Leaders' Change-Facilitating Actions
Leadership is the process of translating intentions into reality.
-- P. Block, 1987, p. 98
As suggested in the previous section, successful change of individuals'
knowledge and practices in classrooms and schools appears to be
accompanied by ongoing support and assistance to them as they are
implementing the changes. This assistance comes in various forms
and from various sources. One of the sources identified was school
principals, who can exercise leadership in facilitating the change
process. Principals are not the only persons providing facilitative
leadership, however, for such leadership is not defined by positions
on organizational charts. Rather, it is defined functionally.
Leadership vs. Management
The attention to leadership has been unprecedented in business,
and government, as well as education. What is the leadership function?
One aspect of the leadership discussion for the past several years
has focused on the distinction between management, which educational
administrators typically do with reasonable success, and leadership,
which educational administrators allegedly do not do, but should.
Although these concepts are frequently confused, several researchers
have made a clear distinction.
For example, Gardner (1990) suggests that leadership is "the process
of persuasion or example by which an individual (or leadership team)
induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader or shared
by the leader and his or her followers" (p. 1). Further, he reserves
the term "managers" for individuals who "hold a directive post in
an organization presiding over the resources by which the organization
functions, allocating resources prudently, and making the best possible
use of people" (Gardner, 1990, p. 3). In agreement, Tosi (1982)
suggests that "leading is an influence process; managing may be
seen as the act of making choices about the form and structure of
those factors that fall within the boundaries of managerial discretion"
As early as 1978, Burns distinguished between the role of manager,
who negotiates with employees to obtain balanced transactions of
rewards for employee efforts, and the role of leader, who targets
efforts to change, improve, and transform the organization. Tichy
and Devanna (1986) expanded on Burns's ideas, asserting that managers
engage in very little change but manage what is present and leave
things much as they found them when they depart. Transformational
leadership, they declared, focuses on change, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The leader changes and transforms the organization according to
a vision of a preferred status. Leaders, then, are change makers
and transformers, guiding the organization to a new and more compelling
vision, a demanding role expectation. Transactional and transformational
leadership are "often viewed as complementary," with transactional
practices needed to get the day-to-day routines carried out (Leithwood,
1992b, p. 9). Leithwood, however, maintains that these "practices
do not stimulate improvement transformational leadership provides
the incentive" (p. 9).
Who are the leaders who stimulate improvement? "There is no single
key actor" (Murphy, 1991c, p. 32). Leadership, as noted above, is
defined by function. It is not restricted to people occupying particular
positions. Any person who can deliver the leadership function is
a leader. Such persons can include principals, superintendents,
and school board members. However, teachers, parents, and community
members can be significant educational leaders, as can central office
consultants or specialists, external agency staff, and state department
personnel. Students can act as leaders. Anyone can be a leader who
provides leadership, "the process of translating intentions into
reality" (Block, 1987, p. 98).
The Need for Leaders
Deal (1990) maintains that "nothing will happen without leadership.
From someone -- or someplace -- energy needs to be created, released,
channeled, or mobilized to get the ball rolling in the right direction"
(p. 4). "Research on schools in the last couple of decades leads
to the interpretation that schools can develop as places for excellent
teaching and learning, but left to their own devices many of them
will not" (Wimpelberg, 1987, p. 100). As Glatter (1987) points out,
"there has too often been an assumption that you only need to introduce
an innovation for it to be effectively absorbed by the institution"
(p. 61). As Block maintains, leaders are needed to translate intentions
Many researchers have reported the importance of effective school-based
leadership (Duttweiler & Hord, 1987; Fullan, 1985; Rutherford, 1985),
and effective district-level leadership in bringing about change
and improvement (Coleman & LaRocque, 1990; Hill, Wise, & Shapiro,
1989; Jacobson, 1986; Muller, 1989; Murphy, Hallinger, & Peterson,
1985; Paulu, 1988). The challenge for these leaders is to provide
teaching/learning conditions and school and district structures
(curricular, organizational, physical) that enable students to function
effectively and develop the attributes necessary for lifelong learning,
independent living, and participation as a contributing member of
society. School improvement efforts to realize these outcomes will
be enhanced by the vision and leadership of many individuals, internal
and external to the system (Cohen, 1987; Goodlad, 1975; Fullan,
1991; Hall & Hord, 1987; Schlechty, 1988; Sergiovanni, 1990b). These
individuals will include school board members, superintendent and
other central office staff, principals, lead/mentor teachers, parents
and community representatives, and others at the regional and state
levels (Barth, 1988; Engel, 1990; Johnston, Bickel, & Wallace, 1990).
