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School Systems' Practices of Controlling Socialization During Principal Succession : Looking Through the Lens of an Organizational Socialization Theory
Ed Bengtson, Sally J. Zepeda and Oksana Parylo Educational Management Administration & Leadership 2013 41: 143 originally published online 1 February 2013 DOI: 10.1177/1741143212468344 The online version of this article can be found at: http://ema.sagepub.com/content/41/2/143 Published by:
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Article

School Systems Practices of Controlling Socialization During Principal Succession: Looking Through the Lens of an Organizational Socialization Theory
Ed Bengtson, Sally J. Zepeda and Oksana Parylo

Educational Management Administration & Leadership 41(2) 143164 The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permission: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/1741143212468344 emal.sagepub.com

Abstract The importance of effective school leadership is well known. The inevitable changing of school leaders raises concerns over the successfulness of the succession process. Directly linked to leader succession is socialization; therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the processes and practices of school systems that control the organizational socialization of school principals as they succeed into the principalship. Using a multiple-case study approach, this qualitative inquiry examined the practices of four US school systems regarding the socialization of principals. The study, framed by organizational socialization theory, found a custodial response to socialization supported by collective, formal, serial, and investiture tactics. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of what system leaders and policy-makers might consider in supporting the socialization process of new principals. Keywords development, leadership, mentoring, principal, role change, socialization

Introduction
There is increasing interest and concern about the quality of educational leadership as schools strive to meet the challenges of educating students in todays high-accountability environment. Studies have revealed school leadership has substantial impact on student achievement (Hallinger and Heck, 1998; Louis et al., 2010). In addition, the principalship has become complex with increased accountability for student achievement (Lortie, 2009), a call for instructional leadership (Ervay, 2006), distributed leadership (Spillane et al., 2004), and a continuing requirement for

Corresponding author: Ed Bengtson, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Arkansas, 204 Peabody Hall, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA. Email: egbengts@uark.edu

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sound management (Hallinger and Snidvongs, 2008). With the increasing job complexity, a concern has been developing over the attractiveness of the principalship (Pounder and Merrill, 2001), which augments the problem of shortages of qualified candidates for the principal position (Roza, 2003). The conception of a new leadership role coupled with the concerns for recruitment and retention of leaders requires a closer look at the organizational socialization of principals (Crow, 2006). Once an individual succeeds into a position, the organizational environment significantly influences the socialization process (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979). According to Normore (2004: 111), A major component of any leadership development or succession process involves socialization, whereby attention is drawn to the leader and the context simultaneously.

Purpose of the Study


The purpose of this study is to examine school systems processes and practices that control the organizational socialization of succeeding school principals. Using the theory of socialization from Van Maanen and Schein (1979), a framework for investigating organizational socialization was established. The research question was: How do school systems control the socialization of individuals as they move into the principalship? Further defining the purpose, the investigation focused on the experiences of principals who had succeeded into their current positions in four school systems in the state of Georgia. This study was situated in the context of the US educational system where the principal is the head of an individual school that is a part of a larger school system. In this study, we are considering the school system as the organization influencing the socialization of new principals.

Background Literature
For the purpose of this study, we define socialization as the process through which an individual learns or acquires the necessary knowledge, skills, and values needed to perform a social role in an organization (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979). The acquisition of knowledge and skills is essential to the performance of a worker and the health of the organization, and as individuals begin a new job, the organization influences their learning and development (Frese, 1982). Hart (1991: 496) explained, Succession and socialization are two sides of the same process involving the same people the one side focusing on the groups influence on the newcomer, the other interested in the newcomers influence on the group. The process of socialization intertwines with succession, and the degree to which the organization can control socialization could have a potential effect on the outcomes of succession (Van Maanen, 1978; Van Maanen and Schein, 1979). Having gone through the selection process, novice principals frequently experience uncertainty as they face challenges upon assuming their new position. Walker and Qian (2006: 297) asserted, The energy previously needed to climb [to get the position] must be transformed quickly to balancing atop an equally tenuous surface a spot requiring new knowledge, skills, and understanding. Typically not provided with support to mediate their transition into a new position, new principals are expected to possess all necessary skills and abilities to be successful from day one (Crow, 2006; Sackney and Walker, 2006); however, formal preparation programs are often inadequate in preparing novices for the issues they face as new principals (Bridges, 1992; Jaskowiak, 1992; Weindling, 2000). Some challenges facing novice principals are context-specific with concerns ranging from economic, health, cultural and resource problems (Bush and Oduro, 2006) to unrealistic expectations
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(Quong, 2006) and being called to improve the schools public image (Parkay et al., 1992; Weindling and Dimmock, 2006). Some of the more universal challenges facing new principals are related to accountability for student and school performance (Briggs et al., 2006; Walker and Qian, 2006; Wildy and Clarke, 2008) and the conflicting roles experienced while dealing with instructional, political and public relation issues (Cheung and Walker, 2006; Cowie and Crawford, 2008; Goodwin et al.,, 2003; Nelson et al., 2008). In light of the abundant challenges facing new principals, the transition process into the new leadership position becomes critical because the nature of the socialization experience has significant influence on the retention of individuals who are new to the organization or to a particular role in the organization (Allen 2006). Thus, what happens in the process of leader socialization is important to the health and well-being of the organization.

