Principals' systems thinking and student outcomes: the intervening role of school structure

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Abstract

Purpose: This study examines the relationship of principals’ systems thinking (PST) to student outcomes of academic achievement and school violence. The investigation relies on the contingency theory, according to which effective leadership is contingent on the nature of the situational influences to which managers are exposed. Specifically, the study investigates the influence of school structure – bureaucratic vs organic – on the relationship between PST and student outcomes of academic achievement and school violence after accounting for students’ socioeconomic backgrounds and principals' demographics. Design/methodology/approach: A three-source survey design with self-reported and non-self-reported data was used, with a sample of 423 participants from 71 elementary schools in Israel. The sample included senior management team members and teachers. The data were aggregated at the school level of analysis. Findings: Hierarchical regression analyses showed that organic school structure moderates the relationship between PST and student academic achievement, and bureaucratic school structure moderates the relationship between PST and school violence beyond the impact of students’ socioeconomic backgrounds. Originality/value: This study provides important evidence for the benefits of aligning PST with school structure for improving student outcomes beyond the impact of students’ socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition, the study suggests principal system thinking leadership to achieve effective student outcomes that circumvent the effects of inequality on disadvantaged student groups.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Contingency theory
  • School violence
  • Student academic achievements
  • Students' socioeconomic status
  • Systems thinking

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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