The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of Swedish school leaders’ relational and management work orientation, in terms of both techno and socio…
The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of Swedish school leaders’ relational and management work orientation, in terms of both techno and socio structure dimensions. The background is the neoliberal policy regime, underpinned by OECD and PISA, and an increased focus on school leaders’ management work.
In total, 26 school leaders in a Swedish municipality were interviewed, and their responses were analysed to score their expressed orientations in terms of techno structure (object and formal) and socio structure (person and symbolic) dimensions.
The school leaders had predominantly formal work orientations, expressed in comments about organising teams, scheduling teacher meetings, shaping working routines in meetings, making plans and (in some cases) creating an infrastructure. Scores for object (goal and result) and symbolic dimensions of their management orientation were low.
The results suggest a need to increase Swedish school leaders’ attention to object aspects, and both person and symbolic aspects of the formal or organising dimension, of their work. They also indicate the importance of establishing and communicating core symbols in compulsory schooling, like democracy and equity, to avoid external accountability pressures instrumentally shaping schools’ management.
In contrast to previous research, the analysis indicates that Swedish school leaders have a predominantly formal and organising work orientation, frequently with little clear goal and results orientation, or attention to professional needs and motivations of the teachers (important aspects of person orientation).
The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze the professional norms surrounding school development, with a special emphasis on school principals’ pedagogical…
The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyze the professional norms surrounding school development, with a special emphasis on school principals’ pedagogical leadership.
A norm perspective is used to identify possible links between legal norms, professional norms, and actions. The findings are based on answers given by 974 school principals in a web-based questionnaire. The design of the study and the findings are structured around three questions used to identify professional norms: what tasks principals prioritize as pedagogical leaders, where the external expectations on principals are derived from, and with whom school principals communicate regarding issues related to their pedagogical leadership.
The most evident professional norms identified in this study are that principals should: be present and close to the teaching and learning processes; involve teachers in quality development; enhance the development of formative assessments; engage in teacher development; develop the internal organization of the school to promote learning.
The norm perspective and the findings of this study could be used by principals, principal trainers, and researchers to reflect on pedagogical leadership in different contexts. A challenge for principals is to become aware of the professional norms that guide them, and to close the gap between their “desirable” norms and their actions. Action alternatives and professional norms become visible through discussions emanating from questions about what leaders do, how they do so and why they do what they do, which is a way to strengthen both the profession and the individual principals.