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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2023

Sarah L. Woulfin and Natalie Spitzer

This paper applies concepts from organizational theory as well as physics to elucidate the role of time in the US education system’s efforts to recuperate from the pandemic. This…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper applies concepts from organizational theory as well as physics to elucidate the role of time in the US education system’s efforts to recuperate from the pandemic. This paper contributes to an important body of work focusing on implementation of reform efforts in education that use time in innovative ways.

Design/methodology/approach

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted time in educational organizations and, thus, for educators and students. Time has been a vital tool for educational reform, yet many applications of organizational theory and literature on educational change neglect to underscore its importance. The authors explore resources, guidelines and practices related to time employed to recuperate from pandemic-related disruptions to schooling.

Findings

The authors discuss three cases in which time has been utilized to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic: (1) accelerated learning; (2) extended time; and (3) redeveloped professional learning. For each case, the authors demonstrate how time has been conceptualized and how leaders are stretching the space-time of schooling to provide resources and learning opportunities to students and educators.

Practical implications

This article describes how district and school leaders can draw on their agency to reshape time-use in educational organizations.

Originality/value

This article advances an innovative framework demonstrating the importance of time in educational change. The authors also portray innovative models that provide time for students to receive an array of responsive, equity-centered, academic and SEL opportunities and for educators to collaborate, continuing their own development amid the ever-shifting Covid-context.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 61 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 December 2017

Sarah L. Woulfin and Britney Jones

The purpose of this paper is to draw on the concepts of social capital in order to reveal the organizational conditions, including structural and relational factors, associated…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to draw on the concepts of social capital in order to reveal the organizational conditions, including structural and relational factors, associated with reform-oriented instructional coaching (ROIC) in an urban school district.

Design/methodology/approach

An interpretivist approach was used to analyze organizational conditions enabling ROIC. Interview, observation and document data collected focused on coaching, leadership, and school-level organizational conditions. Qualitative data analyses, including coding and memoing, were used to summarize key information and quotes across data sources; this was followed by qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to identify combinations of factors associated with reform-oriented coaching.

Findings

The findings identified particular structures, systems, and activities enabling ROIC at the school level, with social capital playing a role in facilitating or impeding implementation of such work. That is, relationships, routines, norms, and webs of interaction enabled coaching. Principals’ prioritization of coaching as an improvement lever and their persuasive framing of coaching, coupled with principal-coach collaboration, fostered a positive culture for ROIC.

Practical implications

This paper points to the vital role of collaboration amongst administrators, coaches, and teachers. Principals play a significant role in defining coaching, setting up structures, and creating conditions supportive of the implementation of ROIC. By managing structures and routines, principals can encourage coaching aligned with reform efforts to yield positive outcomes.

Originality/value

This research advances the field’s understanding of organizational factors influencing the enactment of ROIC. It uses QCA to reveal the value of leadership in shaping structural and relational conditions in a school site.

Details

Journal of Professional Capital and Community, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-9548

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 January 2019

Rachel Roegman and Sarah Woulfin

The purpose of this paper is to reconceptualize the theory-practice gap in educational leadership, not as a deficit, but as a necessity for legitimacy within institutional…

1472

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reconceptualize the theory-practice gap in educational leadership, not as a deficit, but as a necessity for legitimacy within institutional contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on institutional theory to reframe the theory-practice gap, which is often seen as a deficit of leaders or preparation programs.

Findings

Three vignettes illustrate how aspiring and current educational leaders engage with theory and practice within specific contexts and in relation to specific aspects of leadership. Importantly, the vignettes show that when school leaders decouple theory from practice, they may be doing so to function as legitimate providers of K-12 educational leadership.

Research limitations/implications

The theory-practice gap, while often perceived as something negative, can have certain benefits within particular contexts. Scholars interested in the interconnections of theory and practice would benefit from considering why and how school leaders engage theory and practice.

Practical implications

Implications for leadership preparation programs highlight developing more complex views of the challenges that leaders face in tightly coupling theory and practice. To support future and current leaders, leadership preparation programs need to ensure that their students understand their institutional contexts and the reasons that leaders may decouple theory from action in various ways.

Originality/value

Instead of viewing the theory/practice gap as a deficit, this paper argues for a new way to consider why school leaders and leadership candidates may engage with theory and practice in different ways.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 57 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 January 2024

Patricia Virella and Sarah Woulfin

In this study, we illuminate how techniques can be incorporated into interview protocols when conducting research with educational leaders who are being asked to discuss their…

Abstract

Purpose

In this study, we illuminate how techniques can be incorporated into interview protocols when conducting research with educational leaders who are being asked to discuss their experiences in crises.