Cawelti (1987) noted that "research has documented what common
sense has long dictated: that school leaders do determine whether
or not schools are successful" (p. 3). This growing knowledge base
points to the importance of effective principals to student success
in school. Beginning with the effective schools studies, which were
conducted largely in low socioeconomic settings, for example by
Edmonds (1979), Lezotte and Bancroft (1985), Venezky and Winfield
(1979), and others, the more effective campuses were found to be
administered by strong educational leaders.
Thomas, as early as 1978, studying the role of principal in managing
diverse programs, concluded that many factors affect implementation,
but none so much as the leadership of the campus principal. More
recently, the Task Force on Education for Economic Growth (1983)
identified the primary determining factor of excellence in public
schools as the skillful leadership of the individual principal.
The Task Force report further noted that on campuses where principals
have leadership skills and are highly motivated, the effects have
been startling, regardless of the unique ethnic or socioeconomic
factors of the school community and the nature of the populations
the school serves.
Research and "exemplary practice" have documented that the principal
is a central element in improving instructional programs within
the school (Fullan, 1991; Hansen & Smith, 1989). Andrews maintained
in an interview with Brandt (1987) that "gains and losses in students'
test scores are directly related to teachers' perceptions of their
principal's leadership" (Brandt, 1987, p. 9). Lieberman and Miller
(1981) noted that the principal is critical in making changes happen
in schools. Reinhard, Arends, Kutz, Lovell, and Wyant (1980) determined
that, at each stage of the change process, contributions by the
principal were extremely important to the project's overall success.
Targeting the principal as a leader of change, studies have focused
on what effective principals do. Leithwood and Montgomery (1982)
found that "effective" principals were proactive in nature and took
steps to secure support for change efforts on behalf of their students.
Stallings and Mohlman (1981) indicated that principals who were
particularly effective in program implementation went out of their
way to be helpful to teachers and staff, were constructive in criticism
they provided, and explained their reasons for suggesting behavior
changes. They shared new ideas, set good examples by being on time
or staying late when necessary, were well prepared, and cared for
the personal welfare of their teachers (Rutherford, Hord, Huling,
& Hall, 1983).
Little (1981) found that effective change facilitation occurred
in schools that were administered by principals who "communicate
particular expectations to teachers; model the norms they support;
sanction teachers who perform well by using and allocating available
resources; and protect teachers from outside interferences by acting
as a 'buffer' between the district and the needs of the teachers"
(p. 97). From a four-year study of London schools, Mortimore and
Sammons (1987) reported 12 key factors related to schools' effectiveness.
The first of these was the principal's purposeful leadership of
the staff, where the principal "understands the needs of the school
and is actively involved in the school's work, without exerting
total control over the staff" (p. 7).
In a description of principals' behaviors relating to successful
change facilitation, Rutherford and colleagues (1983) found the
They have a clear vision of short and long-range goals for the
school, and they work intensely with brute persistence to attain
their vision. The achievement and happiness of students is their
first priority; and they have high expectations for students,
teachers, and themselves. They are actively involved in decision-making
relative to instructional and administrative affairs, and they
attend to instructional objectives as well as instructional strategies.
They collect information that keeps them well informed about the
performance of their teachers; they involve teachers in decision-making
but within the framework of established goals and expectations;
and directly or indirectly they provide for the development of
teachers' knowledge and skills, and they protect the school and
faculty from unnecessary intrusions. They seek policy changes
at the district level for the benefit of the school, and they
give enthusiastic support to a change. They provide for the personal
welfare of teachers, and also model the norms they want teachers
to support. They aggressively seek support for resources within
and outside the school to foster the goals of the school. (Adapted
from p. 113)
While the early studies of leader behaviors for change focused largely
on principals, it also became clear from these studies that principals
were aided by assistant principals (Mortimore & Sammons, 1987),
by formally organized school improvement teams of teachers, and
by more informal but collegial arrangements with "change facilitator"
teachers on their staff, central office personnel, and external
consultants (Hord, Stiegelbauer, & Hall, 1984). Parents, too, were
active. Cawelti (1987) noted that "we face a critical shortage of
instructional leaders" (p. 3), thus there is a need to encourage
leadership wherever it may be found. Principals were aided by assistant
principals (Mortimore & Sammons, 1987), by formally organized school
improvement teams of teachers, central office personnel, and external
consultants. Parents, too, were active.