Socialization Stage Theory


New principals experience various socialization stages as they begin and continue their careers as school leaders (Day and Bakioglu 1996; Reeves et al., 1998; Weindling, 2000). When analysing the models of socialization stages presented by the above cited research, we agree with Harts (1993: 2829) finding, Whatever their labels, three stages appear in the literature. They identify periods of learning and uncertainty, gradual adjustment during which outcomes (custodial or organizational change) begin to emerge, and stabilization. The first two stages are more volatile and provide greater opportunity for new principals to go astray. For this reason, the influences of organizational socialization tactics are most prevalent during the period of uncertainty and gradual adjustment (Hart, 1993; Van Maanen and Schein, 1979). Additionally, anticipatory, professional and organizational socialization experiences are common as individuals change positions during their career progression. Anticipatory socialization precedes the transition into a new role. Merton (1968: 319) defined anticipatory socialization as a process that allows individuals to take on the values of the nonmembership group to which they aspire. Merton viewed anticipatory socialization as a type of informal preparation for the position guided by the individuals choices and aspirations. Eraut (1994: 31) further explained, it can be argued that teachers seeking promotion learn to speak policy language in advance in order to demonstrate their promotion worthiness an interesting example of anticipatory socialization. Associated with anticipatory socialization is moral socialization where teachers aspire to become school administrators and develop a positive orientation to that reference group, they begin to learn and internalize the values and orientations found in that group (Greenfield, 1985: 102). In education, anticipatory socialization most often leads to professional socialization. Professional socialization is the pre-service formal training preceding entering a position. Crow (2006: 311) offered:
Professional socialization, which in the USA occurs primarily in university preparation programs, relates to the initial preparation to take on an occupational role such as school principal and includes the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to enact the role regardless of the setting.

Principal preparation programs generally address generic course content related to the schools management and leadership. The lack of context in professional socialization often causes new principals to feel that they were not adequately prepared by formal preparation programs (Cowie
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and Crawford, 2008; Daresh and Male, 2000). Nelson, de la Colina and Boone (2008) suggested that although preparation programs may focus on specific practices (for example, instructional leadership), there is no assurance that new principals graduating from those programs will practice as intended an assertion that makes organizational socialization all the more important. Organizational socialization refers to the process by which one is taught and learns the ropes of a particular organizational role (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979: 211). Organizational socialization is highly contextual and contingent on the culture of the organization, and is most obvious when a person first enters the organizationthe outsider to insider passage (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979: 213). Organizations influence how new workers learn and the skills they acquire as the cultural norms and values of the organization interact with the job tasks. In addition, organizational socialization is present as individuals move to new positions within the same organization, whether the move is upward, downward, or laterally in the career path hierarchy of the organization. Researchers involved in the study of socialization of principals call for attention to the way school systems approach the organizational socialization of new principals (Browne-Ferrigno and Muth, 2004; Crow, 2006; Leithwood et al., 1994). Leithwood et al. (1994: 157) found that while district effects on socialization experiences were very strong . . . most aspiring and practicing school leaders experience a moderately helpful pattern of socialization; few experience a uniformly negative socialization pattern whereas 19 percent experience a quite helpful pattern. Crow (2006: 318) supported the notion that the organizational socialization of new principals was often left to chance:
The typical organizational socialization of beginning principals in the USA follows a format in which the new principal is bombarded with all the responsibilities that a veteran principal has. The lack of mediated entry creates burnout, stress, and ineffective performance as beginning principals develop quick fixes and unreflective practices responses that are counterproductive to the type of leadership needed in a complex society.

Crow suggested that principals, for the most part, were socialized individually, informally, and with little attention paid to what could be learned from their teaching experiences. The creation of systematic approaches to the socialization of principals could help influence the effectiveness of the succession process. Such approaches are identified as induction programs which should be considered as an intentional and planned approach by organizations to control the socialization of newcomers. Induction is a multiyear process for individuals at the beginning of their careers or new to a role or setting and is designed to enhance professional effectiveness and foster continued growth during a time of intense learning (Villani, 2006: 18). Mentoring is a key component of the induction process that is especially important for beginning principals (Sciarappa, 2004; Villani, 2006; Weindling, 2004). In addition, a supportive team implementation of a strategic plan plays a key role in the induction programs success (Wiltmore 2004). To implement an induction program successfully, an awareness and understanding of organizational socialization theory are needed.

Theoretical Framework of Organizational Socialization


The cause and effect of actions taken by individuals as they interact in the socialization of school leaders is bound by the mid-range theory of organizational socialization developed by Van Maanen
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Table 1. Responses to Socialization. Response Custodianship Description

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Individual accepts the status quo to ensure the existing knowledge, strategies, and mission of the organization. Content Individual seeks to change the knowledge and strategies that exist upon succeeding into the innovation position while keeping the mission of the role intact. Role innovation Individual seeks to change the knowledge, strategies, and mission of the role.

