Succeeding Leaders? A study of principal succession and sustainability

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1 Succeeding Leaders? A study of principal succession and sustainability Andy Hargreaves (Boston College) Shawn Moore, Dean Fink, Carol Brayman, Robert White (OISE/UT) August 2003 Funded by the Ontario Principals Council

2 I Introduction Overview This report presents evidence and analysis on the nature and impact of principal succession (the departure of one principal and the arrival of another), and of principal rotation (the widespread provincial practice of rotating principals regularly, usually about every five years, between different schools) in Ontario secondary schools. The report points to principal succession and rotation as an extremely important but, in research terms, relatively neglected aspect of educational leadership particularly in terms of the impact of leadership over time on sustainable and not just short-term improvement. Succession and rotation gain heightened importance at times of rapid turnover in the principalship as is now the case in Ontario schools. In this report, we outline the objectives, design and conceptual framework of our research, then review the literature and research relevant to the study. This includes the scant literature on principal succession and rotation in particular, along with relevant literature on the career development of school principals and on the importance attached to succession planning outside education. In the core of our report, we present four cases of principal rotation and succession and their impact on principals and their schools, then follow this with an analysis of key issues that spread across all four schools. We conclude our report with recommendations for policy changes in principal development, school development and succession planning procedures. 1

3 The Significance of Succession One of the most significant influences on school improvement is the quality of school leadership (Leithwood et al. 1994). The leadership of a school shapes the school s character (Sergiovanni 2000), orchestrates people s efforts within it, sets a common direction, and establishes the expectations for student achievement as well as the means and the motivation to achieve them (Murphy 1994). Along with the quality of teaching and teachers, the quality of leadership is the key human factor that shapes the future of all students and the fortunes of everyone in schools (Starratt, 1993). Leadership is, in many ways, our first and last hope for successful school change. Our understanding of what leadership is and how it is achieved has been limited, though. In education, leadership has tended to be equated with the actions of administratively senior individuals particularly principals and vice-principals (Leithwood et al. 1999). Heroic leaders who turn failing schools around are the ones who stand out most strongly in media images or in the public imagination. It is transformational leaders more than transformational leadership that get the greatest attention in leadership research (Gronn, 1996). The emerging research on teacher leadership (Hannay et al., 2001; Harris, 2003; Little 1987) and student leadership (Fielding, 2001; Levin, 2000) is beginning to broaden this understanding of how educational leadership extends beyond the principals office. The important idea of distributed or distributive leadership draws attention to how leadership spreads across an organization, without at the same time denying or diminishing the importance of the principal s role within this overall distribution (Spillane et al. 2001; Crowther et al 2002). The principal s influence is important precisely because it intersects with and, at its best, galvanizes the leadership efforts of others across space. While principals often feel alone, their actions and efforts are always influencing and influenced by others. Just as principals are not isolated in space, their impact is not frozen in time either. Principals impact on their schools is greatly influenced by people they have often 2

4 never met those who have died, or moved on to other institutions, or not yet even arrived. These are principals predecessors and successors; the principals of the school s past, and the principals who have yet to come. Principals may be unaware of the other links in the leadership chain or they may be painfully reminded of them - Principal Skinner never did it this way or The children just adored Principal Jones but whether they are aware of it or not, principals stand on the shoulders of those who went before them and lay the foundations for those who will follow. Leadership is distributed over time as well as space. It is a long-term process, not a snapshot event. Sustainable improvement that matters and that lasts depends on understanding and managing this process of leading over time. Quick fix changes to turn around failing schools often exhaust the teachers or the principal so the improvement efforts cannot be sustained over time. The principal s success in a turnaround school may lead to his or her own rapid promotion, then regression among teachers who feel abandoned by their leader or relieved when the pressure is off. Sustainable improvement and the contribution of principals to it must be measured over many years, not just one or two. What legacy do principals leave on their departure? What capacities have they created among students, community and staff that will live beyond them? How can and should others build on what has been achieved? These questions of leadership over time, are specifically questions of leadership succession. For individual principals themselves, leadership succession challenges them to think about whom they have succeeded, what were their achievements, what business they left unfinished, and where they have fallen short. It is a challenge of deciding what to continue and what to change, of recognizing the legacies that have to be honoured and the work that has yet to be done. Leadership succession also challenges individual leaders to consider how the improvements they have guided or have yet to initiate will live on after their promotion, retirement or death. 3

