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Jsl Vol 6-N6

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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Organizational Health and Decision Participation: An Empirical Analysis of Healthy Interpersonal Dynamics and Teacher Participation

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DENNIS J. SABO1

KEVIN BARNES2

WAYNE K. HOY* 3

ABSTRACT: Important domains of teacher participation in decision making and school climate are identified and examined in this empirical study of middle schools. In general, healthy interpersonal dynamics in schools are associated with lower levels of decision deprivation among teachers. Although a healthy school climate seems important in limiting decision deprivation in classroom decision areas, it is less significant in the management domain. The results suggest that although a healthy school climate may be a necessary condition for authentic teacher participation, it is not a sufficient one.

The report of the Carnegie Forum (1986) provided the impetus for real consideration to be given to the organizational structure and the nature of teacher work activity as vehicles for professional employees to achieve their goals (Bacharach and Conley, 1986). Similar reports from The National Governors Association (1986) and The National Education Association/The National Association of Secondary School Principals (1986) encouraged school reformers and practitioners to develop school structures to include collegial and participative decision making at the school level. Though these structures often appear under the rubric of school-based management, the purpose of the structures is to stimulate improvement at the school level through the decentralization of authority from the district’s administration to decision makers at the school (Malen, Ogawa and Kranz, 1990). Decentralization is typically oriented toward increasing the level of involvement of multiple stakeholders in the governance and management of schools through school level autonomy and participatory decision making.

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Implementing a School-Wide Conflict Management Program: Staff Development Is the Key

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PATSY E. JOHNSON1

ABSTRACT: This paper presents a staff-development model to implement a school-wide conflict management plan. Results of an ongoing conflict management plan following its third year from an urban middle school are included to illustrate a conflict prevention and management strategy that was motivated and shaped by the school’s culture and climate realities. The strategy is based on the premise that the effectiveness of the conflict management program improves when the philosophical orientation for conflict management is articulated, understood, and implemented by the administration, faculty, students, and parents.

Schools must develop conflict management programs because much conflict is in our schools–conflict that too frequently takes a destructive course (Sauerwein, 1995). In schools, where tension builds and conflicts go unresolved, assaults on students, teachers, and property are commonplace. Many students never develop the attitudes and skills to handle productively the conflicts they face in the course of their lives. They acquire much of their knowledge of handling conflict haphazardly and in contexts (television, videos, and movies) which emphasize destructive methods (Luke and Myers, 1994). If students were systematically taught how to manage conflicts constructively, they would become less vulnerable to emotional disorders, suicide, violence, and other forms of antisocial behavior (Eisler, Lane, and Mei, 1995).

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Governing Education in an Antigovernment Environment

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PAUL C. BAUMAN1

ABSTRACT: This article examines how negative views of government and the public sector are impacting educational governance. Social and political trends undermining support for public programs and school systems are reviewed. In response to the anti-government environment of the 1990s and the apparent aversion toward politics among many educators, a new definition of governance is presented to more constructively portray the politics of educational leadership. The article concludes with considerations and recommendations for school leaders who are both at the center of the action of governance and the targets of reform by groups within and outside the public system.

Public dissatisfaction with government shows no signs of diminishing. Movements to limit taxes through local and statewide initiatives, voter referendums, and state constitutional amendments are increasing, both in number and degree of impact on public agencies. Opinion polls show Americans are distrustful of government agencies and generally opposed to public sector programs and policies.

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Perspectives on Groups and Teams in Educational Organizations

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L. NAN RESTINE1

ABSTRACT: This article explores groups and teams from a sociological perspective with specific focus on the structure of activity, the nature of interaction and interdependence, and coordination. The emphasis is on distinguishing groups and teams, describing selected team sports configurations and school corollaries, and discussing dimensions of contrast and implications for leadership.

Working together productively has been a concern of mankind [sic] for so long and in such varied contexts that it has become one of our identifying characteristics as a species. From the time the first mastodon was killed in a group hunt, we have been looking for more effective ways of combining individual human efforts in order to meet both organizational and individual needs. (Karp, 1980, p. 157)

Contemporary educational literature, research, and professional conference themes have increasingly focused on collectivist orientations toward improving leadership, and the quality of schools and those who work in them. The assumption is that critical issues can be addressed more effectively through joint efforts, cooperative arrangements and cohorts, and collaboratives and partnerships that connect educational organizations with the larger community, empowering those who work in schools toward becoming learning communities, and developing structures that facilitate group or team work.

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New Principals in an Urban Bureaucracy: A Sense of Efficacy

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KAREN OSTERMAN1

SUSAN SULLIVAN2

ABSTRACT: As principals assume their roles in an urban bureaucracy, what are some of the personal and organizational factors that support or restrict their efforts to bring about school change? Based on interviews with newly appointed principals, this study concludes that external and internal factors interact to influence leadership behavior. External factors, particularly role models, district expectations, and personal and organizational support, influence principals’ sense of self-efficacy. This internal factor, in turn, appeared to play an important mediating role influencing principals’ interpretation of the organizational context and their problem-solving processes.

Over the last twenty years, efforts to improve the quality of education at the school level have focused on the principal as one of the most important figures in school reform (Edmonds, 1979; Brookover and Lezotte, 1979; Teddlie and Stringfield, 1993). It is widely accepted that educational change requires leadership and that the leadership of the principal is essential if change is to occur at the school level.

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