and Schein (1979). The assumptions of organizational socialization theory are (1) organizations can and do influence the socialization process of individuals who succeeded into a new role and (2) individuals taking on a new position, respond in one of three ways to the knowledge, strategies, and mission of the role (see Table 1). The responses to socialization can be viewed as resting on a continuum from an extreme custodial stance where no attempt at innovation is made to one of utmost innovation where the existing mission is challenged. The extent to which responses are encouraged or discouraged is determined by the nature of the organizations practices that structure the socialization experiences of the succeeding individuals. In education, new leaders may be charged with sustaining and nurturing the current direction of the school (custodianship response) when they are taking over the leadership of a school that is perceived to be successful. New leaders may also be charged with changing the direction of the school (content innovation or role innovation response) when they are taking over a school perceived to be unsuccessful or struggling (Hargreaves and Fink, 2006). Role innovation may take place when a new principal is charged with being an instructional leader as they replace a leader-manager, changing the role of the principal for that particular school. Organizations use tactics of organizational socialization (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979: 230) to structure the ways in which individuals are socialized into new roles. Structures that influence socialization processes may or may not be intentional on the part of the organization. Required training sessions, induction meetings, and other prescribed socialization activities constitute intentional structures while organizational history, deep-seeded norms, and cultural characteristics of the organization represent examples of non-intentional tactics. This study identifies strategies applied by school systems using the dimensions of the socialization processes by Van Maanen and Schein (1979) (see Figure 1). The tactical dimensions represent structures that are, consciously or unconsciously, put in place by the organization. Such structures can be present in virtually any setting in which individual careers are played out (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979: 231).

Collective versus Individual


When a group of individuals is purposefully taken through a common set of experiences together (for example, formal leadership academies, military boot camps), they are subjected to a collective socialization tactic. Van Maanen and Schein (1979) suggested that when a collective tactic is used, there is substantial socialization influence from peers. New principals value peer involvement in the socialization process (Cowie and Crawford, 2008; Crow and Glascock, 1995; Daresh and Male,
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Collective vs. Individual Investiture vs. Divestiture Formal vs. Informal

The Six Tactical Dimensions


Serial vs. Disjunctive Fixed vs. Variable Sequential vs. Random Steps

Figure 1. The Six Tactical Dimensions.

2000). The mentality of we are in this boat together, so how should we respond to this problem? is characteristic of collective socialization tactics. At the other extreme of the collective versus individual socialization tactic, a single individual is transitioned into a position alone. An individual internship or apprenticeship provided to gain the knowledge and skills required to fulfill a new role would constitute an individual socialization tactic as would individual mentoring relationships which have been found critical to the socialization of new principals (Daresh, 2004; Hansford and Ehrich, 2006).

Formal versus Informal


Van Maanen and Schein (1979: 237) defined formal socialization tactics as processes that are typically found in organizations where specific preparation for new status is involved and where it is deemed important that a newcomer learns the correct attitudes, values, and protocol associated with the new role. An example would be the formal socialization tactics used by the military where recruits are required to give up their civilian role to fulfill their soldier role. Like collective socialization tactics, formal socialization tactics can manifest in structured training that occurs away from the recruits old environment (for example, police academies, professional schools). Informal socialization tactics are more embedded in the work that is currently done by the individual being recruited and the line between the old role and the new role is blurred during the socialization process. There is little distinction between the old role and the new role. When teachers who are aspiring to be principals are mentored and given leadership opportunities, informal socialization is taking place (Browne-Ferrigno and Muth, 2004).
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Sequential versus Random Steps


Sequential socialization tactics occur when recruits are required to go through a series of stages before they take on the responsibilities of a new role. The stages may or may not build on one another; however, there are defined steps to entering a new role. Most professions require a sequential socialization tactic through formal preparation programs (for example, university degrees, programs leading to a certificate or license). Sequential socialization tactics are most often found in organizations with a hierarchical structure (Van Maanen and Schein, 1979). Random socialization tactics occur when the pathway to a new role is not well known or defined. There are no set steps or sequences that can be identified, and often, the processes and steps change depending on the organizational needs and climate. Individuals who move into newly created roles may experience random socialization as might individuals who are unexpectedly called upon to take over a position due to a catastrophic event.

Fixed versus Variable


Fixed socialization tactics happen within a timeline allowing recruits to generally know when they will succeed into their new role. Fixed socialization tactics and sequential socialization tactics often overlap. Variable socialization tactics do not define when a recruit may be able to move into a new role. Organizations that experience inconsistent turnover of personnel or are subject to economic trends often present variable socialization tactics. Teachers in smaller school systems, once having received their formal training and leadership certification, may have to wait for a job opening before they move into a leadership position within the same school system.

Serial versus Disjunctive


Serial socialization tactics involve veteran members of the organization grooming recruits for new roles. Frequently referred to as mentoring, serial socialization occurs when experienced members of the organization who either hold the same role as the recruits new role or have experienced that role in the past take the new members under their wing. Mentoring for aspiring and new school principals is seen as an important tactic, pursued either formally or informally (Barnett and OMahony, 2008; Browne-Ferrigno and Muth, 2004; Hansford and Ehrich, 2006; Villani, 2006). Disjunctive socialization tactics happen when there is no influence from individuals who have either experienced the role or are currently in the role. Often, disjunctive tactics occur when there is an exception to the norm in the type of individual succeeding into the new role. For example, a female entering a role in a professional organization where all others are male, will not be able to find a person who has experienced the role as she is likely to experience it.

