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Subject:

Re: open systems

From:

Debbie Roderick <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 2 Apr 1999 09:00:24 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (297 lines)

Steve,

I am very encouraged to know these ideas are spreading.  We have talked about
the systems approach for a few years, but it takes a long time to move in that
direction.  My hope is that more systems thinkers will become leaders.  Your
paper is a very good work in progress.  I look forward to reading the finished
product.  Where will it be published?  Will you present it at any conferences?
Thanks for sharing.

Debbie Roderick
Gavilan College
Gilroy, CA

Wallace, Steve wrote:

> This message is in MIME format. Since your mail reader does not understand
> this format, some or all of this message may not be legible.
>
> ------_=_NextPart_001_01BE7C85.5D8B1766
> Content-Type: text/plain;
>         charset="iso-8859-1"
>
> This may be much more than you bargained for, but I am currently writing a
> paper on open-systems educational leadership.  What follows is a very rough
> draft of some of the material that may add to your understanding of open
> systems. If you have any suggestions, please send them.
>
> Steve Wallace
>
> Two Competing Models of Leadership
>
> The model of leadership implemented depends on the theoretical framework in
> which it is designed.  Much research and effort have been directed to
> redefine the roles of formal school leaders, to raise the bar for the
> practice of educational leadership, and to enhance the skills of school
> leaders by identifying model standards for school leaders.  Such standards
> are directed at enhancing the skills of school leaders and coupling
> leadership with effective educational processes and valued outcomes.
> Existing models used to evaluate school leaders are based primarily on a
> machine imagery that emphasizes structure and parts-closed system.  In the
> machine model, the school organization is viewed in terms of tasks,
> functions and hierarchies.  People are organized into roles with clear lines
> of authority.  Behavioral checklists are devised to quantify the performance
> of the various parts.  In this process, evaluators have analyzed the parts
> to death, and poor outcomes have been addressed with recommendations to move
> the pieces around.   In essence, such efforts built upon a machine model
> serve more as a form of control than of leadership development.
>
> In the open systems approach to understanding educational leadership, the
> focus is on the human-environment interactions.  Leadership is understood as
> a process of social meaning making (Center for Creative Leadership) that
> must be socially critical and oriented towards social vision and change, not
> simply organizational goals (Foster ?).  Three key components become the
> foundation of effective leadership: influence, relationship, and process.
> Influence is what results when the leader has been effective in helping
> individuals or a group find meaning through commitments to one another
> (Center for Creative Leadership). Leaders make few choices on their own;
> rather they are programmed by various influences and voices.  Leadership
> involves not just being in tune with those influences and voices, but also
> creating environments where new influences and voices can emerge.  Rather
> than quieting the new voices, effective leaders orchestrate the voices into
> a shared message.  Heifetz (    ) uses the analogy of music.  Music teaches
> dissonance as an integral part of harmony.  Without tension and conflict,
> music is not dynamic or moving.  The key is for each note to contribute to
> the overall flow and rhythm so that the meaning of the music is shared.
>
> The open systems model emphasizes that leadership is always dependent on the
> context.  Each school is characterized by its unique culture that emerges
> from the relationship between the school's vision and values with those of
> the surrounding environment.  Each leader is characterized by his/her unique
> sense of self that emerges from the relationship between the individual's
> history and his/her surrounding environment.  What is crucial is the
> relationship created between the person and the setting.   That relationship
> will always be unique.
> Relationship becomes the key determiner of what is to be observed.  Rather
> than the school leader simply being a manager who strategically manipulates
> the various parts around, the effective school leader must be able to
> strategically build strong relationships and to nurture both personal and
> organizational growth.  To facilitate this process, the leader must be a
> person of vision with clarity about the purpose and direction of education,
> and the person must embrace the virtues, traditions, aspirations that
> enhance the culture of the school.  The leader's role is to communicate that
> guiding vision, the strong values, and the organizational beliefs and to
> keep them ever present and clear.  This will necessitate that the leader
> effectively uses skills in listening, communicating, and facilitating group
> interaction.  The leader will have the ability to allow the school's form to
> emerge as it will, while unobtrusively ensuring that it goes where it
> should.  The leader will stand as a conduit to channel resources to make
> something happen.  The leader will need to evoke a sense of followership by
> empowering others so that a sense of ownership is developed.  A key will be
> the ability to evoke potential that already exists.  Historians note that
> Churchill's success occurred because of his ability to transform private
> meaning into a public meaning.  It is said that he inspired because the
> things he said were already in the hearts of the people.  Most importantly,
> the leader will be a change agent who ensures that the school grows and