Design/methodology/approach

We interviewed seven researchers about their role as a researcher in collecting data on a crisis event from participants. Our analysis concentrated on several key components of the interview.

Findings

In presenting our findings on how scholars can adopt a caring and just approach to interview studies with leaders regarding crises, we portray how this approach can be melded into research design, interview protocol and interview techniques.

Originality/value

We illuminate that specific interview techniques are required when interviewing participants who have undergone and survived crises in their work, and we recommend the use of this protocol especially when an interview requires researchers to “handle with care.”

Details

Qualitative Research Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1443-9883

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Jennie M. Weiner and Sarah L. Woulfin

The purpose of this paper is to gain insights into how a group of novice principals, all in schools that deployed principles of autonomy as mechanisms for improvement…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain insights into how a group of novice principals, all in schools that deployed principles of autonomy as mechanisms for improvement, conceptualized what the authors label “controlled autonomy” – a condition in which school leaders are expected to both make site-based decisions and be accountable to district oversight. The study aims to support more effective interactions between school and district leaders around controlled autonomy to increase performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Using schema as a framework to guide the inquiry, this paper uses qualitative methods and interviewing in particular to explore the questions of interest. Seven novice principals were each interviewed three times over the year each interview lasting approximately one hour (n=21). Data were analyzed thematically using both inductive and deductive coding techniques.

Findings

Findings show that principals tended to group potential district supports into four categories: operations, instruction, advocacy, and vision and their perceptions regarding the balance between their and the district’s control over activities in each category was dynamic, varied and dependent on views relating to issues as broad as values alignment to perceptions of bureaucratic efficiency.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the small sample size and methodological approach, it may be inappropriate to generalize the findings across all controlled autonomy contexts. Further research in additional settings is encouraged to support the proposed findings.

Practical implications

This paper has a number of implications for districts and school leaders. Among these is the need for districts to better articulate the parameters of controlled autonomy and for school leaders to receive more and more effective training and support to effectively utilize autonomy as a mechanism for reform.

Originality/value

This work fills a gap in the research regarding on how principals conceptualize controlled autonomy or, more specifically, how they view what school autonomy should look like relative to district control and is this paper’s focus. It also provides insights into practice and potential means to enhance a growing, but so far unevenly implemented and under performing reform initiative (i.e. controlled autonomy).

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 55 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 September 2023

Charles D.T. Macaulay and Sarah Woulfin

The purpose of this study is to explore the plurality of logics composing an organizational field and how that plurality affects a sport governing body's (SGB) sense of self. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the plurality of logics composing an organizational field and how that plurality affects a sport governing body's (SGB) sense of self. The authors sought to determine what logics exist in a specific field and how they interact according to Kraatz and Block's (2017) types of organizational responses. Finally, the authors explore how an organization's responses affect organizational outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyzed 476 unique organizational web pages and documents and 293 news media articles from four news outlets. The authors conduct a content analysis informed by Gioia et al.’s (2013) method to explore the website data to understand the logics of the field. The authors analyze the media articles for media accounts of events and determine how logics inform an SGB's actions (Cocchairella and Edwards, 2020).

Findings

The authors find institutional plurality leads to a fractured organizational sense of self, resulting in poor outcomes. The authors' findings suggest Kraatz and Block's (2017) as well as other previously theorized strategies do not lead to an organization reconciling competing logics. Rather, the strategies employed led to outcomes harming the organization's legitimacy and financial well-being.

Originality/value

There are several calls within the broader management field and the sport management field to address institutional plurality (Kraatz and Block, 2017; Robertson et al., 2022). Unlike previous research studies, this study finds detrimental effects of plurality on an organization. The authors discuss the strength of the strategies employed and why the strategies failed.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 13 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 61 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Article
Publication date: 5 May 2015

Jessica G. Rigby

The purpose of this paper is to look across six first-year principals to investigate their engagement with and sensemaking of specific messages of instructional leadership around…

1601

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look across six first-year principals to investigate their engagement with and sensemaking of specific messages of instructional leadership around teacher evaluation.

Design/methodology/approach

This research project, a cross-case study, was carried out using in-depth qualitative observations and interviews of six first-year principals over one school year. Sensemaking theory was used to analyze both how and the mechanisms through which principals understood their roles as teacher evaluators.

