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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

Unit 4

EED 214/05
Management and Leadership
in Education

Educational Reform
and Effective
EED 214/05 Management and Leadership in Education

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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

Unit 4 Leadership, Educational
Reform and Effective
Educational Management
Unit overview 1

Unit objectives 1

4.1 Systemic change in education organisation 3

Objectives 3

Introduction 3

Change as defined 3

Conditions conducive for effective change 5

What strategies to follow? 7

Suggested answers to activities 8

4.2 Leadership and effective educational institution 11

Objectives 11

Introduction 11

School leaders as change agents 11

Effects of change 13

Suggested answers to activities 14

4.3 Educational institutional reforms 17

Objectives 17

Introduction 17

Challenges for school principals 17

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Systemic reforms 18

Reforms through transformational leadership 19

Reforms through moral leadership 20

Instructional reform and school capacity 21

Human capital development in school reform 21

Suggested answers to activities 23

Summary of Unit 4 25

Suggested answers to self-test 27

References 29
UNIT 4 1
Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

Unit Overview

U nit 4 deals with educational institution reform and effective educational

institution management. Challenges on leadership and management depict the
current issues faced by educational leaders and managers. Systemic reform is discussed
as an important factor to improve the practice of management and leadership so as
to achieve effective educational institution management.

Unit Objectives
By the end of Unit 4, you should be able to:

1. Explain the importance of effective educational institution management.

2. Explain the significance of effective institutional leadership.

3. Identify challenges on leadership and management.

4. Illustrate with examples of the approaches to educational institutional reform.

5. Suggest how institutional reforms in educational organisations can be more

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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

4.1 Systemic Change in Education

By the end of this section, you should be able to:

1. Explain the effects of systematic change on effective educational institutional

management and leadership.

2. Discuss the conditions that are condusive to change in educational


3. Suggest strategies for change for effective institutional leadership.

The present educational environment demands educational leaders and managers
to handle change, which require them to make major changes in the organisations,
especially in schools. A proposed change is either a top-down change or initiated
change. Even though change is expected to bring positive results, it will still challenge
the status quo and may pose threatening situations to certain individuals. Razik
and Swanson (2010) argue that in the current turbulent environment, leaders have
the responsibility to maintain organisational stability despite the constant change.

Change as defined
According to Razik and Swanson (2010), there are three basic questions we need
to ask about change: What is change? What are the scenarios of current changes?
Why are changes necessary? We will now explore systemic change and its effects
on effective educational institutional management and leadership.


Please read Chapter 13 ‘Systemic change’ on pages 347 – 367

of Razik and Swanson (2010).
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Razik and Swanson (2010) have cited several definitions of change given by scholars.
These definitions are summarised in Table 4.1.

Scholar Definition

Hanson (1985) The altering of behaviour, structures, procedures, purposes, or

outputs of some units within an organisation.

Smith (2002) Any intentional shift in the way the organisation does business
related to their competitors.

Kanter, Stein A constant process of steering the organisational direction.

and Jick (1992)

Table 4.1 Definitions of change

Based on the definitions above, change is considered as the primary means for
organisations to remain fit, healthy, and able to cope with new and differing demands
(Razik and Swanson, 348).

Activity 4.1

Four types of change can happen in educational organisations:

1. Enforced change

2. Expedient change

3. Essential change

4. Planned change

Match the four types of change above with the description below:

A. Internally driven change initiated by the organisation to monitor

and to improve performance. Updating the curriculum within
the appropriate time frame is an example of essential change,
aims to improve program marketability.

B. Change forced on organisations as a result of identified

requirements imposed by external forces such as changes
imposed by the Ministry of Education. The teaching of science
and mathematics back to Bahasa Malaysia is an example of
enforced change in teaching and learning.
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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

C. A deliberate and planned attempt to change, aims to fulfil the

achievement of predetermined objectives and goals within the
organisational values. A strategic plan developed to achieve
certain specified objectives is an example of a planned change.

