Seminar in Educational Leadership
April 6, 2010
An Analysis of the Culture of My Organization
Culture, or the personality of a school, is critical to its success or failure. Culture can be described in many different ways and include so many different parts of an organization that you can get lost in determining whatever it was you were looking for. Culture can be viewed using four pieces. These four pieces, or as Deal likes to call them frameworks, include the structural, human resource, symbolic and political (Bolman and Deal 1991) aspects of an organization. Looking at these four references one can analyze where some of the strengths and weaknesses of their organization are currently and even identify ways to improve the organization. A walk to the front door of our school and then in and around our school would show you m any positive things about the culture of our school. In the end it is the leader that sets the tone for the culture of the organization and it is the leader that can change it. First let’s look at the structural framework of an organization. The structural framework of a school is often determined by perception. When we talk about the structural framework of a school, we are talking more than the bricks and mortar. In assessing the structural framework, one might look at everything from the organizational goals, to the management of the environment, and to the lines of authority. The structure is the basic foundation. In my school, the assistant principal sets the tone and enforces it more than the principal. That is not to say that the principal does not know what is going on but she has delineated a lot of the structural function to the assistant principal. While the front entrance is not clearly marked once inside you see happy faces that are willing to help whomever walks through the door. This shows that the environment is a friendly place where people like to be and like to help others. The entry way shows highlights of awards our school has received from the governor down to the PTA which is an important validation of our priorities. Often in a school there seems to be two front office secretaries and one is typically nice and friendly while the other appears more cold and abrupt with visitors. In our school both of our secretaries greet visitors with a smile and warmth not found in all organizations. They make the visitor feel welcomed whether on the phone or in person and that is important to the initial perception a visitor has of our school. The initial impression is not alone able to sustain a positive image of the school. It takes the structured management of the organizational goals, the management of the external environment, the development of a structure appropriate to a task, and environment, and the clarification of authority lines. The organizational goal must be student focused and the focus needs to be on improving student achievement coupled with enhancing the environment in which a student learns. We cannot dictate or even affect the home life of a student but we can affect their environment at school. When the staff knows that the purpose of our being it to provide a conducive learning environment for all students, then they will go the extra mile to help achieve that. During my tenure at my school I have always felt the organization structure emphasized the student. However, there is one incident that happened several years ago that still resonates in my mind and makes me sometime question where the priority for our students really is headed. I had a student from our psycho-educational center that I had in my resource classes. He has been hospitalized for several years and was back in school and doing very well. He was identified as being Emotionally-Behavior Disordered, bi-polar, autistic amongst other diagnoses. All I knew is that I had a student that was learning and doing well in my...