Power, Conflict, and Coalition
The process of organizational capacity enhancing requires a complex approach based on strategy improvement knowledge and its further implementation, which includes human factor. Arcadia Montessori School is an old establishment that deserves attention from the new-coming person ready to participate in its growth. Considering the present strategy and goals of this school, there are some obvious omissions, which do not fulfil the requirements of local community. Consequently, it is important to innovate institutional and HR-capacity of the establishment. This paper provides critical analysis of Arcadia Montessori Schools management and gives five recommendations on how to improve the development of social responsibility sector and social integration of physically disabled children.
Organizational Direction, Strategic Goals and Internal Cultural Norms
Arcadia Montessori School was established in 1972, when Judy Pemberton was ready for a better way to educate children (Arcadia Montessori School, n. d., n. p.). The organizations profile is rather traditional, and it remains so within the limits of management and staff members constant habits. Assessing beliefs, values, vision, and mission of school in terms of its present policy, one can make few personal notes comparing the existing state and possible improvements. One can also express the missions key idea using the following words: Good lives, made by good examples. It is accurate and well-formulated slogan, which needs no changes (Arcadia Montessori School, n. d., n. p.). There is a balance in Arcadia Montessoris values standards that promote the principle of learning through experience. Though, the schools basic principles are independence, concentration, and self-motivation. Its vision is not defined clearly yet, but being at the top-position requires formulation of strategic perspective that can direct staff to common goal. To personal consideration, an equal sustainable development of personality for future prosperity postulate can be a part of this vision. Analyzing the organizations internal cultural norms, one should notice that Arcadia Montessori School supports principles of equal educational access and human rights and freedoms protection. In this case, there are no reasons to make differences between children and co-workers considering their origin, beliefs or social status.
Place New Order
In a new strategic plan that includes development of social responsibility sector and integration of physically disabled children into society, the suggestion to choose a new leader will improve the marketing strategys cultural direction, which concentrates on advancing public empathy as well as creating mobile educational and entertaining platform in the community. According to Huyse, Since so many companies are starting to mix causes into their online marketing efforts, it is more important than ever that they choose causes that align with their mission and culture (2011, p. 5). Hence, the school requires only singular innovative improvements, and one of the valuable mechanisms in the process of implementing them is changing convergent mindset into divergent one. According to Palmer and Kaplan (2012), the divergent mode lies at the heart of the Strategic Innovation approach. It is open-ended, exploratory, and inquisitive, deploys non-traditional, creative thinking and future visioning techniques (p. 10). Hence, usage of divergent approach in renovating and innovating of cultural norms is able to improve organizational and institutional capacity of school as well as fulfil the communitys requirements in present time perspective.
Mintzbergs Structural Configurations at the Arcadia Montessori School
Henry Mintzberg defines three main features that differentiate organizations: the key part of the organization, the prime coordinating mechanism, and the type of decentralization used (Lunenburg, 2012, p. 1). Appealing to further exploring of organizations inner parts such as the strategic appendix, operative core, middle line, technostructure, and support staff, one can find it appropriate to compare this type of division to the Arcadia Montessori School in the following way. The components below belong to five structural configurations of Mintzbergs theory: simple structure; machine bureaucracy; professional bureaucracy; divisionalized form; adhocracy (Lunenburg, 2012, p. 4).
The simple structure is the highest line of the management that is fully responsible for strategy implementation. This part is able to improve the working process essentially using the links between employees as the tool for development of working skills and communication line between different departments. Without effective strategic apex (the key part of the simple structure), the organization will not be able to modernize and review its programs and inner policy according to the requirements of time. Arcadia Montessori School is one of the oldest educational establishments of this type, so its management orients to the needs of community known before. However, when changing the strategy on the top-level, one should take into account a wide specter of the school visitors characteristics (means he/she can direct the organizations activity on children with special needs and create a half-social community project).
The teachers compound the basis of professional bureaucracy, which is also called an operative core. There are individual staff tasks and programs for every age group in the school: kindergarten, pre-school, and toddlers. To personal opinion, Arcadia welcomes the employees to initiate different innovative events in order to make an organization more socialized. In addition, it is important that the operative core members attend different training courses to improve their qualification and popularize professional exchange including the one with foreign Montessori schools. The principal, who is the middle line of school and represents a part of Mintzbergs divisionalized form, is an important link between the strategic appendix and operative core of the organization. His main aim is to implement effectively the strategic tasks on the local level and elevate the quality of educational service. He or she executes a lot of administrative work and is supposed to control the deadlines of events and projects as well as participate in finding solutions of extraordinary problems. Except divisionalized structure, the middle line can involve investments and, in perspective, become a part of strategic appendix as a competent subject in the process of defining and resolving the local needs.