An emerging knowledge base has been developing about strategies
used by the district-level executive, whose area of responsibility
is the entire district and community. Research studies have shown
that superintendents develop particular relationships with principals
as their allies for change. Superintendents use, at the district
level, strategies that are parallel to those used by principals
at the school level. It is not conceivable that all superintendents
who are facilitating change effectively can allocate major amounts
of their time to these efforts. Therefore, many superintendents
delegate responsibilities to central office staff but nevertheless
actively monitor the process and progress of reform. Superintendents
use, at the district level, strategies that are parallel to those
used by principals at the school level.
A schema by which to consider what principals, leadership teams,
superintendents, and other leaders do to implement change has been
adapted from a formulation reported by Hord and Huling-Austin (1986).
The findings that follow apply to principals and superintendents
(whose actions typically have high impact) and to all other persons
in any positions who are willing and able to exercise the actions
A Six-Component Framework
From a longitudinal study that focused specifically on identifying
the actions or interventions of principals and other facilitators
in behalf of teachers' implementation of change, a classification
of interventions resulted (Hord & Huling-Austin, 1986). Eight functional
classifications of interventions were used to organize the actions
of principals and other facilitators (see Figure 4).
Figure 4. Classifications of Interventions
resources, space, inc.
and clarifying new
knowledge and skills
|Monitoring and evaluation
reporting, and transferring data
|promoting innovation use
through problem solving
and technical assistance
to individual users
and promoting use
of the innovation
responding to concerns
Adapted from Hord & Huyling-Austin, 1986, p.105
Of these eight functions, four are represented most frequently
in the studies of school change:
- providing logistical and organizational arrangements,
- monitoring and evaluation, and
- providing consultation/problem solving and reinforcement.
In addition, two other functions are prominent in the literature
on change implementation: creating an atmosphere and culture for
change, and communicating the vision. A six-part framework, then,
is used here to report findings about leaders' roles in implementing
change. Note that the Hord and Huling-Austin (1986) labels have
been slightly modified for improved reader understanding (i.e.,
"consultation and reinforcement" has been renamed, "continuing to
- Creating an atmosphere and culture for change
- Developing and communicating the vision
- Planning and providing resources
- Providing training and development
- Monitoring and checking progress
- Continuing to give assistance.
Creating an atmosphere and culture
"No effort studied caught fire without an active superintendent
willing to attack the school system's inertia" (Hill, Wise, & Shapiro,
1989, p. 20). Superintendents work actively to challenge administrators,
teachers, and other staff to create innovative ideas and make suggestions
for improvement. To develop this attitude toward change, they arrange
meetings for staff to share their ideas, and they support staff's
risk- taking activities by acknowledging that mistakes will be made.
They declare consistently that mistakes will be followed by learning.
Superintendents express the value of principals who take actions
for change, not for the status quo (Paulu, 1988). One way principals
symbolize action and involvement is to be a highly visible presence
in the school and in classrooms; teachers "seek these principals
out; they want them in their classrooms" (Brandt, 1987, p. 13).
So that an internal change climate could flourish, superintendents
spend time and energy managing issues external to the schools. They
do this through sensitivity to community concerns and activity in
public relations, keeping the community informed. They make sure
that a harmonious environment pervades the district in order to
nurture the internal creativity of the school staffs. Murphy, Hallinger,
and Peterson (1985) reported that superintendents engage in district
internal culture building through several activities:
- being available to speak to and communicate with staff; having
an open-door policy, never being too busy to interact with staff
and exhibit interest and support
- being a team player and building coalitions, team work groups,
and committees to address issues
- being concerned about staff and visiting schools to support
- being a problem solver by securing rapid solutions to problems
and cutting through red tape.
At the school level principals can act to shape the culture. From
an analysis of five case studies, Deal and Peterson (1990) cite
the following behaviors used by principals to develop a particular
culture in the school:
- developing a sense of mission and values about what the school
should be, discussing this with faculty and community and gradually
- selecting staff who can share, express, and reinforce the values
of the leader in order to help build the desired culture
- facing conflict, being willing to deal with disputes, and through
conflict, building unity
- using daily routines and concrete actions and behaviors to
demonstrate and exemplify values and beliefs
- telling stories to illustrate what they value in school, spreading
the stories that become legends
- nurturing the traditions and rituals to express, define, and
reinforce the school culture.
The five principals in the five case studies used these six tactics
in a variety of ways, based on their particular schools and their
preferences for a specific kind of culture (Deal & Peterson, 1990).
For an extensive review of cultural and contextual factors, see
Developing and communicating
In this paper vision is distinguished from mission, which is thought
of as the purpose for which the district and/or school exists and
indicates what the district/school's intended outcomes will be.
