Final Exam - Organization
July 3, 2007
Schools and schools districts have been charged to change their current practices to
ensure that earning occurs for all students, regardless of pre-existing factors (i.e. race,
economic status, learning ability). This responsibility requires that school administrators
adopt theory, practice, and studies to help shape their leadership and transform their schools.
To this end, certain theories and practices are more influential than others when I consider
my approach to leadership.
Certainly, the most influential learning that has direct application to the
administrating of schools and districts has come from the various theorists noted in Bolman
and Deal’s text. The ability to view all situations, problems, and opportunities through the
structural, human resources, symbolic, and political frames has proved immeasurably
Human Resources Frame theorists and researches such as Argyris and his Model 1
and Model 2 theories enables administrators to maneuver through landscapes they are
working in as they attempt to influence change. Structural frame theorists such as Helgesen
enable administrators to move away from Weber’s traditional structure to a more
collaborative and intertwined model of a system’s structure. Directly applying this
Helgesen’s theory alone will allow administration to break down the “top down” cries from
those are unwilling to work in a traditional structure. From his web structure, a true
collaborative and “intranet” approach can propel a staff or disctrict to implement great
The symbolic frame is best represented by Hofstede’s theory that it is of critical
importance for a leader to identify the culture inherent to an organization or population. A
leader must be aware of, and celebrate, the values, context, and cultural makeup of his/her
constituency before attempting to implement change or begin the change process.
Administrators have power. Yet, often that power is used for ill gains or inefficiently.
French and Raven’s Bases of Social Power (Reward, Coercive, Legitimate, Referent, and
Expert) have influenced my political “lens”. French and Raven note that all leaders must
establish each of these powers in order to be effective in a system.
Though Bolman and Deal may have provided the groundwork for viewing a system,
culture, problem, or dilemma, Fullan certainly has been most influential in assisting
administration in changing these systems and cultures, and solving problems and dilemmas.
Fullan tells us that modern leadership requires that we be able to work through a multitude of
problems that are all, in reality, interconnected (Homer and Dixon). Therefore, it is
necessary that we study and understand Fullan’s five components of leadership through
change. Fullan provides a framework for change through the acquisition and application of
Moral Purpose, Understanding Change, Relationship Building, Knowledge and Creation
Sharing, and Coherence Making.
According Sober & Wilson (as stated by Fullan), “Effective leaders are driven by
egoistic and altruistic motivations.” In essence, any action, decision, or objective of an
administrator must be rooted in a moral and ethical foundation. Without a moral purpose or
cause, administrations lend themselves to pursuing changes and objectives that will, in the
end, be ineffective thus causing turmoil and problems. Therefore, all decisions and actions
regarding change must first be grounded in morality; what is right for students, teachers, and
Once a moral purpose has been understood and established, leaders must then
understand the change process they wish to implement. Change can be brought about by use
of power. Goleman's six leadership styles (Coercive, Authoritative, Democratic, Pacesetting,
and Coaching) have profoundly influenced my views on leadership in a time of change. As
an administrator, I must first decide which of Goleman’s styles suits me best when the
change process is expected to occur in a building or district. Far too many goals and changes
are implemented in schools without an understanding or appreciation for Goleman’s defined
styles of power. Goleman notes that it is not only necessary to understand these powers, but
also how to utilize them. Certainly, all six of these styles can be utilized at various times to
achieve various objectives through the change process. What is most crucial to recall during
the change process is Fullan’s “implementation dip”. Many administrators have also failed
to recognize that change is a process and not a one-time measure.
Fullan also reminds leaders that the change process is rooted in the relationships we
build and cultivate as leaders. For without them, change is not possible and if ti occurs at all,
will likely be for the worse.
Heifetz says that, “leadership is not mobilizing others to solve problems, but to help
them successfully confront problems they have not yet successfully addressed.” It is
imperative then that as school leaders, we learn and teach the frames through which to view
our schools, our problems, and our decisions. It is also, therefore, crucial that we take that
next step and apply what we understand and teach to influence change. Perhaps then we
would not find ourselves in our current crises.