Machine bureaucracy in technostructure and additional supplies of Arcadia Montessori School is small and slightly visible. The role of this structure in the organization belongs to educational analysts and commissions, investors, planners, and managers. Along with the support staff, which is the basis of adhocracy, it is on the same level as technostructure (machine bureaucracy) and the middle line (divisionalized form). Technical structure is responsible for providing additional supplies that have no direct impact on the activities, but it is impossible to maintain the management process without them. In Arcadia Montessori School, one can divide the role of support staff between several stakeholders with direct or indirect interests. The ones with the direct interest are those who get financial or material benefits from supplying necessary materials or providing services (for example, water sanitation, food delivery, and engineering works). The indirect interest of the support staff is the one that has no exact benefits to them, but is rather based on personal attraction or charitable will (for instance, donations, small financial sponsorship, and volunteering).
Historical Influences on Leadership Behavior
In the historical context, one can notice constant and direct influence on the leadership principles. Majorly, the contingency approach has played defining role in leadership policy changing the chiefs behavioral approach. Despite all, the existing tendency in school shows that the leader has slowly transformed into program development manager who is not necessarily supposed to demonstrate his or her leadership all the time. In Montessori school, the supervision is strongly democratic and involves an opportunity for subordinates to make qualified decisions when it is necessary.
Leadership is a process when one individual influences his surrounding directing people to the achievements of their organizations goals. In Arcadia Montessori School, the formal leadership is a social process, and it belongs to principal who is managing the working activities and guarantees proper implementation of the strategic plan. Since the school was founded soon after war, in times of elevated social value of democracy and freedom of voice, the administration applied to deep acceptance of traditional Montessoris principles. In 1990s, right after the Cold War, the government was actively maintaining nonstandard education providing leadership and management trainings for all teachers including the Montessori system ones. After the beginning of 2000s, when the administration of Arcadia Montessori School gained more independence from municipality, the management became more open-minded to experiments and innovations, even despite they were not implemented so fast.
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Actually, leadership elicits voluntary effect on the majority of school followers. One can differentiate formal supervision from the informal one taking into account the fact that formal leader has no necessary qualities to maintain the taken position properly. However, observing inner policy in Arcadia Montessori School, it becomes obvious that leadership and management are not distinguished notions here. According to James Evans and William Lindsay (2013), Situational leadership offers important insights into the interaction between subordinate ability and leadership style (p. 221). Speaking about leadership in Arcadia Montessori School, there is a sense in division of leader behaviors into two broad classes of task-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors (Evans & Lindsay, 2013, p. 221). However, the establishment is not as big as other organizations that can afford themselves both leader and manager, so the principal conducts both functions. That is why the other staff member may take the leadership role when it is possible and especially while speaking about methods of organizing Montessori classes.
Recommendations on Leadership Skills and Enhancing Organizational Capacity
The first recommendation for enhancing organizational capacity is assessment of general goals and vision taking into account that they are harmonized and clear for everyone. Before confirming totally new approach to strategy implementation and changing the strategy itself in Arcadia Montessori School, there is a need to apply to Marge Combe, who mentions the key questions touching improvement of capacity. She asks, Who needs to be ready for change?, what processes, changes, causal drivers will change (Combe, 2014, p. 2)? The stakeholders, who should be ready for changes and informed about them beforehand, include individuals who (trust the needs, know the impact, understand, how to offer input) (Combe, 2014, p. 7). Along with that, Combe (2014) defines initiatives and enterprises that have broad support, are able to obtain resources timely, carried out by well-designed governance, and respond innovatively (p. 7). Those aspects should not decline the strategic mission of Arcadia Montessori School.
The second recommendation is connected with the issue of organizational capacity and effective leadership as mutually dependent components that indicate whether the strategy and its implementation methods are effective enough. To personal opinion, the Arcadia Montessori School leadership may be successful if one to maintain a specific management model. This model includes the process of transformational business leader development, which varies depending on his or her accent-making on task requirements or setting short-term goals as well as fostering leaders skills of others. A chief who has charisma, intellectual capacity, attentive approach to work, and inspiration is able to predispose to productive activities everybody in the team. Consequently, the subordinates will strive to put on top the organizations long-term interests and, in perspective, they will cover the employees short-term goals. In longer perspective, after the mechanism and working mood of the team take an innovative and independent form, one can implement the coordination of school working processes using the model of laissez-faire. It can help to achieve balance in centralized leadership and small initiatives system among teachers and physiotherapists.
