26 SES 11 A, Leadership and Working Conditions
Concepts of new school governance, which have been introduced since the 1990s (van Amelsvoort and Scheerens, 1997), aim to change the competencies of school leaders – towards autonomy and accountability – and these concepts did considerably change responsibilities of school leaders. School principals manage their schools and develop, implement, and improve instruments of quality-oriented internal control. According to specific legal and administrative conditions, school principals have to generate key competencies, e.g. with respect to personnel management, curriculum development, and administrative tasks. Due to the change of the school principal’s role from an administrator to a creator, research on school leadership recently focused the question which fields of activity especially affect school principals (Brauckmann & Herrmann 2013). It is quite apparent that the relation between changing contexts and managing activities has not been a central issue of leadership research so far (Brauckmann & Schwarz, in press). Even more, researchers have criticized formal professionalization to produce uniformly designed school leaders (Southworth 2002) who are not able to respond adequately to their own specific management context (Goldring et al. 2008; Heck & Moriyama 2010).
So far, information on contextual conditions are acquired by analyzing qualitative school portraits or survey data where characteristics are usually measured on the organizational level (e.g. type and size of school, personnel and material resources). A focus on contextual conditions of the wider environment of schools (social area close to schools, school catchment areas, schooling structure in terms of alternative supply, competition between schools) is seldom set. Rarely, researchers are aware of such context features and consider them as control variables. However, statements about their effect on school leadership are not taken. If leadership research aims at gaining valid insights into the actual activities of school leaders, this requires a deeper analysis of the individual school context. Hence, this paper tries to empirically concretize effects of social, economic and cultural conditions in the context of management activities in schools. Since the collection of contextual information (e.g. immigrant status of students, socioeconomic resources in families) is usually based on interviews with school principals, the information gained is inevitably exposed to subjective distortion, which can be considerably (Anderson 1982; Bonsen et al. 2008). We therefore propose to describe the context of school management activities by features of the school and school-related environment which are of administrative origin (e.g. official school statistic, administrative data on population structure).
Amelsvoort, H. W. C. H. & van Scheerens, J. (1997). Policy issues surrounding processes of centralization and decentralization in European education systems. Educational Research and Evaluation, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 340-363. Anderson, C. S. (1982). The search for school climate: a review of the research. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 52, No. 3, pp. 368-420. Bonsen, M., Bos, W., Gröhlich, C. & Wendt, H. (2008). Bildungsrelevante Ressourcen im Elternhaus: Indikatoren der sozialen Komposition der Schülerschaften an Dortmunder Schulen. In: Stadt Dortmund (Hrsg.): Erster kommunaler Bildungsbericht für die Schulstadt Dortmund. Münster: Waxmann. Brauckmann, S. & Herrmann, C. (2013). Belastungserleben von Schulleiterinnen und Schulleitern im Rahmen erweiterter schulischer Eigenständigkeit – erste empirische Befunde aus der SHaRP-Studie. In: van Ackeren, I./ Heinrich, M./ Thiel, F. (Hrsg.): Evidenzbasierte Steuerung im Bildungssystem. Befunde aus dem BMBF-SteBis-Verbund. Die Deutsche Schule (12. Beiheft), S. 172-197. Brauckmann, S. & Schwarz, A. (accepted). Autonomous leadership and a centralised school system – an odd couple? Empirical insights from Cyprus. Appears in: International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 28, No. 7 (September, 2014). Goldring, E. B., Huff, J. T., May, H. & Camburn, E. (2008). School context and individual characteristics: What influences principal practice? Journal of Educational Administration, 46, pp. 332-352. Heck, R. H. & Moriyama, K. (2010). Examining relationships among elementary schools’ contexts, leadership, instructional practices, and added-year out-comes: a regression discontinuity approach. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 21, pp. 377-408. Southworth, G. (2002). Instructional Leadership in Schools: reflections and empirical evidence. School Leadership & Management, 22 (1), 73-91.
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