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The contemporary managerial environment in any given sector is highly shaped by the culture of management. The culture in the education sector has changed tremendously due to external factors of change. This necessitates the restructuring of educational organizations in order to meet the demands and changes.
It becomes quite difficult for educational institutions to stick to a culture that has been upheld for a long time, owing to the demands and factors of change that play out in the education sector. The change in culture in educational organizations often necessitates a change in the way the institutions ought to be managed.
Any change that occurs in the educational environment; therefore, often requires the educational managers to develop structures that can result in the adoption of changes that signify a change in the culture of management. In this paper, it is argued that educational leadership is a critical part of the culture in educational organizations since it helps in the incorporation of new attributes to change that comes from the change in the external environment.
This paper explores the link between culture and leadership in educational organizations. The paper identifies three crucial trends that are critical in building relationships in educational organizations in the course of review of the literature. These trends are also capable of shaping contemporary culture in educational organizations.
The educational organization’s culture
Scope (2006) observes that the contemporary environment in educational organizations is quite complex. The complexity is enhanced by the emerging issues in the wider development environment that requires educational institutions to capture and implement the changes in order to release out graduates who can deal with the issues.
The other aspect of complexity in molding a given culture in educational organizations comes from the different dimensions of culture. Niemann and Kotzé (2006) observe that culture is founded on three attributes of the school environment. These include the students, the employees, and the community.
While this understanding necessitates changes in the culture of educational organizations, it is vital to mention that most education organizations have been molded on a given culture. The nature of leadership in educational organizations is, therefore, quite critical in meeting the attributes of change in the organization.
Educational organizations have been deemed to have a conservative way of managing for quite some time. This model of management was based on the culture of educational organizations. It is critical to note that there is a difference in the attributes of leadership in educational organizations (Scope, 2006).
Research shows that almost all educational institutions are molded on like goals that are steered by similar policies (Niemann & Kotzé, 2006). However, the variation in the policies and the nature of leadership depends on the level of a given education organization. The question that ought to be asked at this juncture concerns the role that is played by educational managers in shaping the culture of a given educational organization.
Just like it is in other organizations, educational leaders are charged with the responsibility of setting and molding the attributes of management that go a long way in shaping the behavior of both the employees and students (Niemann & Kotzé, 2006).
According to Scope (2006), culture in the educational environment is the sum of all the rules and policies that guide the performance of educational organizations. The leadership of educational institutions has to pay attention to the environment in which the educational organizations operate since it is these environments that dictate what should be incorporated in the education system.
Failure to incorporate the emerging issues, for instance, the demand for technology used in educational management, is a factor that can result in limiting the value of education in the society. Educational management entails a deeper look into the issues that emerge in the political, social and economic environments and the subsequent tailoring of the education system so that it can capture these issues (Mozaffari, 2008).
Leadership in educational organizations is a hard quality to measure since it is reflected in not only one aspect of education, but also in diverse sets of practices that include curriculum, co-curriculum and extra-curriculum activities. A given school or educational institution may attain praiseworthy performance in one aspect of leadership but perform poorly in another activity.
In such a case, leadership is only applauded in one area, while the other areas lose out. The most desirable quality of leadership in educational leadership is the ability of educational leaders to foster a culture that enhances the performance of educational organizations in the three core areas (Dimmock & Walker, 2005).
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One of the main reasons for linking leadership to the culture of an organization is that both influence the performance of organizations. Research shows that the fragmentation of leadership in educational organizations, for instance, the division of higher education into faculties, makes it difficult for overall leaders in education to foster a single culture (Mozaffari, 2008).
This implies that there are fragmented cultures that come from each level of policy development and enforcement in education organizations. According to Niemann and Kotzé (2006), there exists an established relationship between the leadership practices of school leaders and the culture of schools. Each leadership practice in schools is a foundation on which the culture of the school as an organization is molded.
Dimmock and Walker (2005) ascertain that desirable school cultures can only be built by school leaders who are familiar with the dynamics in both the internal and external environments of schools, thereby easily shaping the leadership practices to match the dynamics. This is a precursor to the development of a desirable culture.
A desirable education culture is a culture in which all the foundations of performance are installed, resulting in the proper discharge of organizational practices in educational institutions. This is reflected in either the quality of graduates in higher education organizations or the quality of school performance for primary and secondary schools and middle-level institutions of education.
However, measuring the quality of graduates in the case of higher education institutions is a challenge since most of the qualities of performance of the students in higher institutions of learning are founded on individual student efforts and initiatives and not the culture of the institutions (Niemann & Kotzé, 2006).
