Plans

    • Curriculum Implementation

    • School Development

    • Professional Development

  • Creating Conditions

    • Pervasive

  • Transforming

    • District

    • Family

    • School

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • Central Office Leaders and Principals engage in boundary spanning leadership

  • Technology is helping link leaders across sites depending on the tasks but face to face interactions still needed to create conditions to generate trust, safety, commitment and relationships

  • Getting to know one another is important

  • Family of school arrangement may or may not improve contact between member schools – may serve best for administration and communication purpose.

  • Leaders working together can transform systems

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


Margaret wakeham ph d candidate memorial university of newfoundland

  • Margaret Wakeham

  • [email protected]

M. Wakeham CCEAM 2014


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