Vision refers to mental pictures of what the school or its parts
(programs, processes, etc.) might look like in a changed and improved
state -- a preferred image of the future. Brandt (1987), reporting
on Andrews's work in 100 schools, cites the principal's role in
setting vision for the school as a high priority in achieving effectiveness.
Yet, Fullan (1992) observes, a good principal does not singly create
a vision and impose it; he or she builds a vision together with
the participants of the school organization. In this way, "it becomes
the common ground, the shared vision that compels all involved"
(Méndez-Morse, 1992, in press). Buck's research (1989) cites
the superintendent's vision as driving the organization to achieve
its next stage of evolution.
Although Cuban (1985) specified that one role of the superintendent
is as teacher of the district staff and community, introducing new
ideas and possibilities for improving the district's schools, superintendents
must be careful initially to align their suggestions with the community's
beliefs and values (Hord, 1992). In Hord's study of superintendents'
exiting of the role, respondents suggested that the superintendent
might take such measures as hiring a sociologist to provide information
about the community's shifts in values and cultural norms, so the
superintendent could be aware of the situation and act accordingly.
Respondents also suggested that successful superintendents (those
who provide effective programs for students and remain in their
job) start with where the community and the staff are, work with
these constituents collegially to study, review, and reflect on
new ideas acquired through printed material and consultants, and
develop new visions and plans for improving the school system. The
superintendent provides an initial vision, and that vision expands
through the interactions just described. Staff and community members
are solicited to work on committees and task forces to shape and
fill the original skeletal vision. Regularly and frequently the
superintendent describes and promotes the vision to the public through
radio and TV interview shows, through weekly interactions at the
Rotary and Lions clubs, and at the community's favorite coffee shop.
The superintendent increases the information flow to the district's
professionals during periods of vision development through memos,
items in the district's newsletter, and even at the football awards
banquet. In addition, he or she spends a great deal of time in schools,
explicitly articulating the district vision and priorities with
administrators, teachers, and all other staff.
From their case studies of six urban high schools, Louis and Miles
(1990) report that effective school leaders, those who realize change
in their schools, are able to talk about their vision(s) for the
school so that others understand and believe that the vision reflects
their own interests. Such a vision doesn't have to be tightly defined,
these authors suggest, but it should be realistic. Leaders first
encourage participation in vision development (Hill, Wise, & Shapiro,
1989) and, second, help people develop images of "how to get there,"
so that action is directly tied to the vision and ownership is developed.
"Both dimensions of the vision are both sharable and shared" (Boyd,
1992, p. 50). Boyd advises, "A clear vision of the school when the
change is successfully implemented and how implementation will occur
needs to be developed among all in the school" (1992, p. 51).
One way leaders entice staff to participate in vision development
is through the study of student-performance data. In developing
visions for improvement that relate to at-risk students, leaders
may encounter resistance if the staff believe that "those kids can't
learn any better anyway" (see Boyd, 1992, for discussion of beliefs
and cultural norms). Vision building with a staff seems not necessarily
to be influenced by the leader's race or ethnicity in at-risk settings.
For instance, a Hispanic principal was a very successful leader
for change with a predominantly white staff (Hord & Huling-Austin,
1986), and white superintendents led the charge to successful change
in behalf of black and Hispanic students with a mix of white and
minority staff (Hill, Wise, & Shapiro, 1989) (see Méndez-Morse,
1992, for discussion of leader characteristics).
Real ownership means sharing influence and authority.
Louis and Miles (1990) learned that even when the initial vision
ideas spring from the principal (or even the district office), teachers,
department heads, and school-based specialists need to know they
can influence the vision (and its actualization) in significant
ways. The staff should be rewarded for contributing ideas relative
to the vision. Sharing the vision is not just a matter of exhorting
staff to believe but also a way of sharing responsibility and accountability.
Change leaders share success stories among the entire staff to reinforce
the belief that change and achievement of the vision are possible.
Not only do they communicate the vision and invite interest, but
they do so frequently and consistently (Paulu, 1988).
Communicating the purpose of the school and its vision for improvement,
and demonstrating visible commitment to the vision were cited as
leadership functions that must be fulfilled in all improving schools
(DeBevoise, 1984; Gersten & Carnine, 1981). Effective leaders can
easily articulate their vision and goals for their schools (Manasse,
1982; MacPhail-Wilson & Guth, 1983; Rutherford, 1985). When asked,
they respond with enthusiasm, reflecting a personal belief in and
active support for their goals (Manasse, 1984). Furthermore, staff
working with these leaders express the same vision for the school
as the leaders do, though not necessarily in the same language.