Investiture versus Divestiture


When organizations accept new members just the way they are without any changes to their personal identity, investiture socialization tactics are at play. In many instances, investiture socialization tactics are used when socializing individuals at the lowest level of the organization. It is seen as more important for the recruit to know that they are valued for who they are as a person as they start their career in the organization.
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Table 2. Socialization Tactics and Resulting Responses to Socialization. Socialization Tactic Collective Individual Formal Informal Sequential Random Fixed Variable Serial Disjunctive Investiture Divestiture Response to Socialization Produced Custodianship Content/Role Innovation Custodianship Custodianship and Content/Role Innovation Custodianship Content/Role Innovation Custodianship Content/Role Innovation Custodianship Content/Role Innovation Content/Role Innovation Custodianship

Divestiture socialization tactics occur when there is an intentional attempt to strip away certain personal characteristics of the succeeding individual. This dimension relates largely to the issues of reconciling your self-image and preferred behaviours with the demands of the post (Male, 2006: 17). These six dimensions do not exist in a hierarchical order, nor do they occur in any type of sequence. There can be overlap among the dimensions as some have common characteristics. Looking at the socialization experiences of principals through the lens of the six dimensions and the corresponding responses (see Table 2), a theoretical view of how school systems influence the socialization of principals can be established.

Methods
The research design of this study involved the research question establishment, the goal identification, the conceptual framework creation, and the adoption of proper methods. To answer the question, How do school systems control the socialization of individuals as they move into the principalship? along with the understanding that this was not to be experimental in nature, and the investigation pursued the contemporary event of principal socialization, a case study approach was used (Yin, 2009). The goal of the study was to reveal an understanding of how organizations control principal socialization within a specific conceptual framework. The conceptual framework was established using Van Maanen and Scheins (1979) organizational socialization theory.

Selection of Cases and Participants


Four Georgia school systems were selected as research sites. While case study research is not sampling research (Stake, 1995: 4), selection of the four cases could be described as purposive sampling (Merriam, 1998) because attention was drawn to the selected cases based on the prior knowledge that each system was concerned about leadership development and succession. In addition, the cases were selected based on demographic criteria. One large urban system with 114 schools and three smaller rural systems ranging from 4 to 11 schools were chosen (see Table 3).
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Table 3. School System Profile.

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Number of Number of Number of High Number of Total School District Setting Elem. Schools Middle Schools Schools Magnet Schools Enrollment Indian Hills Norris Kettle Richland Urban Rural Rural Rural 68 2 2 6 20 2 1 2 19 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 154,901 3,716 3,312 5,934z

Source: 20072008 State of Georgia K-12 Public Schools Annual Report Card.

Table 4. Participants by School System. Principals Indian Hills Kettle Norris Richland 4 3 4 4 Superintendents 1 1 1 1 Assistant Superintendents 3 1 1 1 Human Resource Directors 1 1 1 1

The chosen systems represented the statewide percentage of urban and rural systems (that is, roughly 75 percent of the school systems in the state of Georgia are rural and 25 percent are urban). With assistance from system leaders, a total of 29 participants were selected. Each systems superintendent, various central office leaders, and acting principals were included in the participant pool (see Table 4). The participant sample included principals in different stages of their careers: of the 15 principals, five principals were in their first year, three were in their second year, four principals were in the seat between three and six years, and three participants served as a principal for seven and more years. The total number of years in education ranged from 13 to 36 years. The 15 principals in the study represented four high schools, four middle schools, and seven elementary schools.

Data Collection and Analysis


Socialization into a new professional role is based on the social interactions of individuals and organizations. One way of examining the socialization process is to collect the stories and experiences of individuals through interviewing (Seidman, 2006). To capture the essence of the participants experiences, data were collected over a four-month period through 29 individual interviews. The interview protocol was framed by the extant literature on socialization (see Appendix). Interviews were semi-structured and framed by a 15-question protocol that was used with each participant. The interviews lasted from 40 to 90 minutes and were conducted in person in the participants offices. Each interview was conducted by a lead interviewer who was accompanied by a second interviewer who took notes and monitored the interview process. Each case was developed by analyzing data generated from the interview transcripts from each of the four systems. Creswell (2007) suggested that codes could be effectively identified from the theory that framed the study. Initial codes were generated from the components of the theoretical framework (for example, collective versus individual; serial versus disjunctive). Themes were identified and categorized. Categories were established using theoretical propositions (Yin, 2009) from the organizational socialization theory presented by Van Maanen and Schein (1979).
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Table 5. Dominant Socialization Tactics.
Collective Indian Hills Norris Kettle Richland X X X X Individual Formal X X X X X X X Informal

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Sequential X

Random Steps

Fixed X

Variable

Serial X X X

Disjunctive

Investiture

Divestiture X

X X X

Note: x indicates the dominant presence of socialization tactics.

Once each case was developed, a cross-case analysis was done to compare and contrast the organizational socialization practices found in the individual cases (Creswell, 2007; Stake, 1995). From the cross-case analysis, responses of organizations to the socialization process were identified. While there were no external procedures such as member-checking used to ensure the trustworthiness of the data analysis, reliability of the study was enhanced by using two interviewers for each interview and having multiple researchers analyzing the data. One limitation of the study was that the selection of principal participants in the two largest systems was dictated by the system leaders, leaving the possibility of only talking to principals that would shed positive light on their experiences. Additionally, there was limited time for the interviews, which allowed only four principals from the large system to be interviewed, while all principals from the smallest system were interviewed. A final limitation was the studys focus on four qualitative case studies resulting in limited transferability of the findings.