5 For the individual leader, successful leadership succession calls forth qualities of humility and arrogance. What improvements depend uniquely on the leader s own gifts and qualities? Are there some things that no-one does better than the leader, and should they be initiated if they are unlikely to survive the leader s departure? Conversely, what can principals do to ensure that improvement endures beyond their own tenure, to develop capacity among others so they can become as gifted as their leaders and can build on their efforts? There is a dark, Frasier-like corner in the soul of most leaders that secretly wants their own brilliance never to be surpassed, that hopes their successors will be a little less excellent, a little less loved than themselves (Salzberger-Wittenberg et al., 1983). Moral leadership does not deny these feelings, but rises above them for the good of others. Coming to grips with leadership succession means moving beyond leaders darkest desires for and delusions of indispensability, in order to help build success that endures long after the individual leader has left. Few people are more aware of the impact of leadership succession than the teachers who experience processions of leaders coming through their school. For most members of the organization, a leadership succession event is often an emotionally charged one surrounded with feelings of expectation, apprehension, abandonment, loss, relief or even fear. There may be grieving for well-loved leaders who have retired or died, feelings of abandonment regarding leaders who are being promoted and moving on, or relief when teachers are finally rid of principals who are self-serving, controlling or incompetent. Incoming principals may be viewed as threats to a comfortable school culture, or as saviours of ones that are toxic. Whatever the response, leadership succession events are rarely treated with indifference they are crucial to the ongoing success of the school. In many schools, however, leadership succession is not an episodic event or an unexpected exception. It is a regular and recurring part of the life of the school. In these circumstances, teachers sometimes develop long-term responses to the repeated and 4

6 predictable process of succession in general, as well as to specific moments of leadership succession in particular. For these teachers, succession feels more like a procession (MacMillan 2000). They may develop cynicism towards change efforts, devise strategies to wait their principals out, exploit changes of direction for their own ends, or become determined to survive a poor principalship in the almost certain hope that a better one will soon follow. Leadership succession may be a relative mystery or a passing concern to many individual leaders, but it is a way of life to large numbers of public school teachers. Principal rotation formalizes and regularizes the occurrence of leadership succession in schools. Principal rotation is a widespread policy and practice in many Ontario school districts, usually of an unwritten nature. The origins of and reasons for principal rotation in Ontario school districts are currently unclear although the practice first seemed to emerge around the time of the impact of school effectiveness research on Ontario schools in the mid to late 1980 s. One of the findings of school effectiveness research (albeit in circumstances of voluntary promotion rather than administratively regulated transfer) was that principals appeared to reach their peak of effectiveness between five and seven years in a school (Mortimore et al 1988). This finding seemed to turn into an embedded administrative belief in many Ontario school districts, underpinning the initiation of a practice to rotate principals regularly among schools about every five years Widespread and predictable principal rotation has significant consequences for the management and impact of leadership succession: the process that marks the departure of one leader and the entry of his or her successor. Rotation can have both desirable and undesirable effects on the individual principal, or the school that principals enter and leave, and on the school district as a whole. For the district, rotation holds out the promise of being able to manage school improvement across the whole district and of developing its pool of leadership skills and capacities over time. Principals, with their 5