They also understand their leaders' expectations.
Vision and goal setting establish the parameters for leaders'
subsequent actions, giving them a clear image of their schools in
order to set priorities (Manasse, 1985). They use the goals as a
continuing source of motivation and planning (Blumberg & Greenfield,
1980; Manasse, 1984; MacPhail-Wilson & Guth, 1983) and as a basis
for providing clear, consistent, and well-communicated policy (McCurdy,
Planning and providing resources.
In describing change strategies at the local district and individual
school levels, Fullan (1985) provides guidelines about factors that
should be addressed at either level. An initial step at both levels
is the development of a plan that may evolve through interaction
with participants, or that may be developed by the leader(s). Louis
and Miles (1990) prefer the evolutionary approach. They suggest
that leadership in change processes involves planning. Further,
effective planning for serious change in schools should avoid a
grandiose "blueprinting" approach and instead have a strong evolutionary
Both the change program and the school develop steadily, driven
by the goals for change and the shared vision. New opportunities
are sought or appear serendipitously; data on the progress of the
improvement effort suggest detours or new avenues; new capacities
develop and permit more ambitious efforts than anyone had dreamed
of. Evolutionary planning is not a hand-to-mouth approach but coherent,
intelligent adaptation based on direct experience with what is working
in moving toward the vision and what isn't.
Leaders think broadly about resources, and providing resources
has always been accepted as a part of the leader's role in change.
However, when a leader visits schools and classrooms and understands
what administrators and teachers are doing, the probability that
those resources are relevant increases (Brandt, 1987; Peterson,
1984). Superintendents use resource allocations to emphasize what
the district's priorities are; for example, they provide enriched
budgets for materials and resources focused on instructional improvement
(Peterson, Murphy, & Hallinger, 1987), rather than on new carpeting
for the district office.
In the more-successful districts the resources are not only additional
dollars but also reallocations of time, people, materials, existing
equipment, and assistance. Boyd (1992) points out, from her review
of the literature, that change frequently fails because insufficient
time was allocated. "The lack of resources has been a major barrier
to sustained change efforts" (Boyd, 1992, p. 25). Successful leaders
are more effective in putting dollars where they can make a real
difference (Louis & Miles, 1990). Thus, leaders make resources available
and allocate those resources in ways that maximize teacher change
and effectiveness and, thus, student achievement (Rutherford, 1985).
Fullan (1985) also suggests that emphasis be placed on such resources
as released time for planning and training. It is not only material
resources that count but also the time and energy demanded of people
to plan, share, observe, and take action (Fullan, 1985).
Fullan emphasizes that "[E]ach school must be assisted by someone
trained in supporting the endeavor. [Such] assistance is directed
toward facilitating and prodding the process" (p. 414). Additional
resources, according to Fullan, should be focused on developing
the principal's leadership role and on developing the leadership
team's role also (Fullan, 1991).
Often change is not initiated or is not successful because people
believe they do not have enough money. Effective school change requires
being proactive -- grabbing, getting, testing the limits in acquiring
needed resources (Huff, Lake, & Schaalman, 1982), and taking advantage
of potential resources rather than waiting for them to be provided.
The image comes to mind of the school leader as a garage sale junkie,
able to browse and find what the school needs in the most unlikely
places, thus ensuring support for special projects (Bossert, Dwyer,
Rowan, & Lee, 1982).
Leaders also stay abreast of new research and practice developments
in curriculum and learning. They read and report on recent research
at faculty meetings; they use lunch hours with staff to talk about
research findings and proposed program ideas (Little, 1982). They
search the environment for new information to share with teachers
(McCurdy, 1983) and encourage their teachers to do the same (Louis
& Miles, 1990).
Providing training and development.
A leadership function that must be satisfied in all improving schools
is that of providing staff development (DeBevoise, 1984). In her
review, Boyd (1992) reports that skill building and training are
part of the process of change. Learning to do something new involves
initial doubts about one's ability, incremental skill development,
some successful experiences, and eventually clarity, meaning, and
ownership (Fullan, 1985). Effective leaders use formal and informal
data to identify needs of the staff for training and development
(Little, 1982). Fullan's review of change strategies (1985), Joyce
and Showers's research on staff development (1980), and Sergiovanni's
writings of his experiences in working with leaders in schools (1990b)
suggest investing early in demonstrations and modeling; later, when
people are actually trying out new practice, training workshops
prove more effective. School leaders who will assist the implementers
with new practice, whether they are principals, special teachers,
central office personnel, or others, will need training for their
Louis and Miles (1990) assert that training and support are master
resources to help staff. One tactic used by effective principals
is to arrange for staff members to serve as staff developers for
others in their school, according to Andrews and reported by Brandt
(1987). Many change efforts founder because teachers (and administrators)
simply have not been provided with the opportunities to acquire
the new skills that they need; frustration rather than resistance
becomes the factor that undermines the planned activities. To demonstrate
their commitment, effective leaders participate directly in staff
development, taking an active role in planning, conducting, implementing,
and evaluating in-service training (Odden, 1983; Russell, Mazzarella,
White, & Maurer, 1985). By participating in staff development with
principals and teachers, superintendents demonstrate that they,
too, are a part of the community of learners in search of improvement
(Murphy, Hallinger, & Peterson, 1985).