Findings

The results demonstrate that first, principals received a variety of messages about how to conduct teacher evaluations, and second, that connections to specific individuals influenced their associations to specific messages they received about instructional leadership and how they enacted teacher evaluation practices on their campuses.

Research limitations/implications

This is an in-depth qualitative analysis, and therefore is not generalizable to all first-year principals, school districts, or principal preparation programs. However, it adds to the field’s understanding of the meso level of policy implementation, highlighting the process of individuals’ sensemaking and the importance of their informal connections in the associations they make to messages about instructional leadership.

Practical implications

This research adds to the field of principal preparation and induction as it highlights what is important for first-year principals as they build their professional identities. Further, it highlights the variability in principals’ understanding and enactment of teacher evaluation policies, an important feature as this practice is coming to the fore both in current practice and research.

Originality/value

This study adds to an understanding of institutional theory by looking at the interaction between the organizational levels, and further explicates individual actors’ agency within a socio-organizational context. The findings also add to a dearth of empirical studies on the routine of teacher evaluation from the principal perspective.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 February 2022

Corrie Stone-Johnson and Jennie Weiner

In response to the proliferation of neoliberal reforms and a “new professionalism” (Evetts, 2009, 2011), researchers argue that school leaders, like teachers, have experienced a…

Abstract

Purpose

In response to the proliferation of neoliberal reforms and a “new professionalism” (Evetts, 2009, 2011), researchers argue that school leaders, like teachers, have experienced a form of “de-professionalization” (Keddie, 2017) and that the principalship may even be an “emergent profession” (Stone-Johnson and Weiner, 2020). Such framing assumes school leaders are indeed part of a profession. And yet, while research abounds regarding teaching as a profession (Ingersoll and Collins, 2018; Sachs, 2016; Torres and Weiner, 2018), no parallel literature exists about school leaders. Such information is critical to ensure educators receive the appropriate professional development and support (Sachs, 2016) and move the field forward and thus motivated the authors to ask how principals view their work and whether it can be seen as part of a discrete profession.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors utilized an interpretative phenomenological approach (IPA) drawing on qualitative interviews with sixteen elementary school principals in two US states.

Findings

The authors find administration, and specifically the principalship, exists adjacent to, but distinct from, teaching. Additionally, the authors find school leadership is an “emergent” profession, with aspects of the work that indicate leadership is a profession but others that do not.

Originality/value

This study extends early work (Stone-Johnson and Weiner, 2020) on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on principals' professionalism to shed light on the larger and more long-standing features of principals' work that support and hinder its development as a profession and the implications of such designation on attracting and retaining school leaders, as well as underscoring that because school leadership and teaching can be considered discrete professions, teachers need not leave their classroom to be true professionals.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 60 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 February 2023

Maxwell M. Yurkofsky and Donald J. Peurach

This paper proposes a new conception of school systems arising out of the collision of three forces: (1) a longstanding press to rationalize the technical work of schools in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper proposes a new conception of school systems arising out of the collision of three forces: (1) a longstanding press to rationalize the technical work of schools in the service of educational excellence; (2) a growing democratic press to equitably engage community members in the process of defining educational excellence; which together are (3) heightening legacy uncertainties that pervade educational organizations. It then draws on paradox theory to explore how leaders might navigate the growing uncertainties that are central to the work of organizing for excellence and equity.

Design/methodology/approach

Integrating scholarship related to organizational institutionalism, paradox theory, learning sciences, social justice leadership and educational system building, this paper examines the changing organization of schools, the growing uncertainty facing educators and the implications for leaders and preparation programs.

Findings

This paper introduces two perspectives on how to navigate the growing uncertainty facing educators and educational leaders: one that centers on mitigating uncertainty, the other that prioritizes leveraging uncertainty. Both perspectives have affordances and limitations when considering the twin goals of educational excellence and equitable involvement in decision-making, and leaders should thus view uncertainty as a paradox—an interdependent, persistent, contradiction—that can never be fully resolved, but can be managed. A paradox perspective makes visible the complex work of effectively moving between mitigating and leveraging uncertainty, especially in a field where the latter garners more support and legitimacy.

Originality/value

This paper synthesizes recent educational and organizational scholarship to develop a new conception of educational organizations and a corresponding approach to educational leadership capable of navigating the growing complexity and uncertainty that pervades school systems.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 61 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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