D. Short-term change, which normally is reactive in nature,

implemented by the organisation to meet immediate concerns.
An alteration of annual financial resources to finance the cost for
repairing a damaged roof due to storm is an example of expedient

Conditions conducive for effective change

Organisations that are successful in implementing changes have conditions
conducive for such changes to happen. Researches have been conducted to identify
the conditions for successful change (Everard, Morris and Wilson, 2004). These
conditions can be listed as follows:

1. Educational organisations must have clear purpose and be goal directed 

all should work towards the stated goals and have a clear direction to perform
their tasks.

2. The working structure must not hamper the creativity of the members to
perform their tasks.

3. Members should be given the opportunities to contribute to the development

and success of the organisation.

4. Members should be respected as individuals and rewarded for outstanding


5. The organisation should avoid negative practices and get away from
organisational politicking.

6. The organisation must have the ability to respond to environmental changes

and increased external demands.

To sum up, organisational effectiveness depends on two significant factors;

organisational plan for development and professional staff development program
because effective change in educational organisations, according to Fullan (1982),
cannot occur without improvements to teachers’ working life.
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Look at the following figure and try to explain what is meant by each condition.

Figure 4.1 Conditions conducive for change

Activity 4.2

Explain each of the six conditions in Figure 4.1.

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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

What strategies to follow?


Please read Chapter 13 on pages 352 – 356 of Razik and Swanson

(2010) to focus on the strategies for change.

The involvement and cooperation of the members of the organisation are essential for
the successful implementation of change initiatives. A leader cannot simply attempt
to impose and implement change single-handedly, but he or she must develop or
formulate strategies to introduce and implement change.

We can summarise Razik and Swanson’s description of strategies for change in

Table 4.2.

Strategy Explanation

Planned Identify changes and use forces to bring about change.

change Leaders need to minimise those members who wish to
maintain status quo and increase those members who push for

Rational- Authoritative and deterministic, and view changes as

empirical deterministic. Assume that people are rational and will act in
their best interests when they know the benefits to them.

Normative- View change as needed and involves change agent to solve

reeducative perceived problems. Assume that people are social beings and
will subscribe to cultural and normal values.

Power-coercive Change is made on power base. Apply political, economic and

moral power to manipulate change. Assume that people are
compliant and will do what they are told to do.

Environmental- Change is based on building a new organisation to respond to

adaptive external requirements. Assume people are adaptive although
they oppose change.

Attitude Change is based on desired consensus and reduction of

change hostility. Members in the organisation should develop positive
attitude towards change and are willing to sacrifice for the
sake of change.

Transactional Change is made through a combination of efforts between

change management and teams of change. Management and the
teams play a central role to implement change.
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Action research Change is viewed as a cyclical process involving the

model for organisational members and organisational development
change practitioners. Change is made based on action research
approach, emphasising data collection.

Table 4.2 Strategies for change

Activity 4.3

Assume that you have been appointed to give a 30-minute

presentation about change to your organisation. Identify what area
is in dire need of change and determine what strategy you think is
most appropriate to implement such change.


In summary, we have defined change, presented types of change

as well as the conditons that are condusive for change to occur in
educational institutions. We also discussed several strategies that
can be attempted to bring about change.

Suggested answers to activities


Activity 4.1

1. Enforced change: B.

2. Expedient change: D.

3. Essential change: A.

4. Planned change: C.
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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

Activity 4.2

Purpose: Effective organisations have a clear purpose and are goal

directed. Therefore, members in the organisations are focused
and will work towards the achievement of such purpose and
goals. Schools with clear goals and have documented evidence for
the stated objectives such as to achieve 100% passes in national
examinations will give strong emphasis on academic activities.

Structure: The organisational structure is developed according to

the work requirements, not just by authority, power, or conformity.
Power is dispensed to members to do things according to the work
requirement. As an example, power to repair the damaged living skill
equipment is delegated to the teacher in-charge of the living skills
subject rather than the school principal himself bearing the burden.

