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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2021

Sharon D. Kruse and Jeff Walls

Seashore Louis has enjoyed a long and productive career, contributing many key understandings to the field; among them, foundational theorizing regarding professional…

Abstract

Purpose

Seashore Louis has enjoyed a long and productive career, contributing many key understandings to the field; among them, foundational theorizing regarding professional community, organizational learning and the role of principal leadership in organizational and student learning. In each, the role of organizational change and its bearing on school improvement has been a key focus of her research. Central to Seashore Louis' organizational change theorizing has been the contention that organizations are expected to produce outcomes (i.e. that they exist to do things), and in turn, those outcomes have consequences for the organization and its members. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the impact her work has had on the field of educational leadership research.

Design/methodology/approach

This article traces the development of Karen Seashore Louis' contribution to and work in organizational theory.

Findings

By focusing on Seashore Louis' contribution to our understanding of how professionals learn, both individually and together, and what they do with that information and knowledge, this article will synthesize Seashore Louis' contributions to understanding how change is established, enacted and experienced in schools, as well as how those understandings are informed by theorizing about the role of school culture, openness to new ideas and understandings, alternatives and multiple perspectives, and caring as it relates to leading schools.

Originality/value

The authors’ experience of learning from and with Karen Seashore Louis has deepened the authors’ own understandings of how schools work, how teachers and leaders learn, and the ways in which school organizations can thrive. Key to her influence is her ability to generate and use conceptual and theoretical lenses to explain why people act the ways they do, and how understanding those actions can help us all to improve. Her theorizing has provided the field clarity about what works, where it works and why it works while still problematizing our understandings and pushing for greater depth of understanding and analysis.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 September 2019

Rebecca A. Thessin and Karen Seashore Louis

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1539

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 57 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Karen Seashore Louis

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540

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2017

Karen Seashore Louis and Joseph Murphy

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether principals can have an impact on organizational learning (OL). The authors use a cultural perspective, based both in…

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3590

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether principals can have an impact on organizational learning (OL). The authors use a cultural perspective, based both in the emerging literature from positive psychology and the relatively well-developed research tradition in studying the nature and impacts of OL to address four questions: first, is principal’s cognitive trust in teachers’ professional capacities related to knowledge sharing/OL among teachers?; second, is principal’s trust in teachers’ professional capacities related to teachers’ reports of being in a caring school setting (relational trust)?; third, is principal caring related to knowledge sharing/OL among teachers?; and fourth, is principal trust particularly important in school contexts with low income students?

Design/methodology/approach

An existing database that includes principal and teacher surveys in 116 schools in the USA provides the basis for examining the four questions. Optimized scaling techniques were used to develop measures of principal trust in teachers professional capacities, teachers’ perception of principal caring, an indicator of academic support for students that includes a social justice of equity emphasis, and capacity for OL. The demographic characteristics of the student body and school size were used as possible moderating variables. The data were subject to both regression and path analysis.

Findings

Principal trust was directly related to teachers’ perceptions of principal caring, and indirectly related to OL. The measure of academic support for students had the strongest direct effect on OL. While the percentage of non-white students and school size had some relationship to OL, they do not change the overall results. The model, which supports the role that principals play in fostering both equity and OL is sustained when the authors examine student achievement.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the study stem largely from the nature of the sample and measures, which are confined to 116 schools in the USA, and a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey database. Because understanding the dynamics of a relationship-based/positive leadership perspective require detailed qualitative studies and longitudinal data, the results are presented as suggestive of issues that should be studied further.

Originality/value

Both trust and OL have been extensively studied both in education and other settings. However, few studies have simultaneously examined leadership, different types of trust and OL and none have done so in the context of positive psychology. The contribution of this analysis is thus empirical (extending the boundaries of what is known using concepts that are familiar) and theoretical (beginning the development of a theory of positive leadership that incorporates multiple factors associated with healthy and productive school environments).

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 55 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2021

Bodunrin O. Banwo, Muhammad Khalifa and Karen Seashore Louis

This article explores the connection between Culturally Responsive School Leadership (CRSL) and Positive School Leadership (PSL) and how both engage with a concept that…

Abstract

Purpose

This article explores the connection between Culturally Responsive School Leadership (CRSL) and Positive School Leadership (PSL) and how both engage with a concept that deeply connects both leadership expressions – trust.

Design/methodology/approach

A multi-year, single site case study method examined a district-level equity leader, and her struggles and successes with promoting equity and positive culture throughout a large suburban district in the US.

Findings

Trust, established through regular interactions, allowed the district's leadership equity team to build positive relationships with building leaders. Trust was not only a mitigating factor on the relationships themselves, but also regulated the extent to which equitable practices were discussed and implemented in the district. Trust allowed conflicts to surface and be addressed that led to individual and organizational change.

Research limitations/implications

The case highlights the importance of both CRSL and PSL principals, along with the idea of “soft power” in cultural change, to foster equity in schools. Established trust does not erase the difficulties of enacting CRSL/PSL, but allows the difficulties to be addressed. The authors found that dynamic, iterative, regular interactions over a long period reinforced trust allowed CRPSL to take root in the district.