> adapts with a self-renewing resiliency rather than stability.
>
> Building on the new science assumptions that organizations can act as living
> systems and evolve with changing conditions, Daft and Lengel (1998) describe
> a way of leading based on the metaphor of fusion rather than fission.
> Physics distinguishes between fission and fusion.  Fission creates energy by
> splitting the nucleus of an atom.  This is a very sensitive operation that
> demands vigilant control.  They note that the leadership practices that
> emerged over the last century employed a fission model.  Driven by mass
> production and scientific management objectives, this model was based on a
> division of labor by separating people and work into roles and tasks, and
> formal authority and control to direct individual behavior to meet the needs
> of the organization.  Daft and Lengel conclude that this machine-like
> approach did create stable, efficient, routinized organizations; however,
> such an approach is not adequate to meet the demands of a changing world
> because it restricts ingenuity and creativity and generates organizational
> inertia with respect to change.  Fusion is the opposite of fission.  Rather
> than splitting apart, fusion joins together atomic nuclei.  When fusion
> occurs, it produces five times more energy than fission.  "Fusion is about
> reducing barriers by encouraging conversations, information sharing, and
> joint responsibility across boundaries.  Fusion is achieving a sense of
> unity, coming to perceive others as part of the same whole rather than as
> separate.  It is seeing similarities rather than differences.  Fusion
> implies common ground and a sense of community based on what people
> share-vision, norms, and outcomes, for example.  And for an individual,
> fusion means not splitting off or ignoring essential parts of one's self"
> (15-16).
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Annette Gourgey [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Thursday, April 01, 1999 10:29 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Free classes in many subjects
>
> John (or any other interested parties),
>
> Would you explain a bit more to those of us new to the term
> "systems thinking" what you mean by its application to education?
>
> Annette Gourgey
> [log in to unmask]
>
> ------_=_NextPart_001_01BE7C85.5D8B1766
> Content-Type: text/html;
>         charset="iso-8859-1"
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
>
> <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2//EN">
> <HTML>
> <HEAD>
> <META HTTP-EQUIV=3D"Content-Type" CONTENT=3D"text/html; =
> charset=3Diso-8859-1">
> <META NAME=3D"Generator" CONTENT=3D"MS Exchange Server version =
> 5.5.2232.0">
> <TITLE>RE: open systems</TITLE>
> </HEAD>
> <BODY>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>This may be much more than you bargained for, but I =
> am currently writing a paper on open-systems educational =
> leadership.&nbsp; What follows is a very rough draft of some of the =
> material that may add to your understanding of open systems. If you =
> have any suggestions, please send them.</FONT></P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Steve Wallace</FONT>
> </P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Two Competing Models of Leadership</FONT>
> </P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>The model of leadership implemented depends on the =
> theoretical framework in which it is designed.&nbsp; Much research and =
> effort have been directed to redefine the roles of formal school =
> leaders, to raise the bar for the practice of educational leadership, =
> and to enhance the skills of school leaders by identifying model =
> standards for school leaders.&nbsp; Such standards are directed at =
> enhancing the skills of school leaders and coupling leadership with =
> effective educational processes and valued outcomes. Existing models =
> used to evaluate school leaders are based primarily on a machine =
> imagery that emphasizes structure and parts-closed system.&nbsp; In the =
> machine model, the school organization is viewed in terms of tasks, =
> functions and hierarchies.&nbsp; People are organized into roles with =
> clear lines of authority.&nbsp; Behavioral checklists are devised to =
> quantify the performance of the various parts.&nbsp; In this process, =
> evaluators have analyzed the parts to death, and poor outcomes have =
> been addressed with recommendations to move the pieces =
> around.&nbsp;&nbsp; In essence, such efforts built upon a machine model =
> serve more as a form of control than of leadership =
> development.</FONT></P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>In the open systems approach to understanding =
> educational leadership, the focus is on the human-environment =
> interactions.&nbsp; Leadership is understood as a process of social =
> meaning making (Center for Creative Leadership) that must be socially =
> critical and oriented towards social vision and change, not simply =
> organizational goals (Foster ?).&nbsp; Three key components become the =
> foundation of effective leadership: influence, relationship, and =
> process.&nbsp; Influence is what results when the leader has been =
> effective in helping individuals or a group find meaning through =
> commitments to one another (Center for Creative Leadership). Leaders =
> make few choices on their own; rather they are programmed by various =
> influences and voices.&nbsp; Leadership involves not just being in tune =
> with those influences and voices, but also creating environments where =
> new influences and voices can emerge.&nbsp; Rather than quieting the =
> new voices, effective leaders orchestrate the voices into a shared =
> message.&nbsp; Heifetz (&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ) uses the analogy of =
