In the 21st century, educational institutions exist in a rapidly changing environment, in which both problems and new opportunities arise in parallel. Educational institutions are striving towards globalization and becoming more democratic (Elrehail et al., 2018).
The economic importance of knowledge continues to grow along with the value of information in modern society. Education has become a significant factor that gives countries a comparative advantage and contributes to their development and liberalization of processes worldwide (Luyten & Bazo, 2019). It is vitally important for these establishments to use new possibilities and uncover their innovative potential to create new socio-economic, political, and cultural standards. The application of transformational leadership within the given scope and under such conditions of educational changes is appropriate, which will be discussed below.
There are numerous articles that research the topic of transformational leadership. For example, Senge interpreted transformational leadership as a continuous learning organization where people continue to explore their horizon and their capacity to accomplish their vision (Senge, 1990). An educational institution can function as an engine of socio-economic progress only if it can respond to changing priorities and cope with challenges. In this situation, such establishments are forced to change their practice methods since the most crucial need is the organization’s total transformation. This transformation is challenging if the idea is modeling a modern organization (Grigorenko, 2019; Vican, 2017; Gushwa & Harriman, 2019).
Today, it is not easy for education-providers to find a compromise between maintaining the status quo and innovative change. Socio-economic problems are growing against the background of the economy’s globalization, and the resolution of the issue requires a drastically different approach (Davies et al., 2013). Moreover, to continue with the pace of technological progress, educational facilities need to show flexibility and adaptability, which can be provided by the transformational approach.
The current state of universities, schools, and colleges places them on the frontier of connecting new generations with modern reality. These organizations can offer society an easily adaptable socio-economic product, suitable for the current state of affairs and satisfy its current needs (Berkovicj, 2016). Moreover, they may increase the nation’s intellectual resource’s value, becoming the most effective transformational force in society, contributing to its socio-economic prosperity (Berkovicj, 2016). However, these institutions require a similarly flexible and adaptable framework that will enhance their ability to establish such a connection between generations.
The role of educational institutions calls for the need for them to become transformational leaders since they can guide society’s development in response to social change (Berkovicj, 2016). Transformational leadership enables one of the highest capabilities for change and will enhance the ability of educational entities to predict and adapt to the needs of modern society (Bass & Riggio, 2006). They need to have experienced and viable leaders, who can carry out the work of transforming society – because no innovations happen by themselves, and any change requires a leader (Al-Husseini et al., 2019).
It is not surprising that research of the new leadership methods has become one of the fastest-growing areas in science. Studies on leadership in education can be examined through a multidisciplinary perspective, utilizing psychology, sociology, pedagogy, and management theory (Vican, 2017). The combination of these methods would allow building substantial empirical evidence of the effects of transformational leadership and further progress its implementation by highlighting the benefits of this method of management (Davies et al., 2013). Such an approach reveals the impact of management theories in the field of education that call for its reassessment.
To implement this management method, the role of a leader needs to be expanded to accommodate new tasks and priorities. J. P Kotter, a well-known contemporary author of leadership theory, formulated his view that a successful organizational transformation needs a good leader who sees the need for significant changes (Kotter & Cohen, 2012). He or she must possess management methods of quality management regarding restructuring and reengineering (Kotter & Cohen, 2012).
The majority of educational facilities have a traditional structure and organizational processes. However, by complementing them with a strategy-focused system that will encompass the focus of the organization, they can compensate for this factor (Kotter & Cohen, 2012). In this dualistic structure, a manager employs a complex, responsive, and networked structure that continually assesses internal and external business performances, where particular attention is paid to ensuring continuous data flows and interoperability between the two systems (Kotter & Cohen, 2012). As the first type of organizational structure provides stability, while the second focuses on maximizing its performance, The interaction of these systems will create a highly adaptable and transformable strategic framework. Kotter’s dual operating system concept can be useful for redefining the existing traditional hierarchical management orders in educational establishments (Kotter & Cohen, 2012).
This dualistic operating system will help mitigate any consequences of improper management, promote democratic values, and facilitate the institutions’ transition from a hierarchy-based system to flexible and rapid interactions (Kotter & Cohen, 2012). This rationale aligns with the notion of transformational leadership substantially and supports a logical transition of educational facilities from outdated methods of administration.
