Education directors' perspectives on power and value
Kay, Brent William
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The purpose of this study was to examine the power and competing value profiles of directors of education in the Province of Saskatchewan. The objectives were: (1) to identify the power and competing value profiles of directors; (2) to examine the affects of the directors' context on their perceived use of power and value; (3) to determine how the power and competing value profiles were related; and (4) to identify the characteristics of power and value that directors considered important to their practices as educational leaders. Quinn's (1988) Competing Values Framework of Power and Influence was adopted as the conceptual framework. This model integrated the underlying power and value characteristics of leadership behaviour with the different organizational forms in theory. The Richardson Power Profile (Richardson & Thompson, 1981) and Quinn's (1988) Prism 1: Competing Values Self-Assessment questionnaires were employed as the primary data gathering sources. In addition, semi-structured interviews were used as a supplementary data source. Sixty-five directors of education responded to the RPP and the CV questionnaires for a 72.2 percent response rate. In addition, eight of the respondents were randomly selected and interviewed. Heckscher (1994) suggested that the two fundamental shifts in the contemporary work place are from the use of power to influence and from bureaucracy to human accomplishment. This study showed that directors of education in Saskatchewan are moving toward more contemporary models of management. The data analyses found that directors preferred to use relational power and mentor values to guide their managerial behaviour. Furthermore, the study found that directors preferred to use relational power and mentor values to break down the traditional hierarchical structure of their education systems in order to move toward a team structure. The findings from the study highlight the vital role directors play in organizing their school divisions. The findings call into question the traditional uses of power and value to maintain a hierarchical organizational structure. Rather, they suggest that educational leaders are using power and value to promote a team atmosphere in their school divisions. As such, directors are exerting their power as a source of energy for achieving shared goals and purposes, and are promoting organizational values that allow employees to maximize their individual potential within a mutually dependent environment.