Analysis of leadership dynamics in educational settings during times of external and internal change
Jäppinen, A.-K. (2017). Analysis of leadership dynamics in educational settings during times of external and internal change. Educational Research, 59 (4), 460-477. doi:10.1080/00131881.2017.1376591
Published inEducational Research
© 2017 NFER. This is an open access article published by Taylor & Francis.
Background: The article concerns the tensions that can arise during demanding external, and consequential internal changes and considers how educational leadership is able to respond to them. Leadership is here understood as a collaborative endeavour, producing shared sense-making in situations of tension. Purpose: The main research question was: what kinds of leadership dynamics underlie situations of tension brought about by external and internal change? The sub-question was: what kind of micro-level sense-making processes, argued to be the true source of change, assist in revealing these dynamics? Programme: Educational organisations increasingly face demanding external changes, such as the two mergers described in this article. Tensions can easily be brought about during such external changes and the consequential internal changes, such as two pedagogical innovation projects in this article. Sample: The study was conducted with three leadership teams within two organisations. The first organisation was a vocational education organisation with around 4000–5000 students and 500 staff members. The leadership team that was studied was followed for almost two years. The other organisation was a business school which comprised of around 7000 students, 150–200 professors and 500 staff members. There, two leadership teams were investigated and followed for almost three years. Design and methods: The data for the sense-making process was selected by way of qualitative content analysis and an experimented model called TenKeys®. This data were analysed using a grounded theory approach to uncover the underlying leadership dynamics. Results: Ten micro-procedural leadership dynamics were identified. Actions related to the pedagogical projects were then interpreted by means of these dynamics. Conclusions: The findings suggest that understanding underlying leadership dynamics might help educational organisations respond to possible tensions brought about by external and internal change and, consequently, support learners’ learning processes, albeit indirectly. ...