Explaining the school management based on scientific metaphor or personal experience? A case study on the management approach of successful school principals

Document Type : Qualitative Research Paper

Author

Assistant Professor, Semnan University, Department of Educational Management, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Semnan, Iran.

Abstract

Scientific theories seek to illuminate the tortuous world of our lives. This enlightenment is accomplished by providing documented, valid, and systematic explanations of the world. Indeed, the ultimate goal of any discipline is to produce and present theories that rely on a clear, coherent, reliable, and generalizable understanding of various phenomena. Educational systems are different and the types of phenomena and problems that researchers face are different and varied. Thus, no complete theory can be presented that is universal that is true in all social, cultural, political, and economic situations. It is not possible to present a complete picture or view of organizations. Organizational metaphors or images are a tool for explaining and analyzing organizations. Thus, by considering any metaphor or image of an organization, it is possible to study and analyze different aspects of an organization in order to determine which metaphor the mechanisms of that organization are more in line or which image can be better and more understandable. Offer more acceptance than that organization. Therefore, any organization is like a riddle that every part of it must be discovered and identified in order to finally explain that riddle well. Although the management of Western schools can be explained and analyzed by relying on scientific metaphor, various studies in Iran have shown that this metaphor does not explain the current state of the Iranian educational system. On the one hand, evidence shows that many school principals do not have the competencies required to run a school. Although various studies have examined and analyzed parts of this puzzle, but a part of this puzzle is the approach of school principals to management. Research has not yet examined what source of inspiration school principals use to address their organizational challenges when they face them. In this encounter, do school principals use the accumulation of their own experiences or those of others, or do they use scientific theories? The present study was an attempt to answer the question of how school principals manage schools and what arguments do they use to justify their method? In this study, a case study method was used. The sampling method was also the marginal case method. Borderline or exceptional sampling involves the study of individuals or cases that have characteristics more or less different from the general or common context of society. Explanation building method was used to analyze the research data. Three methods were used to validate the research data. The first was, member checking. The researcher's perceptions and interpretations of the interviewees' statements were re-presented to the interviewees themselves to clarify the correctness or inaccuracy of the researcher's interpretations of their statements and to make edits if there was a misunderstanding. The second was disconfirming the data. In this method, the researcher, at the beginning, provides an initial interpretation of his data and then tries to study and examine cases that are different or even inconsistent with this initial interpretation. The purpose of this method is to provide a mature interpretation by studying different or inconsistent cases. The Third was reflexivity. In this method, the researcher provides his / her initial beliefs, assumptions, and predictions of the research topic to the research reader so that the reader can understand the researcher's biases or prejudices. Identify and, accordingly, judge his interpretations. The findings were surprising. Because the data showed that what happens in school management and is the basis of the work of principals, is only gaining experience and experimentation. As if the school is a campaign for trial and error of managerial decisions and scientific theories and theoretical knowledge of educational management are not used. The findings of this study show that in school management, more emphasis is placed on experience and science and scientific theory have been neglected. The findings show that although the number of interviewees whose field was other than educational management was higher, the number of times they cited experience as their source of inspiration was very high. Most of the interviewees were not in the field of educational management. The findings of this study also showed that the use of experience in school management has little to do with work experience, management level, and type of school. It seems that gaining experience and empiricism in any situation is the only source of inspiration for principals, and more interestingly, by relying on the same empiricism, principals can be successful and manage schools well. However, the fact that the management of our country's schools has not yet taken on a scientific and theoretical form, and that experience is still the dominant discourse in school management, is very thought-provoking and can have various reasons. First, school management in Iran is more concerned with administrative matters than with areas such as strategic decision-making, policy-making, or organizational leadership, which are inherently challenging and require the use of expertise and scientific knowledge. And it has been implemented that by relying on personal experiences or following the example of more experienced people, those things can be done and even succeeded in it. However, school management in today's world is linked to areas such as strategic decision making, policy making, educational leadership, etc., and that is why school management has become a specialized and complex knowledge that only by relying on scientific knowledge and theoretical foundations can it be successful. Secondly, our country's schools do not actually experience responding to the external environment, especially responding to social classes. Third, academic education in the field of educational management may be so inefficient that graduates of the field are not so equipped with the theoretical knowledge and scientific principles of the field that they can apply it in the practice of school management. With this in mind, it is suggested that two key issues be explored in future research. First, the mechanisms and mechanisms of response of our country's schools should be examined and studied. Because one of the reasons for this experimentation may be the inefficiency of schools' response to the external environment. Second, the pathology of university education in the field of educational management should be considered by researchers. This is because even graduates of educational management may draw their management approach from personal experience because they do not have a good grasp of relevant theories.