Findings
Based on the participants perspectives, the findings emerged as clear descriptions of specific socialization experiences. While there was presence of all of the codes found in each case, some codes were more dominant in certain systems than in others (see Table 5). The socialization tactic of fixed versus variable emerged as a theme only in the Indian Hills School System. The phenomenon of succession into the principalship is not always predictable. The identified need for a new principal may or may not be obvious to system leaders; therefore, the existence of a timeline for entering the principalship is often obscure. The Indian Hills School System had a sense of urgency as a result of growth coupled with the expected retirement of principals, giving cause to establish timelines that were based on projected needs. The Indian Hills School System planned for future openings that would be occurring as a result of new schools being built and retirement. One central office administered reflected:
If we have a vacancy, we knew of that vacancy before it became available; its not a surprise. We know today those people that could be retiring three years from now, and we talk about it. We track their years of experience. Its easy for me to say that in the middle of July 2009 that we are going to be conducting training for 7585 new assistant principals. Its why I can say pretty confidently that next August we are going to be looking at 17 to 22 or 23 new principals.

For the smaller systems in the study, there was no defined need based on specific current and projected openings. This finding suggests that the size of the school system and the need for more leaders might very well influence the types of socialization tactics used.
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The socialization tactic of sequential versus random was most evident in the Indian Hills School System. Documents that presented the systems internal leadership academy portrayed specific steps that aspiring leaders must go through before becoming a principal. Through what was described as a competitive admission process, aspiring principals had to go through the following sequence:     Obtain employment as an assistant principal within the system, Have a leadership behavior recognition form filled out by active principal(s), Fill out an extensive application for admission into the leadership academy, Complete the year-long leadership academy led by the system superintendent and other district leaders, and  Interview with two screening committees and the superintendent for a specific opening. This sequence of events was strictly adhered to with the number of people being admitted to the academy matching the projected number of principal openings. The other systems did not reveal definite sequential or random practices in leadership succession.

Comradeship
The collective socialization tactic was evident in the four cases through both formal and informal practices. The Indian Hills School System central office leaders and principals found value in the use of cohorts to develop future school leaders. The system had an internal leadership academy that was stocked with candidates to be developed into the principalship role. Candidates started and ended the one-year academy together. The executive director of leadership development explained, I think that the promotion of the idea of developing cohorts really has a lot of value. It is only when we get people isolated that we get them in trouble. Principals iterated that they never felt alone in their jobs as a principal, which is adverse to the common acknowledgement that the principalship is a lonely position. Principals also spoke of the regular meetings held for leaders as helping us all get on the same page. In addition, principals cited the benefits of informal meetings with other principals and the ability to feel free to call others for help. A second-year principal spoke of the benefit of having a group of peers to talk to whenever she needed:
We have a very close-knit and tight cluster group of principals. I, probably once a week or so, am in contact with one of those principals in regard to something in our community or asking them how they would handle something. We work very closely with the two middle schools. Barrymore Elementary, whos just down the road here, the principal is wonderful. Shes been in the cluster longer than anyone else, so I can pick up the phone and call her about anything . . . Were all very much on the same page.

School leaders in the three smaller systems were collectively involved in leadership development through the participation in an external program offered through the Georgia Leadership Institute of School Improvement (GLISI). While this experience was not totally an internal endeavor, it was an effort to align leadership practices throughout the system by giving leaders and aspiring leaders a common experience. The superintendent of the Norris County School System offered:
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I thought it was important that we, as a group, and being a new superintendent with new principals to the system, even though they have gone through in other places, that we needed the opportunity to come together and to gel and to understand better how we think [as a system].

One Norris County School System principal suggested that belonging to a cohort in a formal training program helped her become comfortable with her position as a new principal, You hear others tell their tales or their stories of the day-to-day challenges and then you realize, Im not alone in this. A first year principal from the Richland County School System reflected, We know each other professionally yet each of our jobs are brand new for us talk about a support network, we have to be [each others support]. Were much stronger united than we are divided. This statement reminds one of the esprit de corps found in the cultural socialization of military units. In the small systems, there was a continuous communication between principals, and between principals and central office leaders. While oftentimes informal, this communication was a form of the collective socialization tactic. Informally, there was evidence that principals worked closely together to solve problems and talk about the various aspects of their roles as school leaders. A new female principal from Kettle County explained:
There is one principal that I have worked with a good bit because our populations are very similar and much of the time I am doing the same things he is doing . . . You just have to remember it is all about team work. You cant do it alone . . . Camaraderie, I guess.

The use of camaraderie implies a collective socialization tactic that reflects a sense of working together as a group and being in this together. The collective tactic was evident in all school systems studied albeit formal or informal in nature.

