The Art of Managing an Educational Institution: Challenges and Opportunities
Navigating an academic organization requires dealing with not only addressing the issues associated with learning and teaching but also handling cultural, financial, environmental, political, and other types of dilemmas that occur due to the exposure to a range of external factors. Therefore, one must approach the task of addressing the needs of an educational institution with due care and responsibility, paying close attention to the issues such as diversity and cross-cultural communication. Herein lies the significance of using a political frame as the means of analyzing some of the problems that occur in the environment of an educational institution and developing the strategies for handling the identified concerns. By applying the principles of political leadership, one is likely to build an organization-government ecosystem that will allow reducing the control of school districts and provide the leaders of the said institutions with political power, therefore, providing these systems with more flexibility as far as their choices of policies related to diversity, international ties with similar organizations, etc. Thus, the opportunities for a faster and a more efficient growth can be built.
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Setting a Frame: The Political Perspective as the Foundation for the Analysis
Using a political perspective as the means of addressing some of the current problems faced by education institutions is a crucial step toward improving the leadership process. For instance, the management of cross-cultural relationships requires a political frame as the tool for pushing the envelope and exploring alternative ways of managing the emergent conflicts. By examining the specifics of relationships between the key stakeholders, one will be able to suggest a new and improved strategy for meeting their needs successfully (Bolman & Deal, 2013).
Strengths of the Approach: Understanding the Political Underpinnings
The adoption of a political perspective in the environment of an academic institution might seem unnecessary, yet the incorporation of a political perspective will allow creating the ecosystems in which compliance with the set rules and principles will become easier for all stakeholders involved. Indeed, according to the explanation provided by Bolman and Deal (2013), the incorporation of the political perspective into the management of an organization’s needs leads to the enhancement of the existing values and standards. As a result, the basis for shaping the target population’s behaviors accordingly is built. In other words, the participants develop the propensity to accept the suggested behavior standards, ideas, and philosophies. Consequently, the premises for creating uniform behavior standards, maintaining control over the target population, and compelling the latter to accept the suggested values as the foundation for decision-making are created (Bolman & Deal, 2013).
The incorporation of a political perspective into the management of an organization will also help view the essential processes within it as a chain of interpersonal interactions (Kacmar, Andrews, Harris, & Tepper, 2013). In other words, the political frame will help contextualize the analysis of the essential workplace processes by viewing the latter as interactions between people (Gupta, Briscoe, & Hambrick, 2016). Consequently, the premises for handling some of the issues that may occur in the course of carrying out crucial tasks, including possible conflicts, misunderstandings, and misconceptions, will be built. Furthermore, the analysis thereof will be performed with organizational policies in mind. As a result, the flaws of the policies in question can be located, and the tools for improving them can be suggested.
Weaknesses of the Approach: Becoming a Law unto Oneself
Unfortunately, the application of the political point of view as the means of addressing some of the issues occurring in the context of an educational institution is also fraught with several challenges. The first and most obvious, the suggested tool requires a significant enhancement of the organization’s rules and regulations, which is likely to cause substantial resistance among the target population. Furthermore, the incorporation of the framework into the context of an academic institution may entail a negative shift in powers in the environment of the institution in question. Particularly, there is a threat that the organization will become “a law unto itself” (Bolman & Deal, 2013, p. 226). As a result, a drop in the efficacy of the school’s regulations and justice principles can be expected.
Moreover, it could be argued that the introduction of the political perspective into the management of an institution may contribute to the enhancement of competition rates within it. By placing a very heavy emphasis on the significance of power, efficient use of political resources, and the development of political acumen, one is likely to make participants focus solely on their personal victories in the competitive corporate environment. As a result, without the active promotion of corporate values, one will not be able to control organizational effectiveness levels (Langley, Smallman, Tsoukas, & Van de Ven, 2013).
Using the Frame as a Leader: Why, When, and How
To adopt the identified approach, one will have to consider using it on the level of managing cross-cultural relationships in the context of an educational organization. For instance, addressing the problems associated with the lack of diversity and the necessity to meet the needs of students from different cultural backgrounds when addressing organizational concerns can be interpreted as one of the scenarios in which the application of a political framework should be viewed as a necessity (Bolman & Deal, 2013).
When considering the mode of application, one should focus on using the transformative and laissez-faire leadership frameworks as the tool for implementing the concept. The transformational approach will be required to help an organization transfer to a new level of managing relationships between its key stakeholders, i.e., incorporating the ideas based on multiculturalism, cooperation, and academic integrity. The adoption of the laissez-faire model, in its turn, will provide the basis for developing flexibility that will help meet the needs of students from different backgrounds (Bolman & Deal, 2013).
Finally, the necessity to balance between a political frame and other perspectives (e.g., economic, structural, symbolic, etc.) must be mentioned as the definitive characteristic of a proper leadership strategy. As stressed above, the political perspective may imply a weak emphasis on the needs of a company. Thus, team members will require a rigid set of values to follow (Kacmar et al., 2013).
Conclusion: Exploring the Process of Managing an Educational Institution from a Political Perspective
When applied in the context of an academic institution, the use of a political perspective will help shed light on the issues that are typically managed by school districts; as a result, school leaders are enabled with creating the strategies that will become the foundation for a successful management of the issues associated with diversity, successful management of the internal school processes, etc. Therefore, the development and further adoption of more efficient strategies for handling the school issues can be designed. As a result, the leadership framework will become more coherent, thus, leading to a more successful management of the internal and external school processes.
Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2013). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Gupta, A., Briscoe, F., & Hambrick, D. C. (2016). Red, blue, and purple firms: Organizational political ideology and corporate social responsibility. Strategic Management Journal, 38(5), 1018-1040. doi:10.1002/smj.2550
Kacmar, K. M., Andrews, M. C., Harris, K. J., & Tepper, B. J. (2013). Ethical leadership and subordinate outcomes: The mediating role of organizational politics and the moderating role of political skill. Journal of Business Ethics, 115(1), 33-44. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1373-8
Langley, A., Smallman, C., Tsoukas, H., & Van de Ven, A. H. (2013). Process studies of change in organization and management: Unveiling temporality, activity, and flow. Academy of Management Journal, 56(1), 1-13. doi:10.5465/amj.2013.4001