Summary: Changing Agendas in Leadership
In my last blog in this series, I attempted to analyse the QRITC institutional situation, showing how two issues of ‘Leadership and Management: Changing Agendas in Education’ can impact the effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education. The issues I chose were: the debate between centralised and decentralised management forms (Smyth:1993:1) ; and, the discussion of engendering; particularly the differences between what is now referred to as the male and female ethos (Rogers:1988:1). I chose these as the priority of what an organisation should consider. These macro issues were the issues that could without initial consideration, prevent the delivery of quality contemporary education. I feel therefore the organisation needs to give these conscious (philosophical) consideration.
I highlighted the educational institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership style, and the effects this has had upon the organisation’s positioning within the industry for effective delivery of quality contemporary education. I proposed that two (2) of the responsibilities of Racing Division, the Management and Leadership of a Public Service Division of a Department and the Management and Leadership of a Commercially Run Operation Sub-Program, were in effect conflicting ideals.
Of consequence, the resultant culture at QRITC I believe exemplified how a centralised ethos, and in this specific instance, one that possesses a lack of sound/accepted forms of management practice, negatively impacted the effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education. It therefore provided the necessary justification as to why development is required to progress the traditional male management and leadership style to a more progressive alternative inclusive/ participative female management and leadership style. I also noted how I planned to outline a possible option – a more progressive alternative inclusive/ participative management and leadership style, site-based management – that QRITC could pursue, to ensure a far more effective delivery of quality contemporary commercial education can be realised.
The necessary background information about the organisation (QRITC) that I have chosen to investigate, in order to contextualise the investigation;
The Queensland Racing Industry Training Centre (QRITC) was established 4 years ago in response to a number of Industry Reports, both State and National, recommending Government intervention in the initiation of vocational training in the Queensland Racing Industry. The objective was, in the short term, to assist the three codes of the Racing industry -the thoroughbreds (or gallops); the standardbreds/harness (or trots); and, the greyhounds (or dogs) – in the establishment of a training infrastructure. The benefit in the long term was identified as being the continued growth and development of a major revenue-generating industry in the State.
This infrastructure has since provided training to both State participants as well as participants from International markets that want to take advantage of the level of training that is offered in Australia for this Industry. Since 1995, over 200 Australian students have been, or are currently being trained and educated throughout the State. In addition to the State training, the training of International persons began about 3 years ago. As a commercial venture, some 250 students have been, or are currently being trained in various aspects of the equine industry. Delivery is via nationally (Australian) accredited curriculum that is claimed to be on par with world Racing Industry Training standards. QRITC currently operates as a sub-program of the Racing Division, within the Department of Tourism, Sport and Racing. The Racing Division is responsible for :
Advising/Constructing Government Policy with regard to the Queensland Racing Industry
Providing Leadership to an Industry
Implementing Government Policy- Training and Education-in a specific industry
Management and Leadership of a Public Service Division of a Department
Management and Leadership of a Commercially Run Operation Sub-Program
The sub-program is operated centrally by the Division with all control of the finance, physical and human resources held there. The purpose/rationale for this centralised approach is ambiguous, but one view is that due to a lack of faith in the management /accountability process of the sub-program, and given the highly political environment that the sub-program exists within, the Director of Racing Division is not of a mind to relinquish control. It is my intention to show indirectly, that 2 of the responsibilities of Racing Division, the Management and Leadership of a Public Service Division of a Department and the Management and Leadership of a Commercially Run Operation Sub-Program, are in effect conflicting ideals. I intend to show that the ethos of the department to be centralised, and the need for a commercially run educational institution – in order to remain relevant, competitive, and therefore viable – to operate out of a decentralised structure, are mutually exclusive. I intend to show how this contradictory situation has impacted the organisation’s delivery effectiveness. I will cite what I perceive to be evidence of this, both at the macro level of failing to fulfill the industry needs, and secondly at the micro level of the operation, failing to satisfy the staff and client’s needs. I will then present a summary of these educational institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership oversights.