Training and Experience


The formal versus informal socialization tactic was clearly defined in two of the systems studied. In addition, there was a variance between formal and informal approaches to socialization. Formal socialization tactics were present in the structured training that existed in the leadership academy of the Indian Hills Public Schools. Individuals who were recruited for future principal positions attended academy sessions on Saturdays away from their workplace, focusing on leadership issues and participating in various exercises. While some informal socialization occurred in the work place, the most intensive socialization was formal in nature and occurred in the leadership academy. Both informal and formal socialization tactics were used in the three smaller systems. While these three systems participated in formal socialization through their experiences with GLISI, only the Kettle County school system was moving toward an internal socialization process by starting the development of a leadership academy. The practice of taking lead teachers, assistant principals, principals, and central office leaders to training as a group is a formal socialization practice. The training happens in isolation from their day-to-day jobs. The initial concept of an academy that would develop a pool of candidates was inspired by the school board as one veteran principal explained, the school board members told [the superintendent] that they would like to hire from within, and grow their own leaders. So they gave him the walking orders to do so. The purpose of the program to grow their own leaders suggested that the individuals chosen to participate in the
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program would be separated from all other individuals who may aspire to be principals, thus leading to a formal rather than informal tactic. On the other hand, the superintendent of the Richland County School System valued informal socialization tactics. Teachers applying for administrative positions were often asked about leadership experiences that they had while teaching. The superintendent elaborated:
I have had a lot of people who have come in and expressed interest about leadership positions in this district. I ask them, Have you volunteered to be a grade level chair? Have you asked to chair your SACS committee? Have you volunteered to come in during your planning time and help with some administrative kinds of tasks in the office? My point to those people is that you add value where you are. You dont just get into the principalship and then you start leading when you get there.

The emphasis on prior leadership experience while teaching is an informal socialization tactic where individuals are becoming acclimated into a new position as an extension of their current role.

Mentoring
Mentoring, both formal and informal, was cited in all of the systems studied and supported the serial socialization tactic. The degree of mentoring, however, varied from system to system suggesting both serial and disjunctive socialization tactics. In all cases, mentoring was described as being non-judgmental in nature. The Indian Hills School System provided a formal mentoring program and supported informal mentoring relationships. The formal mentoring program was explained by the superintendent:
Academy mentors are assigned to our new principals for two years. We use veteran, actually retired, principals [as mentors]. Principal retirees are principals that were respected, were in great schools, know what leadership is, and know how to do the management oversight responsibilities. They are also individuals who can really help the person develop [as principals].

The principals in the Indian Hills School System placed great value on having a formal mentor to guide them in their initial years of the principalship. Such terms as life-changing, career-changing, very comfortable, and peace of mind were used to describe the experience of having a seasoned mentor. In addition, the influence of informal mentors was evident as individuals aspired to be school leaders. There was a common expression of how former principals had an impact on the decision to pursue the principalship. A second year principal offered:
Jane [the former principal] was very instrumental in heading me towards the principalship. . . . From the time I was named assistant principal, she really took it upon herself to groom me for that ultimate position of being principal . . . Had I not had a mentor like Jane, I dont know if I would have ended up in this position or not.

Through the use of both formal and informal mentoring, the Indian Hills School District practiced the serial socialization tactic to encourage and support the transition into the principalship. Mentoring was evident as a deep influence on the decision to aspire to a leadership position in the Norris County School System. Both informal and formal forms of mentoring were revealed in
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the participants responses. A veteran principal remembered her former mentor principal coming to ask her if she was interested in educational leadership. She noted, He asked me if I would go into administration, if Id be willing to be an assistant principal. Another seasoned principal remembered his mentor principal approaching him and inquiring about his interest in leadership, The principal at that time was encouraging me to start to work on a leadership certificate and degree, which I did. Looking for future leadership talent by current school leaders is one form of the serial socialization tactic. Mentoring as a formal practice occurred in the Norris County Schools as new principals arrived to the principalship, either as a first time principal or a principal new to the district. An outside contractor through the local Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) was hired to work with new principals as their formal mentor. The mentor met with her principals monthly and supported them by phone weekly. According to one of the new principals, this out-of-district mentor will not give you a false view of what reality is. She was described as being interested and helpful, offering support to assist the administrator in turning the corner. Formal mentoring was at the center of the serial socialization tactic in the Kettle County School System. Being a small system with only four principals in total, the assistant superintendent was able to shoulder the responsibility of mentoring all principals as they worked on developing their leadership skills and improving their schools. The appointment of the deputy superintendent was purposeful as the superintendent explained, We added the deputy school superintendent, and her first and foremost job was to begin some succession planning. We hired her to mentor principals. One 3rd-year principal described his relationship with the deputy superintendent:
I can say things to her that I just might not be able to say, like Im really feeling frustrated about this; this makes no sense to me . . . and she could respond in a way that shows you she understands what youre going through.

The principals in the Kettle County School System felt that they had been taken under the wing of the assistant superintendent. The Richland County School System did not have a formal mentoring program in place. Principals expressed that while they had been informally mentored by former principals when they were teaching, there was no mentoring available to them once they succeeded into the principalship. One veteran principal stated:
When I first started, I did not have a mentor except the principal before me allowed me to be involved with a lot of leadership experiences before she left. I was not assigned a mentor when I took over as principal . I really think every principal should have an assigned mentor because there are so many questions that come up all the time and you have to have somebody to call on and feel like you are not bothering them. Just having somebody to work closely with would mean the world.

The absence of a formal mentoring program for new principals and the expression of the feeling of being on my own represent the disjunctive socialization tactic.

Expectations of Change
Both investiture and divestiture tactics were found in the systems studied. There was expected conformity to the role and behaviors of the principalship in the four school systems. Aside from
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having the prescribed sought after competencies, school leaders were expected to display good citizen behavior at all times. One central office leader in the Indian Hills School System explained:
I think the challenge [for principals] is [that] our expectations are so very high. If you are appointed to the principalship, you know the bar is set very high. You know that you are on the job 24/7. We talk about expectations of the community, we talk about whether you like it or not you are on the job 24/7. So, dont expect that you can go to the liquor store like everyone else. Dont expect that you can go to neighborhood bar like everyone else.