Monitoring and checking progress.
School improvement efforts, no matter how well planned, will always
encounter problems at all stages. Some are so insignificant that
they may not even be perceived as problems. Others are more severe.
Louis and Miles (1990) cite the need for continuous monitoring in
order to coordinate or orchestrate the change effort within the
school and deal with problems appropriately. Any change effort that
is more than trivial, or that involves many parts of the school,
becomes a set of management issues. For example, key personnel leave
the school and a component of the change effort is left leaderless;
a new state mandate is passed that distracts staff from their own
programs; a serious student discipline problem undermines a campaign
to increase positive community involvement; after a review, staff
believe that a major component of the program does not "fit" the
Louis and Miles observe that effective change facilitators constantly
search for, confront, and acknowledge serious problems when they
first appear and act rapidly to make major adjustments to solve
them. Effective leaders become frequent visitors in the classrooms
of at-risk students. They take time to discover what is happening
in classrooms. They gather information through formal observations
but use informal methods as well, including walking the hallways,
popping in and out of classrooms, attending grade-level and departmental
meetings, and holding spontaneous conversations with individual
teachers. They follow up visits with feedback to teachers and plans
for improving their use of new practices (Rutherford, 1985).
In a 1984 review of research on principals as instructional leaders,
DeBevoise identified monitoring student and teacher performance
as a significant strategy of leaders in an array of socioeconomic
school contexts, including sites with high percentages of low-income
students. Superintendents, as well, play an active role in monitoring
change and improvement efforts (Pollack, Chrispeels, Watson, Brice,
& McCormack, 1988). Pollack and colleagues report that superintendents
use school and classroom visits to inspect curriculum and instruction
and to assess progress in the implementation of new curriculum.
They collect school and classroom products associated with the change.
Student test data are used to monitor the impact of the change on
students, as well as to provide input for the superintendents' supervision
and evaluation of principals. Superintendents required change strategies
to be implemented and followed up with principals to be sure that
they were (Murphy & Hallinger, 1986).
Fullan (1985) expands on the idea of monitoring by specifying
three considerations for collecting information on progress toward
implementation. The first consideration is what kind of information
to collect. By this, Fullan means finding out:
- What is the state of implementation in the classroom?
- What factors are affecting implementation? (What are the obstacles
to and the facilitators of change in classroom practice, e.g.,
role of the principal, assistants, etc.?)
- What are the outcomes? (What skills and attitudes of teachers
are changing? How are student learning outcomes changing?) (p.
The second consideration is the degree of formality of data collection,
or how to gather the information. Formal methods include surveys,
observation, testing, and such; informal methods involve interaction
among implementers, between implementers and administrators, and
between implementers and other facilitators. Fullan points to data-collection
techniques developed by Hall and colleagues on concerns of teachers
and levels of implementation of new practices (reported in Hall
& Hord, 1987) as examples of techniques that can be used in both
formal and informal ways. The resulting information is used in Fullan's
third consideration, consulting with and assisting the implementers.
Continuing to give assistance.
The key to this strategy is the word "continuing." Resource provision
and training are not one-shot events, for instance. As implementers
move from novice to expert in their improvement efforts, their needs
will change. Information about these needs is gathered through monitoring;
assistance is then structured to focus appropriately on the needs.
For example, if data indicate that some teachers have concerns about
how to manage new practices in their classrooms, then the leader
can share information, demonstrating or modeling new approaches,
or arranging for teachers to visit classrooms in which the management
issues have been resolved. If monitoring reveals that particular
implementers are not putting specific components of the envisioned
change into place, leaders can then help the implementers to incorporate
the missing pieces into their practice. The leaders can assist by
organizing lesson designs, arranging materials, and walking through
lesson plans with implementers (Hord, Rutherford, Huling-Austin,
& Hall, 1987).
