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Article
Publication date: 18 June 2019

Peter Sleegers

In the author’s reflection on the special issue, the author will start with a brief discussion of the different theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions of…

Abstract

Purpose

In the author’s reflection on the special issue, the author will start with a brief discussion of the different theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions of the articles. In addition, the author will argue that the challenge for research on school–non-governmental organization (NGO) interactions is to move beyond the use of a myriad of conceptual models to a more coherent framework to better understand what system and nonsystem actors do, how they do it and how the broader institutional system enables or constrains collective action. The author concludes with some suggestions for future research. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the author reflects on the design and findings of articles that focus on the involvement of non-governmental or third sector organizations in education.

Findings

By taking up these different themes, the articles reported in this special issue help the author to get a better picture of the growing plurality and power of third sector organizations and their interactions with schools. The work also raises questions about the legitimacy of NGOs in education, the weakening of democratic control over public schooling and the possible role of private interests and the concentration of power in facilitating equal opportunities for all students and promoting educational excellence. Given their methodological designs, the studies make an important contribution to our understanding of what nonsystem actors do and how they interact with schools.

Research limitations/implications

By using a neoinstitutional framework, the research on school–NGO interactions will be informed by a coherent conceptual framework that conceives school systems as open systems and focuses on the intersection of instruction and organization, while simultaneously treating the system as the relevant unit of analysis (see Cohen et al., 2018). The works of Glazer et al. and Peurach et al. reported in this special issue are good examples of the kind of research that is needed. Following this work, future studies into the involvement of third sector organizations in education using a neoinstitutinal lens should give careful attention to historical analysis and also need to examine changes over a longer period of time as new institutionalized patterns do not emerge quickly and “interact with the hand of history in shaping instruction” (Peurach et al., p. 25).

Practical implications

The articles in this special issue may prompt more researchers to inquire school–NGO interactions and push future research efforts to understand the complex picture of increasing institutional diversity from a more neoinstitutional perspective. Findings from these cross-national studies, with careful attention to historical analysis of the intersection between organization and instruction, may help the author to develop a theory of design (Rowan and Miskel, 1999) that can provide practitioners with tools to redesign and change the regulative, normative and cognitive mechanisms that constrain and enable collective action.

Originality/value

Different studies have examined how policy decisions emerge and are implemented, and how this affects the “technical core” of schools (Cohen and Hill, 2001; Hiebert et al., 2005). However, most of these studies have predominantly focused on the vertical interactions between formal system actors at the state, district and school levels to analyze how policy decisions are shaped as they move through the multilayered system. Little attention has been paid to the horizontal exchange relations between the public policy system and NGOs and how these connections influence management and instruction (Coburn, 2005; Rowan, 2006). Given the increasing institutional diversity, conflicting trends and dilemmas school systems are faced with, scholars have emphasized the need to develop an understanding of the role the educational infrastructure can play in supporting improvement (Cohen and Moffitt, 2010; Cohen et al., 2018).

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 57 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Edith H. Hooge, Nienke M. Moolenaar, Karin C.J. van Look, Selma K. Janssen and Peter J.C. Sleegers

Although it is assumed that school district governance by districts leaders can impact schools’ capacity to improvement and educational quality, there is little systematic…

Abstract

Purpose

Although it is assumed that school district governance by districts leaders can impact schools’ capacity to improvement and educational quality, there is little systematic evidence to support this claim. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how governance goals and interventions affect school districts’ social capital.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical enquiry used quantitative data on district leaders enacting governance as perceived by their school principals. These data were collected among 399 school principals of 23 Dutch school districts in elementary education, using a survey. Social network data on social capital within school districts were collected using a social network survey among educational administrators (i.e. district leaders, central office administrators and school principals). Additionally, examples of the relation between school district social capital and governance at six school districts were described.

Findings

Results suggest that district leaders can promote the organizational social capital of their school districts through focusing on educational goals. In addition, the findings show that they can reinforce their impact by using interventions varying in coercion level, of which offering support to school principals appears to be “a golden button” to make organizational social capital thrive.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations to the study are the generalizability of the findings (they can be questioned because “convenience sampling” was used) and warrant a longitudinal design to examine how organization social capital develops over time.

Originality/value

The study is unique as it addresses the impact district leaders may have on their districts’ social capital by focusing on social network approach in the study of school district governance.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 57 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1999

Femke Geijsel, Peter Sleegers and Rudolf van den Berg

Examines the nature of transformational leadership and its relation to teachers’ changed practices within the context of Dutch large‐scale innovation. Presents two…

Abstract

Examines the nature of transformational leadership and its relation to teachers’ changed practices within the context of Dutch large‐scale innovation. Presents two qualitative studies and a survey. The qualitative studies produced three dimensions of transformational leadership: vision, individual consideration, and intellectual stimulation. Within the framework of the survey, these dimensions were further operationalized and exploratively related to teachers’ concerns, teachers’ learning activities, and teachers’ changed practices. The results indicate the significance of the dimensions of transformational leadership in relation to changed teacher practices. The results also suggest the significance of intervening constructs for future research into the impact of leadership on changed teacher practices.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 37 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 July 2014

