Academic journal article American Journal of Educational Studies

The Relationship between School Principals' Strategic Leadership Actions and Organizational Learning

Academic journal article American Journal of Educational Studies

The Relationship between School Principals' Strategic Leadership Actions and Organizational Learning

Article excerpt

Introduction

The modern fast paced world has challenged educational organizations and all organizations to overhaul their form and functions to remain relevant to changes in their environment. Improvement requires schools insure that they are fully exploiting their current strategies and creating new ones. Both of these strategies - exploitation and exploration - depend on the school's learning ability. Improving and systematically maintaining learning are directly proportional to the firm presence of organizational learning in the centre of an organization's culture. Thus, planning, developing and implementing organizational learning strategies have gained currency and have become critical missions of school principals who have the ability to help their schools prepare for continuous development and improvement (Boal & Hooijberg, 2000; Davies & Davies, 2006; Senge, 2006).

Sergiovanni (1991) specified four sequential leadership actions for school leaders: leadership by bartering, building, bonding and banking. He further mentioned that "of the four approaches, leadership by bonding (ethical actions) is the cornerstone of an effective long-term leadership strategy for schools" (p. 24). Similarly, Pisapia (2009) proposed a set of four different leadership actions (transforming, managing, ethical, and political) a strategic leader can apply artistically and with agility in today's chaotic organizational environment in order to provide effectiveness in management. In line with all these factors, it is essential for school principals to display strategic leadership actions within the framework of today's leadership paradigm.

In order to be successful in today's postmodern setting, school principals should display a wide array of leader influence actions to create an organizational learning culture. The wider the repertoire, the greater the chance of meeting complex competing demands foisted on schools by their changing environments (Davies, 2003; 2004; Pisapia, 2006; 2009). In the current study, we examined the connections between school principal strategic leader influence actions and the presence of an organizational learning culture in the schools. In the following paragraphs the relationship between the two central concepts of the study - strategic leadership and organizational learning - is discussed.

Literature Review

Strategic leadership is a process based on constant learning. Senge (2006) stated that "strategic leaders should be experts of learning by valuing learning in their organizations" (p. 363). There is a consensus in literature that strategic leaders need to create a sustainable learning environment and an organizational culture depending on constant learning in their institutions in order to ensure the long-term effectiveness of their schools (Akgemici, 2008; Boal, 2007; Davies, 2004; Pisapia, 2009). In addition, organizational learning is accepted as "a basic strategic process for practicing successful strategic management in organizations" (Lähteenmäki, Toivonen & Mattila, 2001; Marsick & Watkins, 2003) and perceived as "the only sustainable competitive advantage in the future" (DeGeus, 1988, p. 71). Adapting the organization to the changing environment, initiating organizational learning and making it sustainable are undoubtedly among some of the important responsibilities of strategic leaders (Boal, 2007; Davies, 2003; Senge, 2006; Ulrich, Glinow & Jick, 1993).

A limited number of research studies have been carried out to elaborate the link between strategic leadership and organizational learning. However, the majority of these studies were descriptive studies which were carried out to determine strategic leadership characteristics and behaviors in organizations (Altinkurt, 2007; Turna, 2007; Ugurluoglu, 2009; Ulker, 2009); similarly most of which were conducted to determine organizational learning levels and/or barriers for organizational learning (Coskun, 2008; Kale, 2003; Kuru, 2007; Sezik, 2005; Toremen, 1999; Uysal, 2008). …

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