7 varied skills and styles, can be shrewdly matched to a school s improvement needs at a particular point in time. Districts may assign a wise head to settle down a school in turmoil, a change agent to jolt a school out of its complacency, a collaborative and caring principal to heal a toxic teacher culture, or a tireless and persistent reformer to lift a school out of failure. Principals can also be moved around to deepen and broaden their leadership experience with schools of different sizes, serving different students, or in varying communities. Rotation can benefit the school as well as the district succeeding a hyperactive change agent with a leader who can avoid staff burnout and consolidate the changes that have been made, or assigning a school an outstanding principal where its incumbent had become tired or ill or out of step with the school s community. Rotation can also benefit the individual, creating opportunities to develop new skills and experience new challenges, especially at later points in the career where principals might otherwise be at risk of becoming jaded or complacent (Aquila, 1989; Boesse, 1991). Principal rotation can also create problems as well as opportunities for the district, the school and the individual. Sometimes, this is because the needs of these different groups are contradictory or unavoidably in tension. Rotation that is beneficial for a principal s professional growth may be detrimental to the culture of an innovative school. Succession that turns around a failing school may push a principal to the point of burnout. A cruising school, where teachers are content, will not embrace change with a principal coasting to retirement or with a new principal who has no experience in stirring up a stagnant environment. Rotation policies that are expedient for districts in terms of managing the whole district may not be relevant to the aspirations and capacities of individual principals. Teachers in some schools may become disillusioned with frequent principal rotation that repeatedly interrupts the school s efforts to improve or that fails to respect or understand the school s historic mission. The knowledge, style and change agenda of one principal may contradict those of a predecessor, causing the teacher culture to switch off or polarize in the face of change. Similarly, while assigning a charismatic 6

8 principal to a failing or low performing school may benefit the new school, teachers in the school the principal has left may feel betrayed or abandoned. Principal rotation policy therefore has important consequences for the nature and effects of leadership succession over time on individuals, schools and districts. These effects are interconnected and sometimes contradictory. It is vital that the needs and interests of school districts, schools and individual leaders themselves are all properly considered and understood in any evaluation of the benefits and drawbacks of principal rotation as a way of trying to manage the process of leadership succession. These issues are especially important at a time when the rate of principal succession is accelerating, due to a massive demographic turnover in the principalship as the boomer generation of school leaders reaches retirement, and as many incumbent principals have moved their retirement date forward in the context of Ontario s educational reform. According to a survey commissioned by the Ontario Principals' Council, 1900 public schools will see their principals retire in the next three years (Williams 2001). Those currently in the role are struggling to keep up with all the changes brought about by the provincial government, making it difficult to attract new high-achieving school leaders "By 2005, 60 per cent of principals and 30 per cent of vice-principals in Ontario's school districts will have retired," (Williams, 2001). The study also uncovered a number of factors that current school leaders cite as making the role difficult or unattractive. All 946 study participants noted that the number one dissatisfier to the role is the pace and number of changes brought about by the provincial government. Coupled with this is the lack of adequate resources to implement these changes. The identification and training of high calibre replacements will become a crucial issue for school districts across the province. Unless plans are made now, even if the ranks of retired principals and vice-principals are filled by 2005, new principals will be 7

9 ill-equipped to handle the growing responsibilities of the role. Yet our evidence in parallel research on the impact of reform on Ontario secondary schools is that almost 90% of secondary school teachers and department heads now feel less inclined than they once did to take up opportunities for leadership (Hargreaves, 2003). In summary, the impending demographic disaster of leadership recruitment and retention in Ontario schools makes this an especially appropriate time to investigate the nature and impact of principal rotation and succession in the context of standards-based reform and rapid demographic turnover in the profession. Objectives This report presents the findings of our study of principal rotation and leadership succession in a small number of Ontario secondary schools. The study looks at the experience and impact of rotation and succession on principals as individuals and on the schools in which they worked through a series of four case studies. A further phase of this project will also examine the experience and effects of rotation and succession within the wider school district. The objectives of the study were to: examine the principal rotation/succession process in relation to the school administrator s changing role and responsibilities in times of standards-based reform, educational restructuring and rapid demographic change. document the origins, development and effects of principal rotation/succession policies in two large school districts in the current context of mandated educational reform and demographic change. elicit senior administrators assumptions about leadership effectiveness underlying principal rotation/succession policy and practice 8