Keywords


Abddolahi. (2013). General and professional characteristics of Iranian high school principals. Education, No 2, Vol 30, 93-116.
Alagheband, A. (2016). Theoretical foundations and principles of educational management. Tehran: Ravan.
Avci, A. (2016). Effect of leadership styles of school principals on organizational citizenship behaviors. Educational research and reviews, Vol 11, No 11, 1008-1024.
Aydin, A., Sarier, Y & Uysal, S. (2013). The effect of school principals’ leadership styles on teachers’ organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Educational sciences: theory and practice, Vol 13, No 2, 806-811.
Baškarada, S. (2014). Qualitative Case Study Guidelines. The Qualitative Report, 19(40), 1-18. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol19/iss40/3.
Behroz, L. (2009). Calculation and compilation of human resources indicators working in managerial positions of Tabriz Education Organization during the academic years 2004-2007. Master Thesis of Allameh Tabatabai University.
Bidokhti, A, A & Bakhtiyari, A. (2007). Investigating the ways to increase the attraction of graduates in the field of educational management to education management jobs. New educational ideas, No 3, Vol 3, 21-39.
Bigdeli, M., Keramati, M. R & Bazargan, A. (2012). Investigating the relationship between the field of study and the employment status of graduates of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences in Tehran. Quarterly Journal of Research and Planning in Higher Education, No 3, Vol 18, 111-131.
Bush, T. (2010). Theories of educational management and leadership (third edition). London, New Delhi: Sage publication.
Creswell J. w. (2012).Educational research: planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. (Fourth edition). Pearson. Boston.
Creswell, J.W., & Miller, D.L. (2000) Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory into Practice, 39, 124-130. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/s15430421tip3903_2
Culberston, J, A. (1981). Antecedents of the theory movement. Educational administration Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 1. 25.47.
Day, Ch., Sammons, P., Leithwood, Ken., Hopkins, D., Gu, Q; brown, E & htaridou, E. (2011). Successful school leadership: Linking with learning and achievement. Mac Graw hill. Open University Press.
Elmi, M & Barzi, A, M. (2009). Investigating the Relationship between Managers' Management Style and Organizational Commitment of Buchanan Secondary Education Teachers. Sociology, No 3, Vol 1, 27-50.
Ghiyasvand, F. (2017). Investigating the external efficiency of educational management in Tehran universities. Al-Zahra University Master Thesis.
Hajipoorabaii, N & Abolghasemi, M. (2018). A study and comparison of Kerman high school management based on Tony Bush management model. School management, No 1, Vol 6, 62-81.
Heck, R. H & Hallinger, Ph. (1999). Next generation methods for the study of leadership and school improvement. In Murphy, J & Louis, K, S. (Eds). Handbook of research on educational administration (second edition). (141- 158). San Francisco, California: Jossey-bass.
Khodadadhussaini, S, H., Shahtahmasebi, S & Shamselahi, S. (2011). Explaining the position of ethnic diversity management: a forgotten factor of productivity in the country's macro-cultural management. Cultural Engineering, No 53, Vol 5, 44-59.
Maier, M. (2016). A quantitative examination of school leadership and response to intervention, Learning Disabilities Research & Practice,  Vol 31, No 2, 103–112.
Mazaher, L., Mohammadi, Sh., Ekradi, E., Parvin, E & Fazehi, H. (2017). Investigating the relationship between principals' decision-making styles and creativity and participatory management in middle schools. Innovation and creativity in the humanities, No 4, Vol 6, 171-196.
McClellan, J. E. (1969). Theory in Educational Administration. The School Review, Vol. 68, No. 2. 210-227.
Mirkamali, S, M., Damavandi, M. E & Elzami, E. (2015). Investigating the relationship between principals' leadership styles and organizational learning in schools. New educational ideas, No 3, Vol 11, 47-68.
Mohammadi, Sh., Kamal Kharazi, S. A. N., Kazemifard, M & Poorkarimi, J. (2016). Multicultural education management in Iran: A qualitative meta- analysis. School management, No 2, Vol 4, 87-107.
Moorosi, P & Bantwini, B. (2016). School district leadership styles and school improvement: evidence from selected school principals in the Eastern Cape Province.  South African Journal of Education, Volume 36, Number 4, 1-9.
Morgan, G. (2006). Images of organization. SAGE Publications.
Oplatka, I. (2010). The legacy of educational administration: A historical analysis of an academic field. Peter Lang.
Peker, S., Inandi, Y & Gilic, F. (2018). The relationship between leadership styles (autocratic and democratic) of school administrators and the mobbing teachers suffer. European Journal of Contemporary Education, Vol 7, No 1, 150-164.
Poorsoltani, H., Faraji, R & Allahyari, M. (2012). The relationship between leadership styles of school principals and motivational needs of physical education teachers according to McGregor theory. Research in sports management and motor behavior, No 4, Vol 2, 73-85.
Rahimian, H., Jahani Javanmardi, F &Nowrozi, M. (2012). Employment status of graduates of educational management in Allameh Tabatabai University. Management in Islamic university, No 2, Vol 16, 235-255.
Reza, T. (2001). Research on the causes of the tendency of educational staff of the Ministry of Education with other organizations and its relationship with the management of employment affairs of this organization. Master Thesis, University of Tehran.
Shrazi, A. (1994). Theories and applications of educational management: Introduction and principles. Mashhad: Jahad Daneshgahi.
Siadabaszadeh, M. (2001). A comparative study of the performance of educational managers graduating in the field of educational management with other managers in West Azerbaijan province. Al-Zahra University of Humanities, No 39, Vol 11, 95-124.
Tabari, Gh. (1993). Investigating the reasons for the tendency to transfer postgraduate and higher graduates from the Ministry of Education to the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education. Master Thesis in Management, University of Tehran.
Torani, H., Aghaii, A., Navehebrahim, A & Sadeghi, Z. (2012). A study of leadership styles of primary school principals in Tehran from the perspective of principals and teachers. Management on training organizations, No 1, Vol 1, 157-188.
Urick, A. (2016). Examining US principal perception of multiple leadership styles used to practice shared instructional leadership", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 54, Vol 2, 152 – 172. 
Yin, R. (2009). Case study research: design and methods. (Fourth edition). Los Angles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC: Sage.
Zaki, M, A., Godarzi, H & Sori, Z. (2015). Investigating the relationship between management style and organizational effectiveness. Organizational Behavior Studies, 5 (5), 149-172.
Volume 8, Issue 3
September 2020
Pages 126-95
  • Receive Date: 14 January 2020
  • Revise Date: 09 June 2020
  • Accept Date: 26 August 2020
  • First Publish Date: 22 September 2020