> music.&nbsp; Music teaches dissonance as an integral part of =
> harmony.&nbsp; Without tension and conflict, music is not dynamic or =
> moving.&nbsp; The key is for each note to contribute to the overall =
> flow and rhythm so that the meaning of the music is shared.</FONT></P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>The open systems model emphasizes that leadership is =
> always dependent on the context.&nbsp; Each school is characterized by =
> its unique culture that emerges from the relationship between the =
> school's vision and values with those of the surrounding =
> environment.&nbsp; Each leader is characterized by his/her unique sense =
> of self that emerges from the relationship between the individual's =
> history and his/her surrounding environment.&nbsp; What is crucial is =
> the relationship created between the person and the =
> setting.&nbsp;&nbsp; That relationship will always be unique.</FONT></P>=
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Relationship becomes the key determiner of what is to =
> be observed.&nbsp; Rather than the school leader simply being a manager =
> who strategically manipulates the various parts around, the effective =
> school leader must be able to strategically build strong relationships =
> and to nurture both personal and organizational growth.&nbsp; To =
> facilitate this process, the leader must be a person of vision with =
> clarity about the purpose and direction of education, and the person =
> must embrace the virtues, traditions, aspirations that enhance the =
> culture of the school.&nbsp; The leader's role is to communicate that =
> guiding vision, the strong values, and the organizational beliefs and =
> to keep them ever present and clear.&nbsp; This will necessitate that =
> the leader effectively uses skills in listening, communicating, and =
> facilitating group interaction.&nbsp; The leader will have the ability =
> to allow the school's form to emerge as it will, while unobtrusively =
> ensuring that it goes where it should.&nbsp; The leader will stand as a =
> conduit to channel resources to make something happen.&nbsp; The leader =
> will need to evoke a sense of followership by empowering others so that =
> a sense of ownership is developed.&nbsp; A key will be the ability to =
> evoke potential that already exists.&nbsp; Historians note that =
> Churchill's success occurred because of his ability to transform =
> private meaning into a public meaning.&nbsp; It is said that he =
> inspired because the things he said were already in the hearts of the =
> people.&nbsp; Most importantly, the leader will be a change agent who =
> ensures that the school grows and adapts with a self-renewing =
> resiliency rather than stability.</FONT></P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Building on the new science assumptions that =
> organizations can act as living systems and evolve with changing =
> conditions, Daft and Lengel (1998) describe a way of leading based on =
> the metaphor of fusion rather than fission.&nbsp;&nbsp; Physics =
> distinguishes between fission and fusion.&nbsp; Fission creates energy =
> by splitting the nucleus of an atom.&nbsp; This is a very sensitive =
> operation that demands vigilant control.&nbsp; They note that the =
> leadership practices that emerged over the last century employed a =
> fission model.&nbsp; Driven by mass production and scientific =
> management objectives, this model was based on a division of labor by =
> separating people and work into roles and tasks, and formal authority =
> and control to direct individual behavior to meet the needs of the =
> organization.&nbsp; Daft and Lengel conclude that this machine-like =
> approach did create stable, efficient, routinized organizations; =
> however, such an approach is not adequate to meet the demands of a =
> changing world because it restricts ingenuity and creativity and =
> generates organizational inertia with respect to change.&nbsp; Fusion =
> is the opposite of fission.&nbsp; Rather than splitting apart, fusion =
> joins together atomic nuclei.&nbsp; When fusion occurs, it produces =
> five times more energy than fission.&nbsp; &quot;Fusion is about =
> reducing barriers by encouraging conversations, information sharing, =
> and joint responsibility across boundaries.&nbsp; Fusion is achieving a =
> sense of unity, coming to perceive others as part of the same whole =
> rather than as separate.&nbsp; It is seeing similarities rather than =
> differences.&nbsp; Fusion implies common ground and a sense of =
> community based on what people share-vision, norms, and outcomes, for =
> example.&nbsp; And for an individual, fusion means not splitting off or =
> ignoring essential parts of one's self&quot; (15-16). </FONT></P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>-----Original Message-----</FONT>
> <BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>From: Annette Gourgey [<A =
> HREF=3D"mailto:[log in to unmask]">mailto:[log in to unmask]</A>]<=
> /FONT>
> <BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>Sent: Thursday, April 01, 1999 10:29 AM</FONT>
> <BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>To: [log in to unmask]</FONT>
> <BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>Subject: Re: Free classes in many subjects</FONT>
> </P>
> <BR>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>John (or any other interested parties),</FONT>
> </P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Would you explain a bit more to those of us new to =
> the term</FONT>
> <BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>&quot;systems thinking&quot; what you mean by its =
> application to education?</FONT>
> </P>
>
> <P><FONT SIZE=3D2>Annette Gourgey</FONT>
> <BR><FONT SIZE=3D2>[log in to unmask]</FONT>
> </P>
>
> </BODY>
> </HTML>
> ------_=_NextPart_001_01BE7C85.5D8B1766--

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