Decision making as an activity of school leadership : a case study.
Moodley, Ronnie Velayathum.
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this enquiry is to explore how leadership and decision-making was practiced across various school structures. The research focuses on the practice of decision making as an element of distributed leadership, its degree of distribution, as well as its development and enhancement. In focusing on decision-making, the challenges experienced by both the school management as well level one educators in the advancement of distributed decision making is documented. The study was conducted within a qualitative interpretive paradigm and took the form of a case study of the enactment of decision making in a suburban primary school in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Data collection techniques employed included openended questionnaires, observations, semi -structured individual interviews and a focus group interview. Data was analysed using thematic content analysis. Significant themes that emerged from the data were the availability of structures and its enhancing or inhibiting properties for shared decision, the principal as an enabler or disabler of distributed leadership, the SMT’s support for shared decision making, further strategies to enhance shared decision making and the challenges to decision making. Gunter’s (2005) characterisation of distributed leadership served as analytical tools in this study. My findings revealed that there were a number of decision making structures within the school and the school milieu encouraged the enactment of shared decision making. The transformational leadership approach of the SMT and more especially the principal acted as a catalyst for shared decision making. Despite ample evidence that decision making was shared, the situation sometimes resulted in the authoritarian approach being the default position. Further to this, the data sets indicated that decision making and leadership was widely dispersed; however, the emergent characteristic of dispersed leadership, while present, was not optimally operational. The involvement of the majority of teachers in shared decision making was in the form of authorised distributed leadership. The SMT transformational agenda of inclusion of all educators and the deliberate orchestration of opportunities to empower educators encapsulated the democratic distributed leadership characteristic. Teachers’ expansive or restricted level of participation in decision making was situational. This outcome was used to conceptualise a framework for the level of participation in decision making. Despite, an enabling environment, there were some challenges to shared decision making. These challenges, in the main, were a lack of peer support, self-imposed barriers such as lack of confidence, a lack of support structures from the DoE and time constraints. Finally the study presented propositions for the further enhancement and strengthening of the decision making process in the case school as well as recommendations for further research. No doubt, the case school has embraced the tenets of our democracy and has made substantial inroads into creating a shared vision, through shared participation.