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Principals as strategic human resource managers: Developing school leadership for equity

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Jo Baker
Abstract:
This study examines how Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) can be applied to the role of principal. It begins by providing a multi-disciplinary review of SHRM, which at its core is a theoretical framework for understanding how human resource managers can help organizations accomplish their goals. Using case study methodology, the paper then provides a detailed description of an accomplished elementary school principal whose leadership closely aligns with SHRM. Questions addressed include how do effective principals define their roles as instructional leaders, how do they employ SHRM, and how might school districts aid principals in developing a strategic HR approach to leadership. The study reveals that SHRM can significantly help school districts, academic institutions, and school leaders promote excellence in their schools.

SHRM Principal iii Table of Contents List of Tables .......................................................................................................................... ix List of Figures .......................................................................................................................... x Acknowledgments .................................................................................................................. xi Chapter 1: Introduction ......................................................................................................... 3 Problem Statement: Crisis in the Principalship .................................................................... 5 Equity Matters: Critical Challenges Facing Principals ......................................................... 6 Principals as Human Resource Leaders .............................................................................. 10 Definition of Terms............................................................................................................. 12 Terms .............................................................................................................................. 12 Acronyms ........................................................................................................................ 13 Summary ............................................................................................................................. 15 Chapter 2: Literature Review .............................................................................................. 16 Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) ............................................................. 16 What is Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM)? .......................................... 17 SHRM’s internal linkages: Creating value through synergy ...................................... 18 SHRM’S external link: Connecting people strategy to business performance ........... 19 Theories Supporting SHRM ........................................................................................... 21 Resource-based theory ................................................................................................ 21 Developmental supervision theory ............................................................................. 22 SHRM’s Applicability to the Public Sector .................................................................... 25 Key Challenges to Implementing SHRM ....................................................................... 26

SHRM Principal iv Principal Instructional Leadership ...................................................................................... 28 Traditional Leadership and Principal Supervision .......................................................... 30 The Emergence of Broad-Based Instructional Leadership ............................................. 33 Broad-based instructional leadership: How do principals make it work? .................. 35 Taking Accountability into Account ............................................................................... 38 SHRM and Principal Instructional Leadership ................................................................... 39 Do Principals Employ SHRM Strategies? ...................................................................... 40 Instructional Leadership: Barriers to Adopting SHRM .................................................. 45 Conceptual Framework: Applying Strategic Human Resource Management to Instructional Leadership ........................................................................................................................... 48 Internal and External Integration .................................................................................... 49 How the Ideal SHRM Principal Manages Teacher Performance ................................... 52 Defining standards of performance ............................................................................. 52 Creating performance development plans .................................................................. 53 Measuring teacher performance .................................................................................. 54 SHRM as an Equity Tool ................................................................................................ 56 Chapter 3: Methods .............................................................................................................. 60 Case Study Methodology Significance ............................................................................... 61 My Role as Researcher ....................................................................................................... 62 Sample and Context ............................................................................................................ 64 Data Collection ................................................................................................................... 67 Data Analysis ...................................................................................................................... 76 Research Significance ......................................................................................................... 81

SHRM Principal v Chapter 4: Context of the Study .......................................................................................... 83 Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 83 Research Questions ............................................................................................................. 83 The City and School District............................................................................................... 84 Kelly Estates Elementary School ........................................................................................ 86 Physical Setting ............................................................................................................... 86 School Demographics ..................................................................................................... 87 School Performance ........................................................................................................ 88 School Reputation ........................................................................................................... 89 An Oral History of Kelly Estates Elementary School .................................................... 90 Early history of academic tracking ............................................................................. 90 Enter Principal Johnson .............................................................................................. 92 Mass exodus ................................................................................................................ 94 New composition of staff ............................................................................................ 96 Study Participants ............................................................................................................... 97 Conrad Livingston’s Path to Kelly Estates Elementary School.......................................... 99 Private Sector Experience: Recognize People as Valuable .......................................... 100 Teaching Experience: All Children Can Learn ............................................................. 101 Human Resource Experience: People, Not Procedures ................................................ 104 Summary ........................................................................................................................... 106 Chapter 5: SHRM and the Meaning of Instructional Leadership ................................. 107 Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 107 How Livingston Defines Instructional Leadership ........................................................... 107

