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Learning from intelligent failure: an organizational resource for school improvement

Pascale Benoliel (School of Education, Bar‐Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel)
Izhak Berkovich (Open University of Israel, Raanana, Israel)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 18 December 2020

Issue publication date: 19 July 2021

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222

Abstract

Purpose

Schools are complex and imperfect organizations; thus, it is not possible for school leaders to completely avoid failures. The capacity to learn from failure is essential to the effectiveness of teachers as individuals and for teams and schools. However, it is hardly practiced in most schools. The present theoretical article seeks to offer an integrative conceptual framework in which intelligent failure is conceptualized as an organizational learning process. The purpose is twofold: first, to address the question of why school faculty fails to learn from failure; second, to show how learning from intelligent failure in the school context can be framed as a resource for school improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

The present theoretical article seeks to offer an integrative conceptual framework in which intelligent failure is conceptualized as an organizational learning process.

Findings

The present study draws upon the social capital theory as an overarching framework to develop a conceptual model that incorporates the learning settings and a leadership tolerant of “intelligent failure” that might enable us to identify the root causes of failure and the kinds of lessons that can be drawn from failure analysis. In the proposed conceptual model, school organizational features combine with a leadership tolerant of intelligent failures to enhance opportunities to analyze, manage and learn from intelligent failures in school settings.

Originality/value

An important lacuna in educational scholarship is that although detecting and correcting school failures is normal, investigating the root causes of these failures or pinpointing the behaviors necessary to avoid their reoccurrence is often neglected in both theory and practice. By integrating research from both non-educational and educational literature, this study may provide a new perspective for school management, since it emphasizes the reframing of intelligent failure as an organizational asset for school improvement. The present study broadens the literature on educational management and organizational learning and provides a new approach for school failures and failure management.

Keywords

Citation

Benoliel, P. and Berkovich, I. (2021), "Learning from intelligent failure: an organizational resource for school improvement", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 59 No. 4, pp. 402-421. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-07-2020-0155

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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