Process: Decisions are made by those responsible and not according

to the position in the hierarchical level. Continuing from the
previous example, decision to repair the damaged equipment is
made by the teacher in-charge and not the school principal.

People: The members’ identity, integrity and freedom are respected.

They are given a certain degree of autonomy to perform their tasks
and are rewarded for the good job done. Benchmarking and healthy
competition among members are encouraged, while achievements
are celebrated together. In teaching, teachers are encouraged to think
outside the box to enhance students’ learning experience. Learning
does not occur in the class only. It can also happen in the field or
in other environments.

Realism: The organisations avoid organisational politicking and

have a systematic feedback mechanism to evaluate performance.
They use factual data and valid information for planning purposes.
As an example, the organisations will conduct action research to
find ways to solve identified problems or to improve challenges in
teaching and learning.

Environment: The organisations are treated as open systems, where

they are constantly reacting and interacting with the environment.
External pressures or changing demands expected from the
external environment are given the required responses so that the
organisations will not be left behind.
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Activity 4.3

The answer here will depend solely on your choice of what areas in
your organisation that needs change. Any of the strategies above may
be appropriate as long as you can justify its use and effectiveness in
the context of the change desired in your organisation.
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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

4.2 Leadership and Effective

Educational Institution
By the end of this section, you should be able to:

1. Identify characteristics of effective change agents.

2. Explain factors affecting change in educational institutional management

and leadership.

3. Discuss the effects of change on educational institutions.

This section will introduce you to systemic change as the outcome of leadership
practices. We shall look at school leaders as change agents, then factors affecting
change in schools, followed by the effects of change in school.

School leaders as change agents

Leaders should play their role as change agents. Effective change agents will see the
need for change, visualise what can be done to go for change and move forward by
developing strategies to make change happen (Razik and Swanson 2010).


Please read pages 358 – 362 of Razik and Swanson (2010).

We can summarise Razik and Swanson’s description of effective change agents in

Table 4.3.

Domain Explanations

Characteristics Effective leaders as change agents possess high intelligence,

high initiative, strong orientation to people and goal
achievement, have clear vision on organisational achievements.
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Functions Develop change-inducing system by mobilising individuals and

groups who have positive thinking about change.

Make groups of change focused on original goals.

Balance the change process so that the groups will focus on

achieving the defined goals of change and not on personal

Table 4.3 Effective leaders as change agents

Activity 4.4

Look at your organisation and answer the following questions.

1. What change or changes do you feel should take place in your

organisation to improve its performance?

2. Why do you think the changes would improve the performance

of your organisation?

3. Who should lead the process of change?


4. When should the change take place?



Please read pages 362 – 366 of Razik and Swanson (2010).

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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

Change is continuously present in schools and there are various factors as mentioned
by Razik and Swanson (2010). These factors can be summarised as follows:

1. Advancement of information technology.

2. Changes in funding mechanisms.

3. Growing poverty among underclass children.

4. Demands of new market segments.

5. Increased attention on examination results.

6. Greater expectations of efficiency and effectiveness of school systems.

Activity 4.5

Name some issues from stakeholders and other interested parties

that are affecting our educational institutions.

Effects of change
The effects of change can be divided into four categories:

1. Effects on school conditions  positive conditions for learning will enhance

students’ learning experience in schools. Teachers feel motivated, students
feel they are respected, and administrators feel they are needed to contribute
to the success of the school. For the organisation, change will bring about:

a. organisational effectiveness

b. reduced cost

c. improved teacher work load

d. better education for students

2. Teachers  Teachers’ morale will increase if the changes will benefit them.
Although initially some may resist change, it is believed that gradually they
will accept change as a necessity. There are several reasons for wanting change:

a. to impress others
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b. to advance one’s career

c. to reduce pressure for change

d. to foster professional interests

3. Classroom conditions  better classroom conditions will promote a

conducive environment for teaching and learning. Better ventilation,
furniture and layout of classrooms, for instance, may be desirable.

