In this part 3, I would like to consider and reflect on various strategies in moving beyond management and leadership in a networked learning environment.
I would re-conceptualize a model where power, transformational leadership and networks could be used to support education and learning in a networked learning ecology and platform.
There is a range of leadership theory as explained by Dr Marti Cleveland-Innes. These include Trait-based leadership, Emergent leadership, Contingency theory and leadership, Complexity leadership, Transactional leadership, Transformational leadership, Distributed leadership.
Leadership theories seem to relate closely to the powers as vested in the leaders, in networks, communities (including family, associations) and institutions.
Power in networks
Here is the network theories of power.
Why having transformational leaders? We need leaders as learners who seek to transform, and to explore new and innovative ways of learning, with the affordance of technology and networks. Based on the results of survey, transformational leadership is better than transactional leadership. To what extent is it true in real life? Under what context would transformational leadership be more valuable? Would it be a networked learning environment, rather than an institutional environment?
Refer to this Transformational leadership:
The Components of Transformational Leadership
Bass also suggested that there were four different components of transformational leadership.
Intellectual Stimulation – Transformational leaders not only challenge the status quo; they also encourage creativity among followers. The leader encourages followers to explore new ways of doing things and new opportunities to learn.
Individualized Consideration – Transformational leadership also involves offering support and encouragement to individual followers. In order to foster supportive relationships, transformational leaders keep lines of communication open so that followers feel free to share ideas and so that leaders can offer direct recognition of each followers unique contributions.
Inspirational Motivation – Transformational leaders have a clear vision that they are able to articulate to followers. These leaders are also able to help followers experience the same passion and motivation to fulfill these goals.
Idealized Influence – The transformational leaders serves as a role model for followers. Because followers trust and respect the leader, they emulate the leader and internalize his or her ideals.
Power and Transformational Leadership
How would power relate to Transformational Leadership?
Experts and expertise
How about the experts then? We need to rely on people who are more than just an “expert” on any one topic, but across topics.
Instead of thinking about mere experts, how about developing expertise?
Leadership relates to the development and supporting of people to become more creative and innovative, especially in higher education in developed countries – like USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia etc.
Leadership practice takes form in the interactions between leaders and followers, rather than as a function of one or more leaders’ actions. In the case of networks, distributed leadership could be an ideal way to practice.
Who needs Leadership?
Marti summarizes the different views on leadership in Who Needs Leadership?
Here is the slide on Who Needs Leadership.
Jenny comments on leadership:
“There’s no doubt that if everyone in a given group or network is a leader, then everyone is also a follower and a view of leadership as invested in one charismatic person would have to change. The questions we ask about leadership would have to change.
But do we really think that there is no longer a place for the charismatic leader. World events, such as what is happening in Burma at the moment would suggest otherwise. Aung San Suu Kyi is clearly thought of as a charismatic leader – a leader of change.”
I think leadership as practiced in governments is fundamentally different from that in networks, as governance would likely require charismatic leadership to steer the country, or communities, whilst network leadership would likely require a more “de-centralised” or distributed leadership to steer the networks.
In this report by Schofield, K. (1999). The purposes of education. Queensland State Education: 2010. Retrieved from http://education.qld.gov.au/corporate/qse2010/pdf/purposesofed3.pdf.:
Formal education is becoming less institutionalised
In 1971, Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society provided a very influential statement about the negative effects of schooling. He argued for the disestablishment of schooling and the creation of learning webs.
A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known. Such a system would require the application of a constitutional guarantee to education.
While seen as radical in its day, many of Illich’s ideas now seem prescient, especially in light of Internet-based interactive learning, the popularity of the concept of lifelong learning, and the idea of a youth guarantee.
The ‘de-institutionalisation’ of education is evident in other ways. Multinational companies have set up their own universities. In Australia, some companies have set up university-linked institutes for their staff training. TAFE now competes with private training firms. More formal education occurs outside the classroom – in workplaces, trains, community houses, in cyberspace.
According to Schofield, education is a place where people develop according to their unique needs and potential; one of the best means of achieving greater social equality is to allow every individual to develop to their full potential. Leadership requires that schools be shaped in such a way to so. Few accomplish this goal perfectly. The critics think otherwise – education is a system created to reproduce the existing inequalities.
Based on the analysis of networks, power and leadership, here is my proposed model where leadership would be contingent to the network involved and the power associated with the networks: