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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Frauke Meyer, Deidre M. Le Fevre and Viviane M.J. Robinson

The notion of vulnerability underlies relationships of trust. Trust between leaders and staff is needed to solve concerns that hinder equity and excellence in teaching and…

Abstract

Purpose

The notion of vulnerability underlies relationships of trust. Trust between leaders and staff is needed to solve concerns that hinder equity and excellence in teaching and learning. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether and how leaders show vulnerability by disclosing own possible contributions to concerns they try to resolve.

Design/methodology/approach

Data included transcripts of conversations held by 27 educational leaders about a concern with another staff and a questionnaire about the nature, causes and history of the concern. Questionnaire analysis identified if and how leaders described their own possible contribution prior to the conversation. Transcript analysis identified instances of leaders’ contribution disclosure.

Findings

Results indicate that while two-thirds of leaders identified an own contribution, when prompted prior to the conversation, one-third saw no own contribution. Leaders indicated contributing by not acting on the concern, by acting in ways inappropriate or insufficient to resolve the concern, or by not clearly communicating their concern in the past. Eight of the 27 leaders publicly disclosed their contribution in the actual conversation. In some conversations this disclosure prompted reciprocal disclosure of information about the concern and its causes by the other person, aiding a more effective concern resolution.

Originality/value

Through examining leaders’ interpersonal behavior in difficult conversations, the importance of leaders’ acknowledgments of own mistakes and communication of their own vulnerability is highlighted. A positive view of vulnerability is argued for, epistemic vulnerability, which manifests itself in the willingness to be honest and open to learning by accepting one’s own fallibility.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

A Developmental and Negotiated Approach to School Self-Evaluation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-704-7

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2008

Viviane M.J. Robinson

Several arguments have been put forward about why distributed leadership in schools should contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning. This paper aims to…

Abstract

Purpose

Several arguments have been put forward about why distributed leadership in schools should contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning. This paper aims to investigate the extent to which conceptual and empirical research in the field is aligned to this goal.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion of alignment was structured around two differing and overlapping conceptions of distributed leadership. The first conception examines the distribution of the leadership of those tasks designated by researchers as leadership tasks. The second conception examines the distribution of influence processes.

Findings

The paper finds that the first conception has the advantage of giving leadership educational content by embedding it in the tasks and interactions that constitute educational work. The selected leadership tasks are typically not specified, however, in ways that discriminate the qualities required to make a positive difference to student outcomes. The knowledge base needed to make such discrimination is found in outcomes‐linked research on the selected educational tasks rather than in research on generic leadership and organisational theory. There is also little attention to the influence processes that are at the heart of leadership. While the second approach pays more attention to these influence processes, its generic treatment of leadership limits the possibility of finding and forging stronger links to student outcomes.

Originality/value

The paper highlights that research which integrates both concepts of distributed leadership, in suitably modified form, is likely to be a productive way of making stronger links between distributed leadership and student outcomes. The linkage requires more explicit use of the evidence base on the improvement of teaching and learning.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2011

Viviane M.J. Robinson and Deidre M. Le Fevre

Positively engaging parents who have concerns about their children's schooling is a key part of effective educational leadership. The purpose of this paper is to use…

Abstract

Purpose

Positively engaging parents who have concerns about their children's schooling is a key part of effective educational leadership. The purpose of this paper is to use empirical research on complaint interactions and interpersonal effectiveness to develop and trial an assessment of principals' interpersonal effectiveness in challenging conversations with parents. The paper presents descriptive data about principals' level of skill in one such type of conversation.

Design/methodology/approach

A complaint scenario was written and an actor trained to play the role of the parent during a videotaped conversation with each of 30 newly appointed principals. The tapes were transcribed and assessed on six dimensions of interpersonal effectiveness. A code book was written which included definitions of each dimension, a five‐step progression on each dimension, coding rules and examples. The actor also provided ratings of the effectiveness of each principal.

Findings

The findings indicated that the principals were, on average, more skilled in advocating their own position than in deeply inquiring into and checking their understanding of the views of the parent. Many had difficulty respectfully challenging the parent's assumptions about the situation and reaching a shared understanding of what to do next.