10 identify the impact and implications of succession on individual leaders, on institutions and on school districts formulate policy recommendations regarding principal rotation/succession. prepare an article for the Ontario Principals Council magazine and produce other published outputs. Design and Analysis Our work in year one involved a re-analysis of an existing data set of principal and teacher interviews in six secondary school case studies, drawn from two ongoing research projects in two large school districts in Ontario. 1 We also completed an extensive, multi-layered review of the literature on succession theory, practice and policy within and beyond education as well as literature on the relationship between the succession process and the sustainability of organizational change and improvement. Our analysis of rotation and succession focused on individual and school levels of change. At the individual level, we used four representative case studies to trace principals' experiences of rotation as they moved from one school to another, to examine the different forms of knowledge that principals brought to and gained from the succession experience, and to see how the process of succession varied in relation to the career stage of the principal undergoing it. At the school level, we concentrated on whether rotation was planned or unplanned and whether it created continuity or discontinuity between one principal and 1 One project was funded by the Spencer Foundation -- Change over time?: A study of culture, structure, time and change in secondary schooling (Hargreaves & Goodson, 2003). A second study was jointly funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Peel District Board of Education -- Secondary School Reform: The experiences and interpretations of teachers and administrators in six Ontario secondary schools (Hargreaves et al 2002). 9

11 the next. The implications of succession for sustainable improvement across schools over time are also discussed at this level. 10

12 II The Literature of Rotation and Succession 1. Leadership Succession Within Education Introduction In the 1980s, senior administrators in many school districts in Ontario initiated some form of principal rotation policy. 2 The rationale for such policy is based, in part, on "unquestioned beliefs" about how principals grow as professional administrators and the effects of principal management style on school culture (Ogawa, 1991). Superintendents justify the use of principal rotation on the grounds that it "rejuvenates" administrators who reach their peak of effectiveness after 5-7 years in a school (Rebhun, 1995; Boesse, 1991; Mortimore et al 1988). District level administrators also try to match principals' skills with the perceived needs of specific schools (Davidson & Taylor, 1999). For example, schools embarking on high-profile changes are often assigned charismatic leaders who can draw excellent people to them, create a shared vision and establish commitment and loyalty (Hargreaves and Fink, 2000; Davidson & Taylor, 1998; Fauske & Ogawa, 1983). However, Firestone (1990) and Miskel & Cosgrove (1984) claim that research evidence does not support the notion that planned principal rotation is an effective way to bring about sustainable organizational change. Miskel & Owens (1983) studied principal succession in 89 schools in a Midwestern state (37 schools with new and 52 with continuing principals) and found no evidence that organizational effectiveness was affected one way or the other. 2 Typically, this involves either a principal-initiated request for transfer or a superintendent-initiated recommendation that a principal be transferred. Although often an informal and unwritten practice, in one of the districts participating in this study principal transfer was a formal process involving the submission of a transfer request to central office. 11

13 While rotation policy may be perceived as a rational process of planned improvement at the district level, administrators and teachers often experience succession as perplexing, disruptive or even capricious. Moreover, traditional practices of principal rotation now operate in a climate of deepening crisis in leadership in the public education system as the result of escalating attrition and turnover rates (National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform, 2002; Association of California School Administrators, 2001; Educational Research Service, 1998). Recently in Ontario, as in the U.S., teachers' sense of continuity and security has been eroded because of growing instabilities in school leadership brought on by a large cohort of retiring principals, depletion of the leadership pool, an accelerating rate of principal succession and school districts which still administer rotation policy in a disorganized, "haphazard" or "serendipitous" way by just letting events such as promotions or retirements dictate transitions (Quinn, 2002; Fenwick, 2000; Tye, 2000; Cohen & Packer, 1994). These uncertainties also seem to have changed the way that the roles, motivations and capacities of school administrators are perceived (Weindling & Earley, 1987). We will now examine this empirical and conceptual literature on principal rotation and succession from the perspective of principals, then in terms of how teachers experience succession. Finally, our review of the educational literature points to gaps in the knowledge base about rotation and succession and the kinds of studies that are needed to address them. The Principal s Frame of Reference Principals new to their school are often preoccupied with establishing their legitimacy and authority with faculty, students, parents and staff. Some principals focus more on control rather than on curriculum matters by imposing their own vision upon the 12

