Charting change : mapmakers, routefinders, the disoriented, the disengaged : primary headteachers' perceptions of the role in managing change
Educational restructuring and reform have not been reflected in recent research on the role of the head. Existing literature suggests that change is difficult to implement unless those involved support and 'own' it. A growing body of research has identified leadership as a key function in change. Vision is regarded by many as a critical component of leadership. Informed by theories of leadership, management and organisation, the research fuses the strengths of quantitative and qualitative methodologies to provide new information on heads' views of national policies and insights about the ways these relate to heads' understandings of their role in managing change. The study focuses on understandings rather than behaviours. A questionnaire to headteachers in the Grampian Region of Scotland concentrated on recent national policy in relation to nine themes: education, teaching and learning, collaboration, teachers' responsibilities, workload, accountability, influence, role, and effectiveness. A stratified random sample of heads was interviewed to explore perceptions of role; to 'surface' the assumptions underpinning these perceptions; and to form an understanding of how heads sought to manage the policy changes in their own schools. Four ideal types of heads were derived from the data. Mapmakers, endorsed as the most effective type of head, possessed a vision, a mental map of the interrelationships of the components of change. They were leading change in their schools. Routefinders were aspiring to a more interconnected understanding of policy and practice, but their overall map was not yet identifiable. The Disoriented were coping but were typified by disorientation and reactivity. The Disengaged were introducing change reluctantly where to take no action would be perceived as culpable.