Academic journal article Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice

Examination of the Effectiveness of Male and Female Educational Leaders Who Made Use of the Invitational Leadership Style of Leadership

Academic journal article Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice

Examination of the Effectiveness of Male and Female Educational Leaders Who Made Use of the Invitational Leadership Style of Leadership

Article excerpt


As a result of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, educational accountability standards have increased tremendously (Stecher & Kirby, 2004). Subsequently, educational leaders are now responsible for meeting expectations unparalleled to that of previous decades (Aldridge, 2003). In response to these changing and amplified conditions of accountability, numerous leadership models have been designed to meet the leadership needs of the past several decades (Hallinger & Heck, 1999; Kezar, 2000; Leithwood, Jantzi, & Steinbach, 2000; Sergiovanni, 2000; Spears & Lawrence, 2004; Yukl, 2006). While models such as transformational and servant leadership have served educational leaders for several decades, one comprehensive model has been created that promises to provide a positive and encouraging structure to guide today's leaders through complex times.

The relatively new model referred to is invitational leadership. The invitational leadership model was designed by William Purkey and Betty Siegel in 2002 based on invitational theory. As Purkey (1992, p. 5) articulated, "Invitational theory is a collection of assumptions that seek to explain phenomena and provide a means of intentionally summoning people to realize their relatively boundless potential in all areas of worthwhile human endeavor." Purkey further explained, "The purpose of invitational leadership is to address the entire global nature of human existence and opportunity." Thus, this invitational leadership model is a comprehensive design that is inclusive of many vital elements needed for the success of today's educational organizations (Purkey & Siegel, 2003). As Bolman and Deal (2002, p. 1) ascertained, "The most important responsibility of school leaders is not to answer every question but serve a deeper, more powerful and more durable role." Since the current literature firmly supports the need for a change in leadership in order to adequately meet the needs of current educational institutions (Bolman & Deal, 2002; Day, Harris, & Hadfield, 2001; Kouzes & Posner, 2003), the need to examine a new leadership model is essential. As Halpern (2004, p.126) affirmed, "Rapid changes require new kinds of leadership--leaders who have the necessary knowledge to achieve a goal and leaders who can manage amid the uncertainty of nonstop change." The necessity for a change in leadership is further warranted based on the need for an "ethic of caring" (Grogan, 2003, p. 25). Current literature also strongly supports this need for a leadership model that is caring and ethical in nature (Bolman & Deal, 2002; Grogan, 2003; Halpin, 2003). Grogan (2003, p. 24) described leadership as being "predicated on caring about those he or she serves." Consequently, Halpin (2003, p. 84) concluded, "Invitational leadership contributes to school effectiveness by the way in which it cares for and supports the efforts of others." Since Invitational leadership is comprehensive in nature, consisting of many positive and essentially sound educational components (Day, Harris & Hadfield, 2001; Purkey & Siegel, 2003; Stillion & Siegel, 2005), it may well serve as a model of leadership that will positively impact the diverse and changing needs of today's educational organizations.

As Egley (2003, p. 57) argued, "the research on the effects of Invitational Education Theory in the educational administrative process is relatively new as compared to other theories pertaining to leadership." Thus, this research attempted to find answers to the following questions: 1) Is there a significant difference between the presence of invitational leadership qualities in effective schools versus less effective schools? and 2) Is there a significant difference between the invitational leadership qualities of male and female administrators? If so, what are they?

Conceptual Underpinnings

Invitational Leadership

It has been authenticated throughout this literature review (Aldridge, 2003; Jennings, 2003; Penner, 1981; Shapiro, 1990; Stillion & Siegel, 2005) that a new day has transpired for contemporary leaders, requiring skills and knowledge exceeding that of previous needs in leadership (Caldwell & Hayward, 1998). …

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