Attention to Fullan's third monitoring consideration can provide
the basis for planning further assistance to the implementers. Thus,
this function involves providing technical assistance to the implementers
in a variety of formats -- one-to-one help from peers, administrators,
or district resource staff; sharing among implementers; visits to
sites where implementation has occurred. Relatively simple support,
such as arranging for teachers' released time to meet regularly,
cited earlier in "planning and providing resources," can produce
important results if the changing implementation needs of teachers
are addressed with useful information and tips on how to make the
changes work in their classrooms, for example.
Small, regular amounts of time to foster formal and informal interaction
among implementers is a necessity. Change lives or dies, according
to Huberman and Crandall (1983), depending on the amount of time
and assistance that is provided -- and, one might add, the quality
and appropriateness of the assistance. In staff development literature,
Joyce and Showers (1980) refer to such assistance as coaching. In
Bush's study of the effects of staff development components (1984),
coaching accounted for up to 84% of the variance of successful transfer
of new practices into classrooms.
Direct, on-site assistance by the superintendent or other central
office colleagues is a component of the superintendents' plan for
assisting principals in implementing change (Coleman & LaRocque,
1990). Giving consistent attention and acting on problems that are
identified involves enormous persistence and tenacity, and good
leaders attack problems from every possible angle over a period
of months (or even years) (Louis & Miles, 1990). The ability to
be an effective leader for change requires a high tolerance for
complexity and ambiguity. Coping with problems is difficult because
not all the needs can be foreseen. Yet leaders tend to exhibit a
willingness to live with risks, as they try various ways to solve
persistent issues (Hall & Hord, 1987). They also look for positive
features, and they directly and sincerely recognize and praise the
teachers responsible (Rutherford, 1985). Celebrating progress is
an important part of this sixth strategy, an aspect of it that is
most often overlooked. Through a dual focus on positive progress
and on identification of problems, followed by the necessary corrective
action, leaders support the goals and expectations that they have
established for their schools (Hall & Hord, 1987).
Tools and Techniques for Leaders
During the seventies and eighties the need for facilitating change
became more clear. A parallel need was to understand the change
process better and to clarify the role of the facilitators. A series
of studies was launched to meet this need, and the Concerns-Based
Adoption Model was developed.
Tools for change facilitators.
The Concerns-Based Adoption Model resulted from longitudinal studies
of change in schools and colleges. The task was to understand what
was needed to provide support for the implementation stage of the
change process. The outcomes were concepts, tools, and techniques
for the use of the change facilitator. Three diagnostic components
included Stages of Concern, which describes the affective side of
change, or how individuals respond or feel about a change; Levels
of Use, how individuals are behaving relative to a change; and Innovation
Configuration, how the change is being put into effect in classrooms
and schools. Two prescriptive frameworks for change facilitators
were developed out of these studies: the Intervention Taxonomy,
which classifies the kinds of interventions needed for successful
change, and the Intervention Anatomy, which characterizes various
aspects of an intervention.
Hall, Wallace, and Dossett (1973) conceptualized the seminal model
and Hall and Hord (1987) and Hord, Rutherford, Huling- Austin, and
Hall (1987) produced a compilation of the studies. Seven basic assumptions
informed the research, were verified, and provided guidelines for
structuring the change facilitator's activities.
Principles of change facilitation.
The first principle is understanding that change is a process, not
an event; therefore, change requires time, energy, and the resources
to support it as it unfolds. Second, change is accomplished by individuals
first, then by institutions. There is, of course, individual/organizational
interaction in the process of change. It is difficult, for instance,
for individuals in a school to become collegial if the organization
does not change scheduling and other structures to allow or support
this to happen. The model, however, assumes primacy of the individual,
suggesting that only when the persons in an organization have changed,
can it be said that the organization has changed. Third, change
is a highly personal experience (thus the focus on the individual
as the unit of analysis in this model); individuals change at different
rates and in different ways.
Fourth, change entails growth in both feelings about and skills
in using new programs; thus, individuals change in these two important
ways over the course of a change experience. Fifth, interventions
can be designed to support the individual's implementation of the
innovation. The change facilitator should take into account the
feelings and skills of the individual when planning actions to support
the change process. Sixth, the change facilitator needs to adapt
to the differing needs of individuals and to their changing needs
over time. Last, the change facilitator must consider the systemic
nature of the organization when making interventions, since activities
targeted for one area of the system may well have unanticipated
effects in another.
The change facilitator has tools for collecting diagnostic information
about individuals and the innovation during the process of change.