Originality/value

The authors use a single subject case to argue that the core of empirical work moving forward should draw on an integration of culturally responsive leadership.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Karen Seashore Louis and Viviane M. Robinson

The purpose of this paper is to examine how US school leaders make sense of external mandates, and the way in which their understanding of state and district…

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3372

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how US school leaders make sense of external mandates, and the way in which their understanding of state and district accountability policies affects their work. It is posited that school leaders’ responses to external accountability are likely to reflect a complex interaction between their perception of the accountability policies, the state and district contexts in which those policies are situated and their own leadership beliefs and practices.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use both principal and teacher survey data to explore the question of how perceptions of external policy are associated with instructional leadership behaviors. Cases of seven principals are employed to flesh out the findings from the survey analysis.

Findings

It is concluded that external accountability policy may have a positive impact on instructional leadership – where they see those policies as aligned with their own values and preferences, and where they see their district leaders as supportive of school‐driven accountability initiatives. In these cases, school leaders internalize the external accountability policies and shape them to the particular needs that they see as priorities in their own school. Where one or the other of these factors is weak or missing, on the other hand, leaders demonstrate more negative attitudes to external accountability and weaker instructional leadership.

Originality/value

This analysis draws on a unique, large‐scale data base and uses a mixed methods approach to answer the question.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 50 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 56 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 28 June 2013

Karen Seashore Louis

The purpose of this paper is to present the author's commentary on the special issue of Journal of Educational Administration entitled “Systemwide reform: examining…

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712

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the author's commentary on the special issue of Journal of Educational Administration entitled “Systemwide reform: examining districts under pressure”.

Design/methodology/approach

The author gives her personal opinions, draws upon her recent experiences in the national study of US district leadership for school improvement, recent engagement with one specific US district's improvement efforts and work with colleagues in Europe on how a nation's culture mediates global policy trends.

Findings

One striking feature is the degree to which the language of “New Public Management” (is suffused within all of the papers).

Originality/value

The author notes that each paper peels a layer of the opaque onion of systemic school reform initiatives in the USA and was struck by the papers’ insight into current policy and administrative dilemmas facing districts in the USA – and also by their uniquely American perspective.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 51 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Moosung Lee, Allan Walker and Yuk Ling Chui

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of different dimensions of instructional leadership on student learning in Hong Kong secondary schools, whose broader…

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3126

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of different dimensions of instructional leadership on student learning in Hong Kong secondary schools, whose broader institutional contexts are critically characterized by high accountability policy environments.

Design/methodology/approach

This study utilizes standardized test scores collected from (n=2,037) students in 42 secondary schools and data collected from key staff's perceptions of leadership practices, to investigate two dimensions of instructional leadership, which are conceptually interdependent but distinctive – i.e. instructional management and direct supervision of instruction. A cross‐level interaction analysis of hierarchical linear modeling was employed to investigate the effects of the two dimensions of instructional leadership on student learning.

Findings

Leadership practices focused on instructional management were found to enhance student learning by boosting the positive effect of students’ attachment to their school on academic achievement. In contrast, leadership practices related to direct supervision of instruction were found to undermine student learning by weakening the positive effect of student perceptions of school attachment on academic performance when other school‐ and student‐level characteristics are held constant.

Originality/value

The paper reveals the contrasting effects of instructional leadership as a multi‐dimensional construct which is central in the current education reform agenda, rooted in accountability‐oriented policy of Hong Kong. It draws a number of implications for principal instructional leadership in Hong Kong Schools as they deal with demands for external accountability.

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Heinrich Mintrop

The purpose of this paper is to explore the tensions between external accountability obligations, educator's professional values, and student needs. Strategic, cognitive…

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1614

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the tensions between external accountability obligations, educator's professional values, and student needs. Strategic, cognitive, and moral dimensions of this tension are captured with the central category of integrity.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a mixed methods study that compares five exceptionally high performing middle schools with four exceptionally low performing middle schools in the state of California (USA), controlling for demographics, school context factors, and below average performance range.

Findings

It is found that schools under similar circumstances differ on the degree of integrity. Schools with high integrity have a good balance between values and reality, are more cohesive and more open to dissent. In each case, integrity was associated with an expansion of agency that combined moral earnestness with prudent strategizing and actively constructing interpretive frames that maintained a school's sense of self‐worth. Integrity develops or survives with a good dose of educational leaders’ personal strength, but also depends on leaders’ insistence to fully exhaust the moral horizon of an institution which obligates educators to balance equity, system efficiency, child‐centeredness and professionalism with prudence.

Research limitations/implications

This is a case study of nine schools in one state. Explanatory relationships can be explored, but not generalized.

Practical implications

The research has implications for leadership. It demonstrates the power of integrity as a key virtue of leadership under accountability pressures. It shows the different ways integrity can be forged in schools and the different ways it can be missed with consequences for school life.

Social implications

The paper stresses the point that it is quite conceivable that ideological zeal, Machiavellian strategizing, or eager system conformism may produce more forceful agency than integrity. But as everyday responses they are not as realistic, ethical or productive as the striving for integrity.

Originality/value

The practitioner literature often points to integrity as a desirable quality when dealing with tensions of the sort addressed in this paper, but little systematic theoretical thinking and empirical exploration of this concept exists. The paper makes an advance in both areas.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 50 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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