Academic journal article Management Dynamics

An Assessment of the Impact of Entrepreneurial Orientation on the Success of Selected Public Secondary Schools

Academic journal article Management Dynamics

An Assessment of the Impact of Entrepreneurial Orientation on the Success of Selected Public Secondary Schools

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

There is a need for research on the influence of entrepreneurial orientation on the success of public schools. Through an investigation of the influence of an entrepreneurial orientation on the perceived success of secondary schools, this study attempts to address this need. The influence of the five independent entrepreneurial orientation dimensions, Innovativeness, Autonomy, Risk-taking, Opportunity utilisation and Competitive aggressiveness, was measured by means of four dependent variables: an Effective learning environment, Learner achievement, Strategic intent and Staff development. The respondents were identified by means of a convenience sampling technique, and the survey yielded 313 useable questionnaires from five high performing public secondary schools. To assess the validity and reliability of the measuring instrument, the data collected were analysed by means of an exploratory factor analysis and Cronbach alpha coefficients were calculated. The hypothesised relationships were assessed by means of a multiple regression analysis. The results show that Innovativeness and Opportunity utilisation exert a positive influence on all four variables measuring the Perceived success of the participating schools. Competitive aggressiveness, furthermore, exerts a positive influence on Learner achievement. Autonomy also has a positive influence on an Effective learning environment. There were no significant relationships between Risk-taking and any of the perceived success variables.

INTRODUCTION

An independent investigation by the South African Social Investment Exchange (SASIX) (2011) indicates that education in South Africa does not only rank with that of the poorest education countries in the world, but also with that of the poorest African nations. The inadequate performance of the South African education system takes place despite a richness of resources in Africa's most industrialised country. The under-performance of South African pupils is, therefore, a cause for concern, and the reasons for this unsatisfactory state should be investigated to guide potential interventions to prevent this situation from continuing. A further cause for concern is that there is a large gap between the small minority of schools that still perform well and the overwhelming majority that are truly lamentable. The dark reality, according to Bloch (2009), is that 60 per cent to 80 per cent of South Africa's public schools can be considered to be dysfunctional.

The worth of any school system lies in its ability consciously to serve the purpose for which it was established. Such an educational system is also expected to serve its customers (students, parents, employers of labour and society) adequately. Teachers are the direct vehicles through whom the educational objectives are transmitted to students. The school principals, on the other hand, are vested with the responsibility of managing both teachers and students to achieve the educational objectives of the nation (Osim, Uchendu and Mbon, 2012). To address the issue of poor quality in the South African school system, Osim et al. (2012) stated that pertinent questions should be raised, such as: How innovative are the school principals in carrying out their management tasks? How do they ensure that the teachers under their leadership initiate innovations in their teaching methods to enhance quality? To what extent does government allow principals and teachers to initiate innovations?

In the research of Dinham (2005), three broad approaches were discerned in the actions of the principals of outstanding schools. Firstly, these principals use their powers and the rules and boundaries of the 'system' creatively. Secondly, they exhibit a bias towards experimentation and risk-taking. Thirdly, they exhibit strength, consistency, yet flexibility in decision-making and the application of policy and procedures. The outstanding schools tend to have a strong executive structure with clear, well-understood responsibilities. …

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