Originality/value

The paper provides rarely obtained behavioural data about the interpersonal skills of school leaders and provides a strongly grounded theoretical framework for analysing these skills. Detailed suggestions are made about how further research can contribute to both the evaluation and development of the interpersonal skills required to achieve positive outcomes from challenging conversations.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Viviane M.J. Robinson

While in agreement with the broad coherentist approach of Evers and Lakomski, the position taken here is that coherentism, in itself, does not provide a sufficiently…

Abstract

While in agreement with the broad coherentist approach of Evers and Lakomski, the position taken here is that coherentism, in itself, does not provide a sufficiently developed normative framework to underpin an ethics of educational administration. The coherentist approach to ethics is that the requirements of survival and social problem solving ensure the development of neurally‐based moral prototypes. Following writers such as Clark and Flanagan, argues that the normative resources of coherentism should be enriched by sententially expressed normative standards, and that the approach to such standards taken by virtue ethicists is fruitful. Virtue ethicists reject a rule‐based approach to morality and embrace the idea of moral prototypes. This is consistent with a naturalised epistemology, including the learning of ethical administrative practice.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 39 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2001

Viviane M.J. Robinson

The dual purpose of this paper is to locate the contribution of Argyris and Schon to the field of organisational learning, and to discuss aspects of their work which are…

Abstract

The dual purpose of this paper is to locate the contribution of Argyris and Schon to the field of organisational learning, and to discuss aspects of their work which are particularly distinctive or controversial. There are two distinct strands of research on organisational learning. The descriptive strand, with its roots in social and cognitive psychology, seeks to understand the processes by which organisations learn and adapt. The normative strand, which is sometimes referred to as research on the “learning organization”, is concerned more with how organisations can direct their learning in ways that bring them closer to an ideal. While Argyris and Schon, with their emphasis on intervention and improvement, belong to the latter normative strand, they have also contributed greatly to the descriptive strand because their normative theorising is grounded in detailed empirical study of organisational processes. The article contrasts Argyris and Schon’s account of learning as the manipulation of symbolic representations of organisational life, with the non‐symbolic, feedback‐driven account of learning offered by many descriptive researchers. It suggests how these two accounts could be integrated by recognising that differing tasks or problems require different learning processes and different types of expertise. This more differentiated approach casts doubt on the notion of a generically capable “learning organisation”. The paper concludes with a call for more researchers to bridge the divide between the descriptive and normative strands of research on organisational learning.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article
Publication date: 27 September 2011

Viviane M.J. Robinson, Stuart McNaughton and Helen Timperley

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate two recent examples of the New Zealand Ministry of Education's approach to reducing the persistent disparities in achievement…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate two recent examples of the New Zealand Ministry of Education's approach to reducing the persistent disparities in achievement between students of different social and ethnic groups. The first example is cluster‐based school improvement, and the second is the development of national standards for literacy and numeracy across the primary sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The evaluative framework used was derived from recent international analyses of the characteristics of school systems, which are either high performers or successful reformers on recent international surveys. Policy documents and evaluation reports provided the evidence on which the evaluation of the two New Zealand (NZ) examples is based.

Findings

The six criteria associated with high system performance and/or reform success were: system‐wide commitment to educational improvement; ambitious universal standards; developing capacity at the point of delivery; professional forms of accountability; strategic resourcing; and institutionalizing the improvement of practice. The present analysis of the NZ reform examples suggests that while there is a broad commitment to more equitable outcomes, a new resolve to introduce and report against national standards, and a high level of espousal of professional accountability, there are significant contradictions between school self‐management and the work that needs to be done to reduce achievement disparities.

Originality/value

This paper's evaluation of these two examples raises important policy questions about the assumptions that are made in the NZ self‐managing system about teacher and leader capability and about where responsibility for school improvement lies.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 49 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1994

Viviane M.J. Robinson, Helen S. Timperley, Judy M. Parr and Stuart McNaughton

New Zealand schools are now managed by parent‐elected trustees whoserole is to work in partnership with school staff to formulate andmonitor aspects of school policy. A…

Abstract

New Zealand schools are now managed by parent‐elected trustees whose role is to work in partnership with school staff to formulate and monitor aspects of school policy. A sample of those involved in the partnership (principals, teachers, chairpersons and parents) were asked what role they thought the Board should play in three different types of school policy decision. The results showed that, while there were some differences between primary and secondary respondents, most respondents believed the Board should play a far less influential role in educational than in administrative decisions. Overall, less than 50 per cent of both the professional and lay groups expressed opinions about the Board′s role that were consistent with current government policy on the management of New Zealand schools.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Book part
Publication date: 28 November 2013

Abstract

Details

A Developmental and Negotiated Approach to School Self-Evaluation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-704-7

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Book part
Publication date: 28 November 2013

Abstract

Details

A Developmental and Negotiated Approach to School Self-Evaluation
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-704-7

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