To understand the difference between the transformational and transactional approaches to leadership, it is essential to examine their primary concepts and focuses, along with the leadership traits required for their successful implementation. A transformational leader is an agent of change accompanied by a vision. A transformational leader focuses on creativity and creation, while a transactional leader is more materialistic and is involved in economic transactions (Seltzer & Bass, 1990). A transformational leader is characterized by a high level of attention to a specific person, the ability to stimulate intellectually, and charisma.
The interests of organizations, including educational facilities, may prioritize stability over innovation, which can lead to unsatisfactory results among their employees, who might struggle without a framework that is easy to adapt to the new knowledge. One of the benefits of transformational leadership can be explored on the example of the current state of higher education, where the lack of change led to stagnation (Jones et al., 2017). The scholars clearly articulate their concern that modern governance in higher education has narrowed down to assessing each educational institution (Jones et al., 2017).
This assessment is based on key performance indicators through several scientific papers per faculty, the number of citations in scientific papers, learning outcomes, and public opinion (Jones et al., 2017). Today, in their view, the most pressing problems in the field of education are centered around the development of leadership skills that are not within the competence of positional leaders (Jones et al., 2017). The shift towards transformational leadership in the education setting is a vital step towards more optimized methods of knowledge transfer.
Research Evaluation of Transformational Leadership
After careful review and analysis of the literature on transformational leadership, it is recommended to evaluate its processes to establish its exact role and application in educational facilities. The primary potential of transformational leadership in the educational process is removing the gap between facilities, their employees, and students (Berkovicj, 2016). It can be achieved by expanding the scope of studies of new methods of organizational management that are applied in this setting in order to accommodate the activities that extend the functionality of educators (Berkovicj, 2016).
As transformational leadership enables the establishment of close contact between educators and students, the perceptions of learning outcomes of the latter can provide additional insight into the potential improvements of the educational process (Wiyono, 2018).
Davies et al. (2013) state that “creation and management of such partnerships are crucial to ensure sharing of practice and creation of knowledge for longer-term impact” (p. 87). Jones et al. (2017) conclude that it implies “the need to change from a single hierarchical decision-making process to an approach combining top-down, middle-out, bottom-up methods; and collaborative relationships” (p. 199).
This approach to leadership can also expose any new information on the optimization of the processes within an educational institution. Transformational leadership is a crucial part of establishing such a connection, as it allows educators to create an interactive environment in collaboration with their (Elrehail et al., 2018). Moreover, this managerial approach incentivizes self-education and self-development since it provides a higher level of freedom and the ability to explore non-colloquial topics (Grigorenko, 2018). The role of teachers becomes broader as well, as it involves the motivation of students to expand their knowledge base by themselves with assistance from an educational facility instead of relying solely on the provided information (Grigorenko, 2018). These are among the primary characteristics of prominent transformational leaders.
It is vital to invest in leaders and managers to create new ideas to help the organization’s growth. A transformational leader will propose new learning programs that comprise training and workshops that will expand the transformational leadership skills. (Bass & Riggio, 2006). It is also essential to create a support system among the organization’s leaders and staff to execute a new learning program. There must be collaborative sessions and effective communication between an educational faculty and staff detailing specific topics in new learning programs (Covey, 1991). The transformational approach opens up a possibility for the rapid development of new teaching techniques, which must not be overlooked.
In conclusion, transformational leadership allows the modern educational system to fully commit to the crucial changes that are essential for the development of society as a whole. The education sector is one of the prime examples of a social environment that positively affects new generations while at the same time changing alongside them. This notion calls for the need for it to stay flexible and open to new ideas and management methods (Berkovicj, 2016). Under transformational leadership, schools possess the highest potential for variability of interests, social ideals, backgrounds, and values (Berkovicj, 2016).
Educators will engage students in research and development in the academic and educational process. Educators who adhere to transformational leadership principles will be able to guide students in the learning process, creating a personalized approach to each situation instead of following standardized techniques and courses. The interaction between students and teachers under this approach implies communication on a similar level, which leads to the creation of unique ‘microcultures’ within every organizational facility. The specifics of this approach allow educational facilities to establish a flexible framework for both teachers and students that will be able to accommodate drastically different backgrounds, needs, and skill levels.
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