Principals were expected to conform to unwritten rules and expectations. Professional appearance was important to central office leaders as explained by one Indian Hills School System participant, There are informal rules. For example, we dont have this written anywhere, but when you come to a meeting with the superintendent, you come with your best professional dress. New administrators were expected to turn the corner and become an administrator, not a teacher. The divestiture socialization tactic was evident in the words of the superintendent of the Richland School System:
Everyone is not going to go into that position [principal or assistant principal], and its going to take specific skills, specific personalities, and specific knowledge base to be prepared for any one of those positions . . . You need to change the tone with which you talk to people, and you need to change your knowledge base.

Using the term change, it can be implied that individuals aspiring to be a school leader must divest from their old professional identity and embrace a new way of behaving, interacting, and knowing. The investiture socialization tactic was evident to a greater extent in two school systems. While principals did not indicate that there was any emphasis placed on them to change who they were (divestiture) or to remain the same (investiture), the Kettle County superintendent suggested the investiture socialization tactic when speaking about the characteristics sought when selecting principals:
It is not something that you can specifically quantify, you know, a lot of it is just how you feel about that person. Sometimes it is hard to put into words why you think someone may be better than someone else, and a lot of times it comes down to the X factor which is charisma. You cannot teach charisma, either someone can walk into room and command respect of those around them or they cant.

Charisma is a personal characteristic that was welcomed. Charismatic candidates were valued for who they were and there was no indication that they would be asked to change to conform to a predesigned mould. Strength of character was another invested characteristic valued by system leaders. Having character and being a people person were identified by both superintendents and principals as being necessary traits to be a principal. The Richland County superintendent explained:
One of the things that I look for in a new principal is someone who has good strength of character. I can teach them some leadership skills. I cant teach them how to be a good person, how to be morally correct, and how to have good character. 157
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Being a relationship builder with good people skills was another invested characteristic identified as necessary to be a successful school leader. A new principal in the Norris County School System offered her thoughts about the personal qualities needed to do the job:
You certainly have to be a people person. You have to have good social skills because you are dealing with young people, old people and all in between . . . You have to be a people person, you have to like people, and you have to get along and be able to establish a rapport with people.

Individuals with good character and who were people persons were valued and accepted for who they were.

Discussion
The results of the cross-case analysis reveal an overall custodial response to socialization in the four school systems. The prominent tactics found in the four systems studied were collective, formal, informal, serial, and investiture. Of these five tactics, four lead to a custodial response with the investiture tactic leading to a role or content innovation response (see Table 2). Having groups of individuals go through leadership training together as a collective tactic was evident in all four systems. Related to this collective approach was the formal tactic where new and potential school leaders received training outside of their present work environment (for example, Indian Hills leadership academy and the attendance of the GLISI leadership training seminars in the three smaller systems). In addition, participants from the three smaller systems reported having experienced informal tactic where socialization experiences were embedded in their everyday work. Mentoring, both formal and informal, was identified in three of the four systems establishing the use of the serial socialization tactic. These findings reinforce the findings of the numerous studies that have been done in the areas of principal induction where mentoring, a serial socialization tactic, has been identified as an important part of new principals experiences (Daresh, 2004; Hansford and Ehrich, 2006). In addition, having an organizational socialization plan that is sequential and involves divestiture processes can support the critical and sometimes fragile stages of socialization experienced by new principals (Hart, 1993; Weindling, 2000). The structure of a defined sequence where aspiring leaders are able to go step-bystep through a process that allows them to gradually become acclimated to the new role by learning the ropes as they prepare for entry into the principalship not only allows the newcomer to develop certain skills and awareness, but also can create a comfort level about divesting their old professional identity for their new professional identity (Browne-Ferrigno, 2003; Normore, 2004).

Implications for Practice


Succession and socialization are part of the same process (Hart, 1993). Succession of leaders in organizations is unavoidable. By the same token, socialization into new roles is inevitable. The degree to which a succeeding principal becomes acclimated to their new role, and the nature of their socialization experiences are largely dictated by the organization. School systems can support the meaningful succession of principals by recognizing the organizations role in the socialization process. School system leaders can implement practices that support socialization with the understanding of how socialization tactics lead to responses to socialization experiences (see Table 2). For example, superintendents who desire to keep the culture, climate, and progress the same in a school
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with a new principal, may consider using socialization tactics that solicit a custodial response (for example, sequential, serial, collective, divestiture). Highly successful school systems may provide strong internal mentoring programs and peer group training and development that reinforce the way things are done; however, caution must be used with the custodial response as the business of schooling has changed considerably as a result of accountability mandates leading to a new conceptualization of the principal role (Leithwood, Begley, and Cousins, 1994; Normore, 2004). On the other hand, if a change in the school direction and new role conceptions are being sought, socialization tactics that lead to content or role innovation responses may be needed (Hargreaves and Fink, 2006; Leithwood, Begley, and Cousins, 1994). Systems seeking a change may find value in outside mentors providing an individual approach to the socialization of a new principal where the context of the school is accounted for and new practices and risks can be taken. Organizations who seek change can not necessarily depend on the maverick principal to appear and save them from further demise as depicted by the Hay Group (2002); however, they can purposefully influence the socialization of a new principal through investiture, random and individual tactics as described earlier. The principal shortage coupled with the principal attrition have been a growing concern of system leaders (Pounder and Merrill 2001; Roza, 2003). When organizations focus on the implementation of organizational socialization tactics, newcomers tend to stay in the job longer (Allen, 2006). The retention of quality school leaders will continue to be important as school systems strive for continued improvement in student achievement. The importance of this study is that school system leaders can learn how these school systems approached the socialization of principals through the use of tactics as defined by Van Maanen and Schein (1979), and consider how their own system controls the socialization of principals. Individuals inevitably succeed into the principalship in every school system, and studies indicate that the principals do influence student achievement (Hallinger and Heck, 1998). School leader succession has traditionally been detrimental to school performance (Hargreaves, 2005); therefore, establishing ways to help the socialization process of school leaders to meet the needs of the system should be welcomed by school system leaders.

