9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN19 Sociology of Professions

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Changing Professional Skills and Competence Building I, Auditório 1

Headmaster leadership in public schools: complexity and change

Why does not the teacher staff act according to the school management documents? Why are not the latest curriculum and its contents within public schools carried through? Why do not the rational forms of implementation and management, recommended by management literature, work? (Alvesson & Sveningson 2003); Bartunek 2006; Brunsson 2007; Morrison 2002; Pye 2006; Weick & Sutcliffe 2001; Weisly). Furthermore they are used for managing Swedish public School. Managing Swedish public organizations, as for example public schools, has been discussed and there are controversies as to why actions as management models, laws and other regulations do not give the intended results as expected (Scherp and Scherp 2007). The article presents a study material from a large number of schools where daily life of headmasters has been studied and documented by qualitative studies as interviews and observations. The question we ask in these studies is: what are headmasters doing and why? The article, with its empirical material and theoretical issue, give a comprehension and explanation of why logic and contents of management sometimes fail to correspond to logic and contents in practice. To answer questions about implementation and management this article sets out from what actually happens within organizations, and not what is expected to happen. You cannot explain a rule by another one; a rule needs to be explained by its practice (Wittgenstein in Johannesson 1999 p.86) or, as we say in the article: management must set out from complexity and mess of practice (Alvesson and Svenningsson 2007; Stacey 2003; Abrahamsson and Eddington 2006. In the article we points out that when the abstract and the simplified meet the concrete and complex, problems will arise. It is a concerning that the thought is not bound to time, space and complexity, which is the fact regarding the concrete and the real. Instead of setting out from the higher management´s idealized view of what happens in a school staff room and classrooms we will set out from our empirical material where, on the contrary, headmasters´ every day life turns out to be complex and dynamic.