4. Stakeholders  Parents, non-governmental organisations, employers,

sponsors, and government agencies are some of the stakeholders having
interests in educational organisations’ success.


Section 4.2 focused on school leaders as change agents. Discussion

included characteristics and functions of effective change agents,
factors affecting change and effects of change on educational

Suggested answers to activities


Activity 4.4

1. Work procedures  check all the outdated procedures and

try to improve on them. Look also at working attitudes of
our colleagues including ourselves. Strive for positive thinking.
In terms of teaching, we have to improve our mode of teaching
and approaches in conducting our classes.

2. Outdated procedures will stifle our performance because we

have to respond to new demands and higher expectations from
our customers. In terms of teaching, students expect the teachers
to be proactive in our teaching and come up with new ideas of
enhancing students’ learning experience. New ways of teaching
such as problem-based teaching or constructive alignment
approach can be utilised in our class teaching.
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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

3. In school, the principal or head-teacher should lead the way

because they are supposed to be the leader to provide instructional
leadership, focusing on teaching and learning. Alternatively,
teachers should also take the initiative in improving their way
of teaching. In working departments, on the other hand, the
senior officers should lead the way to initiate change. They
should provide the impetus for new ideas to improve service
delivery to customers. At the same time, all workers, if they
possess positive attitudes, can have a favourable environment
for change in working attitudes.

4. Change is a continuous process affecting all organisations and

there is a saying that the only permanent thing in this world is
change. So, we have to go for change continuously. However,
we must not just change for the sake of change. All the necessary
steps in the process of change must be taken into consideration.
Get the consensus of our members and promote change in a way
that will not cause dissatisfaction among members. Nevertheless,
to introduce change is not an easy task because people have
their own reasons to resist change.

Activity 4.5

1. Higher expectations from parents and students.

2. Increased interests from non-governmental organisations.

3. Active participation from parent-teachers associations.

4. Government policies to transform the education system.

5. Accountability purposes imposed by the government.

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4.3 Educational Institutional Reforms

By the end of this section, you should be able to:

1. Give examples of the impact of institutional reforms on the school.

2. Examine approaches to educational institutional reform.

3. Explain institutional reforms in educational organisations.

Education reform is a planned, systematic initiative or programme which aims to
bring about positive outcomes in education. The initiative is usually imposed by
the government and implemented through policies and strategies. The idea to re-
examine the examination format for example, can be viewed as an attempt to bring
about new changes to the ways examinations are conducted in our education system.
This section focuses on educational institutional reforms.

Challenges for school principals

Today’s educational leaders especially school leaders are hurried, overburdened
and frustrated by their inability to cope with increasing demands and expectations
(Sergiovanni, 2009). A survey on how principals perceive their jobs in the USA
shows that school principals view their jobs as having five challenges.

First challenge:

Increased workload  Principals have to deal with increasing social and personal
needs of students and families, increasing legal requirements imposed by the relevant
agencies and an expanding list of job responsibilities.

Second challenge:

Frustrations  Increased workload followed by time constraints, political interference,

bureaucratic procedures, more paperworks and greater demand for accountability
have made principals frustrated with their jobs.
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Third challenge:

More responsibilities, less authority  Principals’ role have expanded. However,

many of them feel that although they have more responsibilities, they are now
having less authority.

Fourth challenge:

Decreased effectiveness  As a result of having more responsibilities, but suffering

from less authority, principals feel that they have become less effective in functioning
as leaders. Their times have much been used for urgent management issues that
demand their immediate attention (routine works), which sometimes are less
important with regard to the improvement of teaching and learning.

Fifth challenge:

Increased stress  The working conditions and workloads have increased the level
of stress among the school principals. Principals have been forced to compromise
between priorities on their personal lives with school priorities. Long working hours
and increased pressures have also made them suffer from fatigue that resulted in
increased stress.