Based on the diagnostic data, the change facilitator makes interventions
selected from the resources available and targeted appropriately
for the individuals. The model is based on the hypothesis that proactive
facilitators, working in particular ways, will enable new programs,
or innovations, to be implemented more effectively and efficiently,
moving over time toward desired goals.
The premise that "change is a process," first stated in 1973 by
Hall, Wallace, and Dossett, has been verified in other studies of
change and is now a widely espoused axiom. Beer, Eisenstat, and
Spector (1990) in the corporate sector, for example, report that
"companies need a particular mind-set for managing change: one that
emphasizes process … persistence over a long period of time as opposed
to quick fixes" (p. 166). However, current practice at all educational
levels -- school, district, state, and national -- tends to ignore
this concept. Many educational policymakers behave as if change
is a single event and can simply be mandated. Such a view ignores
the critical period of implementation, putting change into place,
and the requirements for support by knowledgeable and skilled facilitators.
A Few More Words about Facilitation
Fullan (1991) and Huberman and Miles (1984) maintain that leaders
at all levels must provide "specific implementation pressure and
support" (Fullan, 1991, p. 198). From studying exemplary schools,
Sagor (1992) notes a constant push for improvement; "the secret
seemed to be in providing the right combination of pressure to improve
along with meaningful support" (p. 13). One way leaders maintain
pressure is by continually asking probing questions, "yet providing
teachers with personal support" (p. 18). They specify that the bottom
line for making change at the school or district level can be characterized
by the two terms "pressure" and "support." This "bare-bones" formulation
has been expressed succinctly by researchers, policy analysts, and
practitioners in the field:
[Change] ... encompasses a world of complexity, and realizing
and maintaining the delicate yet crucial balance between the humanitarian
concerns of supportive behavior and the pragmatic dictates of responsible
authority could be fairly said to constitute the fundamental practical
problem of change management. (Hord, 1987, p. 81)
Effective implementation requires a strategic balance of pressure
and support. (McLaughlin, 1987, p. 171)
[A]dministrative decisiveness bordering on coercion, but intelligently
and supportively exercised, may be the surest path to significant
school improvement. (Huberman & Miles, 1986, p. 70)
Leaders who supply these dimensions know how to both "empower
people and yell, charge. They are both generals and sheepherders"
(Andrews, quoted by Brandt, 1987, p. 13). They gather a team together
that guides the rest of the staff; team members are the sheep dogs
who keep the whole group moving together. But the leader has to
be the shepherd, the "keeper of the dream … [and] the direction"
(Brandt, 1987, p. 13).
When viewed through the dual lenses of pressure and support, the
six categories of leaders' actions take on additional significance
for change efforts. As suggested above, one (pressure or support)
without the other will not result in implementation of new policies,
practices, programs. It is the careful blending of the two, shaped
to the needs of each individual implementer and delivered through
the behaviors of leaders, that takes care of and promotes change.
Concluding This Section
The sixties and seventies saw the development of approaches to
guide the operation and attainment of organizations' goals. That
period also focused on models to guide organizational change and
on strategies to disseminate new knowledge to potential users. The
need for persons to supply the human interface for the implementation
of new knowledge and practices became increasingly clear.
It is no great surprise that the successful school change stories
of the eighties consistently featured the principal as the leader
who supplied the human interface -- the support and the pressure
-- for change. During that decade, however, researchers learned
of other facilitative leaders (Hord, Stiegelbauer, & Hall, 1984),
and the idea of a facilitative team was identified and studied (Hall
& Hord, 1986). Pajak and Glickman (1989) reported studies of three
school districts in which leadership came "from a variety of positions
and levels" (p. 61). In one district, "prime agents" (Pajak & Glickman's
terminology) were lead teachers, assistant principals, and central
office staff. In another district, prime agents were central office
staff, with principals playing a supporting role. In a third district
(all of these efforts were targeting district-wide change), prime
agents were representative teachers at various grade levels and
schools, "who served on schoolwide committees coordinated by central
office supervisory staff" (Pajak & Glickman, 1989, p. 63). The idea
of a facilitative team (at the school level) was reinforced by the
effective schools/school improvement process designs of that era,
which included a leadership or school improvement team in the change
strategy. This team directed, supported, guided, and represented
the larger staff in the planning and implementation of school change.
This paper has described the evolving recognition of the need
for leadership to facilitate change. It has given attention to the
principal and the superintendent as key facilitative leaders and
to the expansion of the facilitative leadership function to a team
or council that includes teachers, other staff, and community members.
This historical review of the past several decades provides the
background for considering the role of facilitative leadership in
restructuring or systemic change, which is the focus of the next