On framing headmasters leadership training for leading socially complex, processual and emergent organization

Sören Augustinsson, Stefan Särnholm-Ericsson

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragSammanfattning (abstract)


Aims and objectives:

If leadership and organization are in constant flux, what are the consequences for the design of headmaster leadership training? 


What do leaders do, why do they do it the way they do it, and how is what we call organizing done? Starting on the educational design track should begin with a deep understanding of what leadership and organizing mean in practice, but neither with the illusion about what happens, nor the illusion of what should happen. 


Leadership training for headmasters and preschool heads at Linnaeus University in Sweden has been the starting point of testing the ontological approach to organization as flux. As background material we used focus group interviews with the participants after the completion of the course. In our paper, however, we limit ourselves for reasons of space to evaluating an experiment containing a new design of the Whats and Hows of the headmaster leadership course, comprising two groups with 50 participants each. The starting point was the flux of [the] practice. 


The evaluations from both occasions show surprisingly great similarities. In all answers, superlatives are frequent in the assessment of the days of training and their contribution to the participants’ practice.  The evaluations also contain criticism. However, one conclusion is that a course that makes use of the social complexity, flux and organizational becoming has a chance of making an impact on the participants’ practising. Preliminary results also demonstrate that a course which is adapted to the notion of leadership and organization involving flux can also be experienced as meaningful and useful, as has also been confirmed by management research. 


Our conclusion about  management education programs is that  the starting point ought to be a/ an understanding of organizing as social complexity, b/ flux, emergent and organizational becoming, c/ what leadership ‘may be in practice’ ,and d/ participants’ experiences of social complexity and leadership as practising. In addition to including knowledge based on management and organizing as flux (What), the education should also be designed in a way which at least partly resembles the participants’ practice. Thus, the How and What of the course are related to the character of the practice.  The result may have possible effects on the latter, although research shows that this is hard to achieve.  It seems at least that the results are better than if illusions about the practice are allowed to guide the educational contents (What and How). Furthermore, since the practice has the character of flux, parts of the education should also be designed with this in mind (How). Besides, the insight that each participant and each activity is unique, at least in detail and in the long run, should have consequences for the design of the What and How of the training. Academic leadership education with its traditions must incorporate flux and organizational becoming in the choice of literature, lectures, learning situations and examination.  

StatusPublicerad - 2014
EvenemangNERA 42nd Congress. Education for Sustainable Development, Lillehammer 5-7 mars -
Varaktighet: 1980-jan.-01 → …


KonferensNERA 42nd Congress. Education for Sustainable Development, Lillehammer 5-7 mars
Period80-01-01 → …

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