Activity 4.6

Write a paragraph on each of the five challenges above in the context

of a school principal or teacher in Malaysia and for each of the
challenges, suggest a reform or solution to the challenge.

Systemic reforms
School reforms as mentioned by Razik and Swanson (2010) can be divided into
three phases. Phase one is on raising students’ performance, increasing teacher
quality, initiating longer school days and years, introducing competency tests,
standardised curricula, and introducing rigorous promotion criteria for students.
Phase two is on making the school an agent for change, which includes capacity
building, professional development and governance changes. Phase three focuses
on system and policy integration and coordination, targeting on structural reform,
school reform, and curricular reform.
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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

Activity 4.7

Over the past two decades, various types of reforms have taken
place in schools in Malaysia. They include the Smart School, Cluster
School, Vision Schools, The Teaching of Science and Mathematics
in English (PPSMI), SchoolNet, etc. Select any one reform and
write a 1,000 word report on how it is different from the regular
school or what is new or special about the reform.

For details, refer to the following websites:

Malaysian Smart School:

whatis/index.asp Blueprint

Malaysian Vision School:



Reforms through transformational leadership

Razik and Swanson (2010) defined transformational leadership as “Transformational
leaders bring about reforms in the organisations they lead”.


You are encouraged to read “Transformational leadership” on

page 383 in Razik and Swanson (2010).
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Effective schools are characterised by several important factors. The factors are:

1. Strong cultures.

2. Strong beliefs.

3. Accepted values across the schools.

4. Structurally loose.

Activity 4.8

What are the impacts of transformational leadership in educational


Reforms through moral leadership


You are encouraged to read “Moral leadership” on page 383 in

Razik and Swanson (2010).

Moral leadership according to Razik and Swanson (2010):

Moral leaders bring about reforms through their own moral strength and the inherent
righteousness of the reform they are committed to.

Activity 4.9

Is moral leadership necessary for schools? Why?

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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

Instructional reform and school capacity

The principal or headmaster, as the main leader in a school, followed by the senior
assistants, department heads and other senior teachers will have to manage three
important aspects with regard to the core activities of the school. These are as follows:

1. Managing and adapting the curriculum  activities include matching the

curriculum to the students’ needs, matching with the national curriculum,
meeting tomorrow’s needs, developing the curriculum relevant to practice,
and leading and managing the curriculum.

2. Managing the pedagogical aspect of teaching  activities include managing

the pedagogical strengths of the teachers to improve teaching and learning

3. Managing the assessment  activities include diagnosing learning needs,

helping students to improve and comparing school’s results with others.
Various aspects of assessment need to be checked including questioning,
marking and formatting of summative tests.

Human capital development in school reform

It is important to develop others to become leaders or to make others feel that they
are needed to lead the organisation. Reform can only happen when the whole school
community is involved. Leadership is needed at all levels of the school hierarchy
including the support staff. Outside community participation is also important
besides the higher authorities. Within the school itself, there has to be a systematic
and integrated human capital development program for school reform to succeed.
People have to be trained not only in the technical aspects of the reform but also in
change management as new structures, roles and responsibilities bring with it new
ways of looking at and doing things.

Now read the following quotation by John Maxwell (2008, p.188)


The day that I realised I could no longer do everything myself was a major step in
my development as a person and a leader. I’ve always had a vision, plenty of ideas,
and vast amounts of energy. But when the vision gets bigger than you, you really
only have two choices: give up on the vision or get help. I chose the latter.

No matter how successful you are, no matter how important or accomplished,

you do need people. That’s why you need to let them know that you cannot win
without them.
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Activity 4.10

So, what can you say about leadership as mentioned in John

Maxwell’s quote? Discuss it with your course mates and try to relate
to your experiences.