An evaluation of three educational trends
According to Scope (2006), the field of education is quite dynamic. This implies a change in the culture of educational organizations. One of the factors that result in cultural shifts in educational organizations is the increased incorporation of societal development attributes that emerge from the wider environment. Education is considered to be the main tool for development in society.
Therefore, education ought to reach all individuals in society to attain its broad goals in society. In this case, the question of inclusion in education has become vital, thereby resulting in the fostering of inclusive education in the world. Education in contemporary society is seen as a right for every individual, according to the United Nations Charter that stipulates the basic universal rights for all people in the world (Meijer, n.d.).
The quest for inclusive education and the subsequent setup of structures by educational leaders to facilitate inclusive education emanated from the growth in the number of disabled individuals and the lack of incorporation of proper structures to accommodate such individuals in education.
The modern educational leaders have an added task of ensuring that they do not only focus on the mentally and physically sound individuals, but also on ensuring that they cultivate an educational environment that accommodates people with disabilities. This means that educational leaders must build a culture that is receptive to people with mental and physical challenges (Rayner, 2007).
The rate of accommodation of students with physical challenges in educational organizations is quite low, in spite of the efforts that are being spearheaded by a number of stakeholders in the education sector (Meijer, n.d.).
The second trend that is taking root in educational management across the world is the deployment of technology in discharging education. Just like in other sectors, technology is also considered to be a critical factor in enhancing delivery in education. There are a number of practices that have already been implemented by a number of education organizations as part of digitizing education.
These include online academic programs that are run by a substantial number of institutions of learning across the world (Wankel & DeFillippi, 2002). This eases the rate at which organizations offer education to a wide section of students across the world. The question that is often posed concerning the use of technology in discharging education concerns the quality of education under the digital platform.
However, most indicators denote that quality can still be maintained depending on the level of technology adoption in a given country. Countries or institutions that have a high rate of adoption of technology are found to be efficient when it comes to the development and implementation of technology in educational management (DeFillippi & Wankel, 2003).
The contemporary educational environment portrays schools as smaller entities that focus on the neighborhoods. Smaller educational units are being promoted in a substantial number of regions in the world. It is common to note the efforts to reduce and establish a balanced ratio between the number of students and the number of teachers in most educational organizations around the world.
This is one of the trends that are geared towards increasing quality of education and its impact on changing society. However, attaining such a balance is a hefty activity that depends on the readiness of a given organization.
Congestion in educational environments is considered to be a traditional and an undesirable factor in modern education since it limits relational aspects in the discharge of educational activities and the subsequent attainment of all educational goals. Inclination towards the development of smaller schools or academic institutions depends on the quality of students.
This is enhanced by the space that is created between the students and the instructors. However, the survival of this trend in education is highly dependent on resource availability, as well as demographic patterns (Ornstein, Levine & Gutek, 2011).
From the discussion, it can be concluded that the culture of educational organizations is highly molded around the leadership of the organizations.
Organizational leaders monitor the factors of change in the external and internal environments and incorporate the changes in educational organizations, thereby shaping the culture of the organizations. Educational trends that affect educational management include the deployment of technology in educational management, the embrace of inclusive environments in education, and reduction of the size of educational institutions.
DeFillippi, R., & Wankel, C. (2003). Educating managers with tomorrow’s technologies. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishers.
Dimmock, C. A. J., & Walker, A. (2005). Educational leadership: Culture and diversity. London: SAGE Publications.
Meijer, J. W. (n.d.). Inclusive education: Facts and trends. Retrieved from http://www.european-agency.org/news/news-files/cor-meijer.pdf
Mozaffari, F. A. (2008). A study of relationship between organizational culture and leadership. International Conference on Applied Economics – ICOAE 2008. Retrieved from http://kastoria.teikoz.gr/icoae2/wordpress/wpcontent/upload/articles/2011/10/0792008.pdf
Niemann, R., & Kotzé, T. (2006). The relationship between leadership practices and organizational culture: an education management perspective. South African Journal of Education, 26(4): 609-624.
Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., & Gutek, G. L. (2011). Foundations of education. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Rayner, S. (2007). Managing special and inclusive education. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.
Scope, P. S. (2006). Relationship between leadership styles of middle school principals and school culture. New York, NY: Proquest Information and Learning Company.
Wankel, C., & DeFillippi, B. (2002). Rethinking management education for the 21st century: Edited by Charles Wankel and Robert DeFillippi. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishers.