ERIC Number: ED228694
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Symbolism in Leadership (What Great Leaders Know That Ordinary Ones Do Not).
Sergiovanni, Thomas J.
The symbolic rather than the behavioral aspects of leadership are key factors. Research that indicates leaders make little difference to organizational effectiveness has paid too much attention to instrumental and behavioral aspects of leadership and not enough to symbolic and cultural aspects. Schools are not naturally rigid, as is thought, but rather are adaptive and discover or infer their goals from the direction they take. The problem of identifying leadership in schools comes from this limited view of the concept, which is too concerned with such leadership "facts" as objectives, behavior, outcomes, and measurable effectiveness. The substance of leadership actually deals mostly with social meanings in an organization's culture. The chief aspects of such symbolic leadership include leadership selectivity, meaning communicating priorities by managing the attention the leader pays to different things; leadership consciousness, involving the leader's espousing and modelling of purposes, standards, and beliefs; and leadership fidelity, involving the building of staff loyalty to organizational norms and aspirations. All these aspects of symbolic leadership help build "organizational patriotism" and improve organizational performance. (RW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Loyalty; Symbolic Action
Note: Prepared for the Institute of Educational Administration, Melbourne, Victoria (Australia) as an Occasional Paper.