14 school and by delegating responsibilities instead of empowering staff (Parkay, Currie & Rhodes, 1992; Merton, 1968; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). Task-oriented principals encounter more difficulties in gaining faculty support than person-oriented principals who demonstrate concern for staff and are able to gain faculty trust sooner (Noonan and Goldman, 1995). Others may take too long to learn about their new school before they take action, in which case on-the-job training results in lost ground that may never be regained before the principal is transferred again (Davidson and Taylor, 1999). Principals new to their school encounter tensions with faculty when they do not understand the professional culture or respect the "ghosts" and "heroes" from past school history and lore (Rooney, 2000). According to Talbot (2000, p. 1), Although principal succession experiences are often seen as singular events principal assignments can be viewed as ongoing processes that involve the beliefs and expectations of the new principal, as well as the school's organizational needs and expectations. Because almost all new administrators begin their roles as a successor, it is important that prospective school leaders understand leadership succession. Not all principals are new to their schools. When staff are appointed in "acting" positions as a result of the sudden, unexpected departure of their incumbent leader, the role of principal can be totally unfamiliar to them. Such acting administrators may find themselves simply "holding the fort" with little expectation of long-term appointment or responsibility for school progress (Draper & McMichael, 2003). By comparison, school administrators who have previously been working as principals elsewhere are not at all novices devoid of insights when they enter their new school. They bring prior experience, or what Wenger (1998) calls inbound knowledge of leadership to their new setting. How does this affect their approach to their leadership? MacMillan (1993) addressed this question in a study of principal succession 13

15 in relation to principals career stages (new, mid-career, and senior). The study s design involved five secondary schools in Ontario chosen in two districts that had developed polices of planned principal rotation. The sample included interviews with 29 teachers in contexts where a new principal had been appointed within the last two years. Findings indicated that as principals gained succession experience they tended to focus more intently on a here-and-now approach to problem-solving and took fewer risks. One senior principal in MacMillan s study, for example, retreated from risk taking, disengaged himself from innovation and left the role of visionary to a vice-principal (see also Hargreaves & Fink 2002). The implication of this study is that the greater the principals experience with succession, the less inclined they are to assert themselves as change agents in their new school environment. Day & Bakioglu s (1996) study of principals/headteachers in England corroborates MacMillan s findings that career stages are linked to leadership attitude, style and effectiveness. They identify four career stages that are relevant to and have implications for succession planning and principal rotation. In the Initiation stage (years 1 through 4) principals tend to be idealistic, enthusiastic and accessible. This passion for their work extends into their second Development career phase (between four and eight years). During this period, principals express self-confidence, constructive self-questioning, increasing effectiveness as leaders and willingness to implement imposed reforms. The Autonomy phase follows when principals begin the shift into maintenance mode that initiates a process of gradual intellectual and emotional withdrawal. Principals reach a plateau of Disenchantment in phase four when professional development slows, tolerance levels for work stress and pressure declines and aging takes its toll on stamina and motivation. Day & Bakioglu conclude that professional reassessment and strategic support are most critical in stages three and four when principal leadership effectiveness tends to decline. 14