Consequently, there is the third recommendation, which means that there is a necessity to use a human resources-approach when choosing proper candidates in order to develop the skills above. This person should be able to gain necessary qualification allowing him or her to work at Montessori school. In addition, there are numerous tests and the schools administrative requirements for employing an individual on the ruling position at such type of schools. Trainings and mentorship of leader are not necessarily effective in this case, so, from the beginning, it is better to choose a principal who surely has needful skills, strategic vision, and is able to raise team spirit.
The fourth recommendation is to establish practical operational planning based on general purposes. The new strategy of Arcadia Montessori School is to maintain social integration and adaptation of children with physical disabilities through creating consolidated groups and development of innovative sports programs. The first step of implementation will be increasing of the total amount of children to 160 by the end of the next year providing physical-therapeutic programs for targeted group of kids. Discussing the general issues of Arcadia Montessori, one can notice that the school has no clear vision. It can be an idea of equal and sustainable development of personality for future prosperity. In case parents of students do not mind, there are no obstacles to find the investment fund for this social project, which actually has enough level of capacity to get necessary sponsorship. In case of the interests conflict (some parents will refuse from this idea), there will be 1-2 classes only for children without disabilities, and their schedule will be composed in a way that will allow to avoid discomfort for all groups. The main things are to strengthen collaboration between team members, maintain communication, and involve experts in project management. It is reasonable agree with Combes remark (2014) that full realization of the envisioned strategy is dependent on clear activities to monitor, measure, adjust, and continually improve the strategic benefits realized from implementation of the strategy (p. 8). Technically, one can make the implementation possible following proposed action plan.
The fifth recommendation is connected with adequate assessment and prediction of outcomes, its time extension, and abrupt obstacles appearing. This issue concerns not only reforms implementation time but also includes preparation period aspects: conflicts with authority, parents, and between children or teachers themselves). The SWOT-analysis helps to predict all those things, but it is not enough to secure the interests of everybody. For instance, it is wrong to expect that after the first year of studying at Arcadia Montessori School all children will complete the rehabilitation process and become fully integrated into society. It is more appropriate to say that after first 9 months of staying there kids will be ready for the next phase of social integration. Less ambitious and more precise promises will guarantee mutual understanding of the schools tasks and make people more trustful to the organizations idea.
Action Plan for Implementation of the New Strategy
Development of social responsibility sector helps to remember that in-person elements are still as powerful as ever, ensure that the global companies maintain this position, and that other funds can be involved in the implementation process (Huyse, 2011, p. 5). In average, the funds provide 80% of financing, taking into account that the school is one of the oldest Montessori establishments in Arizona. The local government can support it as well and cover 7-9% of expenses. One can involve the rest 1 3% through fundraising and private donations. Simultaneously, there is a need to conduct control testing and trainings for staff members in order to define who is ready and competent to work in new conditions. One cannot ignore a necessity to foster the growth of learning organizations by developing an integrated evidence?based approach to professional development that includes both formal and informal learning opportunities (American Public Human Service Association, 2012, p. 45). Avoiding description of the financial and legal procedure, it is necessary to start with the team-building process and criterions for new pupils selection. The time frames should be limited by 3 months (summer period). The groups of physical therapy, psychology, and mentorship experts will provide special programs for actual implementation of strategy on social integration of various children groups.
In such conditions, there is a necessity of Arcadia Montessori Schools institutional structure reformation. The changes should not be radical, but one has to head them on social direction, for example, the creation of such positions like project development coordinator, who will develop the corporate social responsibility sector, and therapist. The project manager can be involved remotely and coordinate the program design with leading staff members so they were aware of how to make investment projects beneficial. It is important to agree with Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson (2012) that as perhaps never before, there is a growing awareness that the success of our organizations depends directly on effectively leading human resources (p. 11).
Another thing that should participate in Beatrix program to define whether everyone is aware of what is going on in organization and to explore changes and force majeure conditions in time is operational planning. Teaching the staff members to use this program takes three hours, but the result is worth of it. One should conduct further detailed planning in operational program to divide responsibilities and deadlines in order to implement the whole specter activities and organize financial, legal, and other important preparation procedures.
The new leadership always brings changes but then a responsible moment, which defines whether one will be available to maintain them enhancing organizational capacity, comes. Speaking about Arcadia Montessori School, one should understand that it has a high level of capacity. However, provision of innovative approaches to strategic planning can involve more investments and bring popularity to the establishment. The accent is put on the development of social responsibility sector and maintaining integration of physically disabled children into local communities. The paper gives five key recommendations on implementation of these measures. They are: 1) assessment of general goals and vision; 2) consideration of organizational capacity and effective leadership as mutually dependent components; 3) human resources approach in choosing proper candidates; 4) creation of precise operational planning based on general purposes; 5) adequate assessment and prediction of outcomes.