Making Sense of Assignment
On the Complexity of Being a School Leader
The primary aim of this paper is to narrow down the description of how school leaders interpret the assign-ment (the task) and identify the markers for how they look upon the conditions of doing a good job in Sweden. The aim is in the context of practice-based and process-oriented research. We use complexity and complexity theories to frame the emerging practice of leading and organizing. This is in contrast to techno-cratic homogenization—that is, law texts, steering documents, documentation, standardized methods, plan-ning, and ceremonies. A questionnaire was conducted with three open questions (n=363 out of a possible 548 participants) and four focus groups (n=21). Complexity, dilemmas, and inconsistency emerge in the respondents’ answers the closer they are to everyday action. The results show that complexity theories put focus on a conflict between the image of schools as complicated and complex. Complicated is accompanied by generalizing and weak contextualizing of control systems, standardized methods, planning, law texts, and evidence-based education—that is, the concept of technocratic homogenization. Complexity theories emphasize the life in organizations, everyday practice as leaders, and a conflict between weak and robust contextualizing from the perspective as practice-based and process-oriented research.
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