16 Reeves, Moos & Forrest (1998) conducted a transnational study of school leadership that involved interviewing twenty-nine headteachers representing the UK, Denmark and Scotland. They identified eight stages in the development of a head's career, each of which was linked to "qualitative changes in school leaders experience and orientation to practice (Reeves et al. 1997). In the first three stages: Pre-entry ("The Warm Up"), 0-6 months ("Entry") and 6 months to 1 year ("Digging the Foundations"), the leader gets his or her bearings and the school takes measure of its new leader. In stage 4 ("Taking Action", 9 months - 2 years), stage 5 ("Getting Above the Floor Level", 18 months - 3 years) and stage 6 ("The Crunch", 2-5 years) the headteacher's engagement with change is more substantial in terms of beliefs and values. The leader then enters stage 7 ("Reaching the Summit", 4-10 years) and stage 8 ("Time for a Change", years). In these later career stages, sustaining interest, enthusiasm and effectiveness become paramount issues (Ashley & Krug, 1998). Others have proposed similar models of career development among administrators (Hart & Weindling, 1996) and other educators (Huberman, 1993; Sikes et al., 1985). In addition to principal succession varying according to the principal s career stage, principals new to a school many also encounter any of a variety of school cultures that may be welcoming, indifferent or closed. Yet, a few researchers have identified some generalizable patterns. Stine (1998), for example, examined succession from the principal s perspective in a single school case study by collecting interview data from two district-level administrative employees, two site-level administrative employees and other school staff. Information was also collected through journal entries, observations, and documentary analysis of faculty meeting minutes, memos to staff and a strategic plan. Stine s study portrays the principal's philosophy of dialogue - how he took control, the steps that went into formulating an action plan for the school, and statements from staff members regarding the school's transformation. The author framed the principal s experience through Gabarro s (1987) five stages of leadership succession (taking hold; immersion; reshaping; consolidation; and refinement) and concluded that 15

17 effective principals are visionaries who accurately diagnose their school s problems, form a management team with shared expectations and initiate changes in a timely way. Stage theories can be particularly useful for understanding school administrators and others experience of succession as a historical process of change over time rather than simply a snapshot event. In addition to Gabarro, other succession stage theories have been proposed by Hart (1993) who formulates three socialization phases (encounter stage; adjustment and accommodation and stabilization), Miskel and Owen (1983) who consider pre-arrival factors, arrival factors and indicators of succession effects and Gordon and Rosen (1981) who identify three stages (pre-succession, succession and postsuccession). The value of such models is that they map out succession as a process with distinct phases and demands, rather than a singular event. The Teachers Frame of Reference Leaders always influence their teachers either by design or default. Leaders may be revered or reviled by their teachers - but rarely are they an object of mere indifference. Teachers have the power to sabotage a new principal s efforts to make deep changes to school culture. Among the many ways that teachers evaluate the effects of succession on their school, one of the most significant is how succession affects their capacity to maintain control over their work environment. Johnson & Licata (1995) examined the perceptions of 3,067 teachers of the effectiveness of successors compared to 73 prior principals and concluded that administrators new to a school need to build confidence in their leadership quickly but not autocratically at the expense of teachers professional autonomy. From a teachers perspective, MacMillan (2000) reports on additional findings from his 1993 doctoral study indicating that succession which is intended to improve 16

18 school climate and performance may actually be destabilizing, polarizing and regressive. According to MacMillan, the seeming impenetrability of the school culture to entering principals is often a consequence of rotation policy itself, especially when the term of rotation is short (e.g., less than three years). In such a scenario, each new principal is temporarily tolerated and accommodated without teachers agreeing to or complying with the leader s change agenda. Teachers also begin to question whether principals allegiances are to their school or to their own career advancement as they rotate through the district and there is the risk that faculty increasingly perceive principals as less like colleagues and more like middle managers of unwanted external mandates. When succession is sudden and unplanned a school can find itself in a state of organizational crisis. Cohen & Packer (1994) examined the impact of a principal s abrupt resignation after only one year of the school s participation in Missouri's Accelerated Schools Project. Data were obtained through document analysis, field notes, and interviews with 12 faculty on staff during the transition, two newcomers, and one teacher who transferred to another school. The authors suggested that entering principals must quickly learn to build on the faculty s vision and strengths by means of shared decisionmaking and teacher empowerment. The quality of the principal-teacher relationship, the principal's commitment to the instructional process and his or her concern for teacher and student development were also critical transition factors. Succession experiences and requirements may also differ according to the stages of the school s development along a path of improvement and effectiveness. Drawing on many years of experience and research in school improvement, Hopkins (2001) identifies schools as being at one of three developmental stages each of which sets different agendas and requires different actions from entering principals. Schools at the highest levels of success and development, Hopkins says, need entering principals who endorse and further extend the school s strengths, celebrating successes, networking teachers with their peers elsewhere and providing other kinds of stimulating enrichment. Schools that 17