In this section we had examined educational reform and its impact

on schools, including the challenges it imposed on school leaders.
The role of leadership in institutional reform was also highlighted
in particular through transformational and moral leadership. Finally
we discussed instructional reform and human capital development
in school reform.

Self-test 4.1

Answer the following questions in your own words.

1. Explain the three components of effective school leadership and


2. What are the challenges faced by school leaders and suggest what
kind of leader will be able to overcome the identified challenges.

3. Suggest ways whereby an educational reform can be effective.


4. What are some aspects of leadership that are relevant to future

leadership roles?
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Suggested answers to activities


Activity 4.6

What you write will depend on your experience or perception of

the challenges facing the school heads and teachers. Nevertheless,
you are to state your honest opinion and suggest solutions based
on the five challenges.

Activity 4.7

Depending on your source, you should be able to write a report

highlighting the gist of the type of reform and how it is different or
what problem it is trying to solve. Sources of information include
the MOE website, journal articles, official reports, bulletins and
newspaper articles.

Activity 4.8

1. Leaders develop meanings that are shared by the members of

the organisation.

2. Increased motivation and commitment among teachers and


3. Lead to values such as excellence, democracy and equality.

4. Effective leadership is seen in long-range planning, goal oriented

and focus on school vision and mission.

Activity 4.9

In the world plagued by changes, moral leadership is essential. Moral

leadership replaces the traditional hierarchical practice of leadership.
Leaders will be able to initiate and sustain change through shared
values. Members will be united to act in morally responsive ways
to achieve organisational goals.
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Activity 4.10

As a leader, one should lead by example. Like in this case, a leader

should let the people around him or her know that you need them
and you appreciate their contributions towards the organisational
success. One way is to invest in teams, realising that a team can
enable you to do what is best for the organisation. Building a strong
team is like developing a nest egg. Although it is difficult during
the initial stage, the reward will bring high returns to organisational
sustainability. Remember the following:

1. A team is better than you alone.

2. A team multiplies your values to others.

3. A team enables you to do what you do best.

4. A team fulfils your desire.

5. A team provides enjoyment.

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Leadership, educational reform and effective educational management

Summary of Unit 4


This unit has introduced the concepts of educational institutional

reform and effective educational institutional management.
Challenges on leadership and management depict the current
issues faced by educational leaders and managers. Systematic
reform is discussed as an important factor to improve the practice
of management and leadership. Some local examples of educational
reform have been discussed.
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Suggested Answers to Self-test


Self-test 4.1

1. Three components  managing the people which include

the role of a leader as a manager, motivating the people, taking
and implementing decisions, managing conflicts and managing
oneself as a leader. Second component is managing the
organisation including managing the teams, managing the
curriculum, managing the quality and managing the resources.
The third component is managing the environment which
includes parents, non-governmental organisations, employers,
and others.

2. The challenges include increased workload, frustrations,

more responsibilities but less authority, decreased effectiveness,
and increased stress. Leaders have to be adaptive and possess
the characteristics required of leaders to be able to overcome
these challenges.

3. If our system can get away from too exam-oriented curriculum,

and focus more on students’ learning outcomes, especially
on the development of various skills such as communication
skills, leadership skills, entrepreneurial skills, critical thinking
and problem-solving skills, and ethics, then we can expect an
effective educational reform.

4. Leaders need to possess the required skills and characteristics.

They must be able to utilise several models of leadership in their
practices. There are three important components for leadership.
These are the dimensions of leadership which include strategic
dimensions, ethical dimensions, and the competency needed.
Second, leading strategic change which includes managing and
leading change. Third, leading learning-knowledge management.
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Everard, K B, Morris, G and Wilson, I (2004) Effective School Management,
4th edn, London: Paul Chapman.

Razik, T A and Swanson, A D (2010) Fundamental Concepts of Educational

Leadership and Management, 3rd edn, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Sergiovanni, T J, Kelleher, P, McCarthy, M and Fowler, F C (2009) Educational

Governance and Administration, 6th edn, Boston: Pearson.