A summary of the effects the institution’s (QRITC) management and leadership style has had in my view, follows;
Inappropriate strategic management (purposeful company)
Failure to involve the Industry in the development of its’ industry;
Failure to position the organisation within the industry appropriately (that is, delivering a relevant product/training);
Failure to position the organisation within the industry within a certain period of time, achieving a level of self-funding/governance;
Inappropriate operational management (integrated whole company system)
Failure to strategically plan the organisation’s development;
Failure to operationally plan the organisation’s development;
Failure to provide appropriate leadership to the operational decision-makers, particularly concerning the above two points;
Failure to provide the appropriate management support to the operational decision-makers;
In terms of product delivery,
Inappropriate methodologies management (curriculum-program)
Failing to consider the course objectives as a whole, in detail and determining how, if at all, technological resources could be incorporated as one of the methodologies, as an instructional tool for enhanced learning within this context;
Failure to determine how the competencies were to be assessed, and then failing to utilise appropriate methodologies to assist the learners in arriving at this point;
Neglecting the style of course being offered and failing to incorporate much needed industry ‘practical’/experiential sessions;
Failing to determine whether the course, given the time constraints and the learner group, would be of an ‘instructional’ or ‘discovery’ style;
Inappropriate methodologies-learner (learner differences-learner style)
Failing to address the range of learners attending the course and determining if technological resources could be incorporated as an instructional tool for whose particular enhanced learning;
Inappropriate methodologies-learner (learner differences-motivation)
Failing to address the range of learners attending the course and determining what they would be interested in, and offering them a range of options;
Inappropriate methodologies-learner (learner differences-educational background)
Failing to address the range of learners attending the course by ignoring the disparity of technological literacy levels.
Inappropriate methodologies-teacher (teacher training-lesson plan)
Incorporating technology as an add-on (that is, for its’ own sake) instead of as a tool of leverage. That is, in the playing of games instead of utilising the technology for the support of the ‘acquisition of the content’ process;
Whilst essentially this investigation commenced as a fairly general applied analysis of both management and leadership issues in a 1990’s educational institution, the two (2) ‘distinct’ areas that became obvious were:
The management and leadership processes of the delivery of the curriculum, and;
the management and leadership processes of the organisation.
The distinction is supported by my feeling for quite some time now that both processes are interdependent (linked by necessity) for the successful realisation of an effective 20th century educational institutions’ goal (Limerick and Cranston : forthcoming:8:table 2).
However, in my experience of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) institutions, these two processes are more often than not, treated independently, and usually separately by both different organisational members: the curriculum by educational staff and the organisation by business managers.
It has been my opinion that for Australian EFL educational institutions to progress to the next level of exemplar service delivery, EFL management and leadership has to be produced collaboratively between business and educational minds. I would go a step further and suggest that educational staff need to develop their business knowledge and skills and likewise, for any business person that chooses to be involved within an educational institution, needs to become aware of fundamental educational issues (Limerick and Cranston:forthcoming:8:table 3).
I hope to show, as a result of further analysis, that the two distinct areas of management and leadership processes in a contemporary educational institution (management and leadership of the organisation and the management and leadership of the delivery of the curriculum/program) are in fact interdependent. Both processes are in actual fact not that distinct, but very much interrelated and dependent upon each other for each areas’ effective realisation. For this to occur, each discipline must learn from the other discipline, and contribute to the decision-making process of the institution as a whole (Limerick and Cranston:forthcoming:8:table 3).I also hope to show that this view of interdependency in itself, exemplifies the characteristic traits of the female ethos (Rogers:1988:1).
At QRITC, the two distinct areas of this contemporary educational institution are operating out of diametrically opposed ethos. Interdependency remains a theoretical concept, with little application. I propose that for this particular educational organisation to realise effective commercial education delivery, the two distinct areas of management and leadership processes (management and leadership of the organisation and the management and leadership of the delivery of the curriculum/program) have to be considered interdependently.
Two Projects that arise as a result of this investigation, are:
may be to look at how we can, as educational institutional leaders, influence/manipulate the historically male organisational structures in an integrated business development sequence, moving them to 4th blueprint type organisations;
perhaps how we can, as educational institutional leaders, influence/manipulate the historically male society, in the development of the female ethos qualities of societal members, irrespective of their true gender/individual learner differences. This is based on the belief that irrespective of individual learner differences, people have been socialised by being a part of the current male ethos dominated society (organisational and educational systems). This action would be aimed at developing persons, suitable for a 4th blueprint type organisation society.
With such vast issues remaining unresolved, it is little wonder that leadership and management issues will continue to be investigated and debated.
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– ©David L Page 18/06/1999
– updated ©David L Page 12/09/2013
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