19 are moderately successful, by contrast, need principals who can work with the staff to develop and clarify the school s vision, who can provide stronger professional collaboration and who can secure the necessary training and establish processes for basing teaching decisions on evidence of student performance that will push and support the staff to improve over time. In schools that are not successful and that are actively struggling, Hopkins argues that entering principals will need to be much more directive creating a sense of urgency about and responsibility for problems and failures of teaching and learning, confronting dysfunctional aspects of the teacher culture, insisting on establishing discipline and order among students, and ensuring that effective planning and other basic areas of competence are met by the school s staff. Case studies indicate that the outcomes of principal rotation can be highly unpredictable, especially when succession is involuntary. Sometimes principal succession can relieve internal problems that have built up to the point where a school administrator has lost credibility and is no longer able to manage effectively. However, principal rotation can also precipitate resistance and even rebellion by staff who feel that an injustice has been done to them and their school. Takahashi (1998), for example, describes the actions that led up to a school district reassigning a popular principal, the outcry that followed, how the school was divided, how parents, faculty, and students demanded a recall of the board members who voted to reassign the principal and how a culture of suspicion came to dominate interactions. In the end, another principal who was seen as a "healer" was able to reunite the school community by allowing herself to be "defined by the school. Hart (1993, p. 10) argues that by overemphasizing the study of leaders as single, self-conscious and self-actualizing people, one runs the risk of missing major components of the succession process. According to Hart, the key to unpacking the flow of succession events lies in understanding this socialization process. Her two case studies one from the perspective of faculty and one from the perspective of an "outsider" new 18

20 principal illustrate how principal succession is a process of organizational socialization of the new leader into the school culture by the staff. From this perspective, the new leader is inducted into school culture by means of socialization tactics, stages, contexts and outcomes. In her first case, faculty moved through four phases of succession: looking ahead, enchantment, disenchantment and equilibrium. Staff reacted to the retirement of their principal with detachment partly because they were not included in selecting a successor and partly because they believed that a change in principal would have little impact on the school. Nevertheless, some teachers were fearful they might lose their independence as a result of succession. Enchantment set in with the entry of the handsome new insider principal who impressed staff as friendly, engaging and interested in responding to their concerns. They came to believe that he would provide the leadership and unity for which they hoped. As time went on, enchantment turned to disenchantment, as the principal became preoccupied with what faculty considered to be trivial changes. Staff also became suspicious that the new principal was behind the transfer of a well-loved secretary and there was a growing fear of retribution if they disagreed with his opinions. Eventually, faculty isolated themselves in their classrooms from a principal they believed was simply biding his time. In a second case, Hart turned her attention to an outsider s experience of being socialized into a school culture. Dr. Howard, fresh with her doctoral degree in hand, entered her new school under a cloud of faculty suspicion that she had been brought in to clean house. She was perceived as too theory oriented and lacked the commitment and experience necessary to run a junior high school. Howard became aware of doubts about her leadership and scheduled a series of meetings with parents and teachers to discuss their views, concerns and expectations. Howard s school improvement agenda was to provide instructional leadership but she also realized that the trust and cooperation of teachers would be essential before they would consent to change existing 19

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