Mulford, B and Silins, H, Leadership and organizational learning in schools, Public Leadership, Nova Science Publishers, JA Ramirez (ed), USA, pp. 153-177. ISBN 978-161761461-3 (2011) [Research Book Chapter]
Purpose The purpose of this article is to detail the results of a large survey based research project which sough to examine the relationships among leadership, organizational learning and teacher and student outcomes.Design A large survey based on questionnaires developed from non-school organizations was used to develop a model to test the nature and strength of the relationships between variables and to understand the interactive nature of leadership and organizational learning and their effects on student outcomes. Model testing employed a latent variables partial least squares path analysis procedure.Findings The results of research have shown that leadership characteristics of a school are important factors in promoting systems and structures that enable the school to be effective and improve, in brief, to operate as a learning organization. School leaders need to be skilled in transformational leadership practices which work, directly and indirectly through others, towards bringing about: consensus in the organization's mission; structures for shared decision making; continual learning through reflective practice; high standards of professionalism; and, a supportive and appreciative climate that promotes a culture of trust and collaboration. The LOLSO research also demonstrates that schools can be identified as learning organizations as they establish sequentially systems and structures of operation that promote: a collaborative and trusting work environment; a shared and monitored mission; empowerment of its members to share decision-making, show initiative and take risks; and, on-going challenging and relevant professional development. These school factors of leadership and organizational learning are shown to influence what happens in the core business of the school; the teaching and learning.Value The article answers two fundamental questions: Does the nature of the leadership and the level of organizational learning in schools contribute to school effectiveness and improvement in terms of the extent of students' participation in school, student academic self-concept and engagement with school? What is the nature of the relationship between non-academic student measures of participation in school, student self-concept and engagement with school and measures of student retention and academic achievement?