TitleThe micropolitics of educational change experienced by novice public middle school principals
NameCaruso, Louis F. (author), Lugg, Catherine A (chair), Baker, Bruce D (internal member), Karpinski, Carol F (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School of Education,
SubjectEducational Administration and Supervision,
Middle school principals--Case studies,
DescriptionEvery public school displays its own life, social climate, organizational culture, and subsystems (Iannaccone, 1991). First or second year middle school principals often find themselves contributing to and navigating through one element of these social systems known as the micropolitics of education. Consequently, novice public middle school principals face the challenge of identifying key micropolitical structures and landscapes within their public schools, and have the daunting task of navigating internal micropolitical structures and interactions in relationship to external macropolitical structures, while negotiating educational change (Bacharach & Mundell, 1993; Hargreaves & Goodson, 2006; Willower, 1991). This year-long qualitative study detailed the lived experiences of two suburban novice middle school principals and documented their attempts to identify their micropolitical landscapes through seemingly open approaches, and lead within their environments to negotiate holistic educational change (Blase & Anderson, 1995). However, both novice middle school principals were unprepared to manage a period of decline in public education (Boyd, 1982). The principals relied on closed and conflictive leadership approaches, as typically peripheral macropolitical elements became central actors in their micropolitical landscapes (Marshall, Mitchell & Wirt, 1989). Consequently, formal hierarchies and structural vertical leadership styles were enforced through mandates, rewards and sanctions to ensure efficiency and compliance during implementation of school and district initiatives (Bolman & Deal, 2003; Scribner, Hager, & Warne, 2002). During periods of macropolitical ambiguity and uncertainty, each principal relied on coercive tactics to limit and control teachers‟ social interactions during grade-level team meetings, and access to micropolitical structures, which decided who got what, when and how. As communicative networks became inaccessible, teachers grew apathetic and disengaged from administrative decisions and requests to promote holistic educational change. During current budgetary and economic decline, suburban novice middle school principals need to understand how their decisions impact existing micropolitical social structures. Novice principals also must be much more attuned to macropolitical policies and mandates, and be more sophisticated at conceptual thinking, and transforming the organization through people and teams (Fullan, 2007).
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
CollectionGraduate School of Education Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.