Leadership for self management : an investigation into evidence for transformational leadership in a primary school in Durban, South Africa.
During the apartheid era the South African education system was characterised as being authoritarian, non-consultative and non-participatory. Educational leadership tended to focus on technical and bureaucratic functions of management without integrating the skills of vision building, team building or promoting collaboration and participative management skills. The dawn of a democratic South Africa heralded major transformation in the education policies, systems and practices for all schools. The South African Schools Act places all South Africans firmly on the road to a school based system of education management. Educationalists were faced with a major challenge to transform education towards a participative and collaborative approach with the fundamental goal of promoting effective teaching and learning in all schools. The Task Team on Education Managements report, Changing Management to Manage Change 1996, emphasised that the move to self-management in itself offers no guarantee of positive change. Real transformation will depend upon the nature and quality of internal management. In this connection self-management must be accompanied by an internal devolution of power within the school and in transformational leadership. A transformational style of leadership is significant as this style of leadership embraces a charismatic, visionary, cultural and empowering concept of leadership. Emphasis is given to higher levels of personal commitment towards accomplishing the goals of the organisation. Evidence suggests that transformational leadership in particular is closely associated with both school effectiveness and school improvement (see Clark 1989) What is attempted is an assessment of the extent to which leadership in a primary school may be characterised as transformational. The mentioned school is substantially self-managing and is one which has clearly stated goals related to effectiveness and its mission implies an ongoing concern with continuing improvement. The main findings of the research exhibited a discrepancy between the principal's perception of his leadership style and the perception of the staff regarding the principal's leadership style. The principal perceived his role as leader as being more transformational than transactional while members of the staff believed that the principal was more a transactional leader.