ERIC Number: ED361863
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Jun
Approaches to Leadership Succession: What Comes with Experience?
Macmillan, Robert B.
This paper presents findings of a study that examined the ways in which principals' succession practices change as they gain greater experience with entry into different school settings. "Succession" refers to principal transfers to new schools. Data were collected from interviews conducted with five secondary school principals and some of their staffs in two Canadian school districts. The principals were grouped into three categories according to individual career stage--new, midcareer, and senior. Senge's (1990) notion of "creative tension" is used to frame the experience of principals, suggesting that as individuals gain experience, current reality becomes more important and that creative tension (the gap between current reality and vision) eases. Findings indicate that as principals gained experience, they took less extensive risks than those taken by new principals and became better informed by previous practice. The senior principal retreated from risk taking and disengaged himself from innovation, leaving the role of visionary to a vice-principal. A conclusion is that experience with succession may influence the principal's desire to act as an impetus for change and as the developer of creative tension. Two figures are included. (LMI)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 1993).