Implications for Research


Findings indicate that the tactics used to socialize principals may differ to some degree based on the sizes of the systems studied. For example, the large system made definite use of the collective (internal leadership academy), serial (extensive formal mentoring program), and divestiture (required conformity in dress and social norms) tactics. The smaller systems in the study did not have as well-defined practices that represented socialization tactics, although they did exist. Do larger school systems practice socialization tactics that are different from smaller school systems? What are the characteristics of larger systems that might influence the socialization process and how might these systems work for positive outcomes to the socialization process? What are the characteristics of smaller systems that might influence the socialization process and how might these systems work for positive outcomes to the socialization process? Further studies into the nature of principal socialization in large urban systems and small rural systems are needed to determine if context determines the tactics used for socializing principals. An additional contextual consideration is school performance. Three of the four systems in this study were high-performing (above the state average in schools meeting Adequate Yearly Progress), while one was close to the average state performance. The average system was also
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the system that did not have a formal mentoring program for new principals (serial socialization tactic), and did not have formal socialization processes in place compared to the three highperforming systems. How could a systems control of principal socialization be related to the performance of the system? A final implication is that the school systems studied used socialization tactics that produce a custodial response. A custodial response reinforces the existing organizational structure, goals, and values. This finding is not surprising given that the goals for school organizations typically are centered on student performance, and most system leaders are fearful of more innovative responses during an era that is laden with accountability and high-stakes mandates. By using random, disjunctive, and individual socialization tactics, a system would run the risk of having a maverick as a principal. Do systems that seek major reform practice specific tactics that are different than other systems in socializing their school principals? Further research investigating systems that have embraced major reform or taken risks in changing directions, and how those systems have attempted to socialize school leaders is needed.

Conclusion
As research continues to emerge on the principals influence on student learning, and there is a shortage of quality leaders to take the ever-increasing complex job of principal, it is time that systems expand the field of attention that focuses on teachers and students to include school leaders. Put simply, if school leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning (Leithwood et al., 2006: 3), and few things in education succeed less than leadership succession (Hargreaves, 2005: 21); then it is important to find ways to support school systems in their attempts to implement practices that nurture effective succession and socialization of school leaders. Socialization of principals can no longer be left to chance.

Appendix
1. Tell me about the career path that has led you to this position. What influenced you along this path? a. How long have you been in this school system? b. How long have you been in this position? c. How long have you been in administration? d. How long have you been in education? e. What degrees and certifications do you have? When did you get them? Where? 2. What was the most difficult part about being a principal when you first started? 3. What is the most difficult part of the job now? 4. What kind of support have you received to help you meet those challenges? 5. What challenges do you foresee? a. What supports do you think will be in place to help you meet them? b. What do you need to meet them? 6. Thinking back to the beginning of your career, what were your thoughts about school leadership? a. What was the role of a school leader? b. What was a leader like? 7. How has this thinking changed as you crossed these career thresholds?
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8. What keeps you going as an administrator? What wears you down? 9. What formal structures have supported your growth as an administrator? a. Mentorship? b. Professional development? c. Evaluative programs? 10. What informal structures supported your growth as an administrator? How did they help you? 11. [Probe for two previous questions] Who have been your mentors as an administrator? a. What was that like for you? b. How did you arrange to work with this mentor? c. What support or guidance did he/she provide? 12. Have you been a mentor? a. What was that like for you? b. How did you arrange to work with your prote ge ? c. What support or guidance did you provide? 13. Thinking back to the beginning of your career as a school leader, if you could have waved a magic wand and received one thing from your superiors that would have supported your growth, what would it have been? 14. [To second researcher] Is there anything that I missed or you would like to follow-up on? 15. Is there anything I have not asked you that you think would help me better understand the process of principal socialization? References
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Ed Bengtson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership Program of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas where he teaches qualitative research methods and program evaluation. His current research interests include the socialization, succession, and development of school principals. Dr. Bengtson served as a public school teacher and administrator for 22 years in the United States prior to joining the faculty at the University of Arkansas. Sally J. Zepeda, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy and is a Fellow in the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Human Development at the University of Georgia. Her specialization is teacher and leader professional learning focusing on instructional supervision, teacher evaluation, and professional development as personal and interpersonal support systems in schools. Linking research and practice, Dr. Zepeda serves as the System-wide Professor-in-Residence with the Clarke County School District (Athens GA) where she is supporting the development of their new teacher and leader evaluation system. Oksana Parylo, Ph.D. is a scientific collaborator in the Methodology of Educational Sciences Research Group at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Her current research interests include preparation, professional development, and evaluation of teachers and leaders andqualitative and mixed methodologies.

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