Peter J.C. Sleegers, Eric E.J. Thoonen, Frans J. Oort and Thea T.D. Peetsma

Elementary schools have been confronted with large-scale educational reforms as strategies to improve the educational quality. While building school-wide capacity for…

Abstract

Purpose

Elementary schools have been confronted with large-scale educational reforms as strategies to improve the educational quality. While building school-wide capacity for improvement is considered critical for changing teachers’ classroom practices, there is still little empirical evidence for link between enhanced school capacity for improvement and instructional change. In this study, the authors examined the impact of school improvement capacity on changes in teachers’ classroom practices over a period of time. Leadership practices, school organizational conditions, teacher motivation and teacher learning were used to measure school-wide capacity for improvement. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Mixed-model analysis of longitudinal data over a four years (2005-2008) period of time from 862 teachers of 32 Dutch elementary schools were used to test the impact of school improvement capacity on changing teachers’ instructional practices.

Findings

The results showed that organizational-level conditions and teacher-level conditions play an important, but different role in changing teachers’ classroom practices. Whereas teacher factors mainly affect changes in teachers’ classroom practices, organizational factors are of significant importance to enhance teacher motivation and teacher learning.

Research limitations/implications

More longitudinal research is needed to gain better insight into the opportunities and limits of building school-wide capacity to stimulate instructional change.

Practical implications

By encouraging teachers to question their own beliefs, facilitating opportunities for teachers to work together to solve problems, and through the promotion of shared decision making, school leaders can reinforce the personal and social identification of teachers with the organization. As a consequence, teachers will feel increasingly committed and are more willing to change their classroom practices. Additionally, school leaders can use the findings from this study and the related instrument as a tool for school self-evaluation.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to a deeper understanding of the nature of changes in conditions for school improvement and its influence on changes in teachers’ instructional practices over a period of time.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 52 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2003

Hartger Wassink, Peter Sleegers and Jeroen Imants

The complexity of the work of school leaders has intensified in recent years. The basic assumption underlying this article is that school leaders should develop a coherent…

Abstract

The complexity of the work of school leaders has intensified in recent years. The basic assumption underlying this article is that school leaders should develop a coherent vision of the school to effectively cope with the increased complexity of their work. In order to develop such a coherent vision, integration at a cognitive level is needed. In order to gain insight into both the complexity and integrity of the visions of school leaders, their tacit knowledge is studied using cause maps. More specifically, a method to elicit and interpret cause maps is explored and the analysis of the tacit knowledge, as expressed in the structure and content of their cause maps, indeed shows them to differ with regard to the level of cognitive integrity and balance within their cognitive repertoires.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Femke Geijsel, Peter Sleegers, Kenneth Leithwood and Doris Jantzi

This article examines the effects of transformational school leadership on the commitment of teachers to school reform, and the effort they are willing to devote to such…

Abstract

This article examines the effects of transformational school leadership on the commitment of teachers to school reform, and the effort they are willing to devote to such reform. It does so by building on the knowledge from both educational and non‐educational research into such effects. A model of such effects is tested using two approximately comparable sets of data collected from samples of Canadian and Dutch teachers. Structural equation modeling is applied to test the model within each data set. Results of the Canadian and Dutch studies are then compared. The findings show transformational leadership dimensions to affect both teachers’ commitment and extra effort. The effects of the dimension's vision building and intellectual stimulation appear to be significant in particular. Overall, the findings clearly indicate the importance of analyzing dimensions of transformational leadership for their separate effects on teacher commitment and extra effort within the context of educational reform.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 41 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Nienke M. Moolenaar and Peter J. C. Sleegers

While in everyday practice, school leaders are often involved in social relationships with a variety of stakeholders both within and outside their own schools, studies on…

Abstract

Purpose

While in everyday practice, school leaders are often involved in social relationships with a variety of stakeholders both within and outside their own schools, studies on school leaders’ networks often focus either on networks within or outside schools. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent to which principals occupy similar positions in their school’s network and the larger district network. In addition, the authors examined whether principals’ centrality in both networks can be attributed to demographic characteristics and transformational leadership (TL).

Design/methodology/approach

Using social network analysis, correlational and regression analysis, and an advanced social network technique, namely p2 modeling, the authors analyzed data collected among 708 educators in 46 Dutch elementary schools. The authors also offer a visualization of the district social network to explore principals’ relationships with other principals in the district.

Findings

Results suggest that principals who occupy a central position in their school’s advice network are also more likely to occupy a central position in their district’s collaborative leadership network. Moreover, TL was found to affect the extent to which principals are central in both networks.

Originality/value

The study is unique as it simultaneously explores principals’ social relationships in schools and the larger district. Moreover, the authors advance the knowledge of TL as a possible mechanism that may shape the pattern of these relationships, thereby connecting two streams of literature that were until now largely disconnected. Limitations to the study warrant further qualitative and longitudinal research on principals’ social relationships in schools, districts, and the larger community.

Details

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

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 May 2011

A. Ross Thomas

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 49 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Content available
Article
Publication date: 16 August 2011

A. Ross Thomas

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 49 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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