SHRM Principal vi All Our Children ........................................................................................................... 108 All Our Classrooms....................................................................................................... 111 We, the District ............................................................................................................. 115 SHRM and Instructional Leadership ................................................................................ 116 How SHRM differs from HRM .................................................................................... 117 Livingston as an HR Principal .......................................................................................... 117 SHRM Considerations for Instructional Leadership......................................................... 119 SHRM Characteristic 1: Leader Identifies Teachers as Strategic Resource ..................... 120 Transitioning Plan ......................................................................................................... 121 Expanding the Role of Non-Teaching Staff.................................................................. 124 Working with Children to Help Teachers ..................................................................... 125 Access to Livingston ..................................................................................................... 127 Summary ........................................................................................................................... 128 Chapter 6: SHRM and Internal Aspects of Implementing Instructional Leadership.. 130 Livingston’s HR Philosophy: Shared Responsibility for Student Success ....................... 130 SHRM Characteristic #2: Leader Links Internal HR Processes and Aligns Them with Larger Organizational Objectives ..................................................................................... 132 Develops People............................................................................................................ 132 Focuses on key levers of success .............................................................................. 133 Fosters innovation ..................................................................................................... 134 Provides flexibility .................................................................................................... 135 Considers the customer ............................................................................................. 137 Makes data-based decisions ...................................................................................... 139

SHRM Principal vii Responds to employees ............................................................................................. 141 Develops Systems: Communication Management ....................................................... 142 Develops Systems: Performance Management ............................................................. 145 Sets clear performance goals .................................................................................... 145 Provides support and feedback ................................................................................. 147 Assesses teacher performance ................................................................................... 155 Manages performance problems ............................................................................... 157 Develops Culture: Collaboration and Cooperation ....................................................... 162 Aligns HR Processes with Organizational Objectives .................................................. 166 Summary ........................................................................................................................... 170 Chapter 7: SHRM and External Aspects of Implementing Instructional Leadership . 171 SHRM Characteristic #3: Leader Links People Strategy to Organizational Strategy ...... 172 Serves as a School-District Bridge ............................................................................... 172 District-to-site ........................................................................................................... 173 Site-to-district ........................................................................................................... 176 Influences Organizational Strategic Planning Process ................................................. 178 Considering a District Role in Promoting SHRM ............................................................ 180 Developing SHRM Leadership ..................................................................................... 181 Fragmentation Limits SHRM Leadership ..................................................................... 181 Confronting a Cultural Barrier: The “Old Vine Way”.................................................. 182 Summary ........................................................................................................................... 185 Chapter 8: Discussion, Contributions, Limitations and Implications ........................... 187 Discussion: Four Roles of the Strategic HR Professional ................................................ 188

SHRM Principal viii Employee Advocate ...................................................................................................... 189 Human Capital Developer ............................................................................................. 191 Functional Expert .......................................................................................................... 192 Strategic Partner ............................................................................................................ 195 The school site culture challenge .............................................................................. 196 The school district culture challenge ........................................................................ 199 Contributions..................................................................................................................... 200 SHRM without Borders ................................................................................................ 200 Reconsidering Competitive Advantage ........................................................................ 201 Limitations ........................................................................................................................ 202 Implications....................................................................................................................... 204 Academic Institutions ................................................................................................... 204 School Districts ............................................................................................................. 206 Principals....................................................................................................................... 207 Summary ........................................................................................................................... 208 References ............................................................................................................................ 211 Appendix A: Interview Protocols ...................................................................................... 232 Appendix B: Observation Checklist .................................................................................. 238 Appendix C: Invitation to Participate Letters ................................................................. 240 Appendix D: Informed Consent Forms ............................................................................ 245

SHRM Principal ix List of Tables Table 1 Ethnic Breakdown of Vine Unified School District ................................................... 85 Table 2 Kelly Estates Elementary School Subgroups: Enrollment Breakdown by Race ........ 87 Table 3 Kelly Estates Faculty ................................................................................................. 98 Table 4 Kelly Estate Administration ...................................................................................... 99 Table 5 2006-2007 & 2007-2008 AYP Targets .................................................................... 167

SHRM Principal x List of Figures Figure 1. Conceptual framework for the study of an effective principal as a strategic .......... 51

xi Acknowledgments I would like to recognize the many people who contributed to this study. First, I wish to acknowledge my Mills College professors who guided me as I compiled data and developed ideas. Second, I am tremendously indebted to the educators at Kelly Estates Elementary School. I would like to recognize the focal person of this case study research, Conrad Livingston; Conrad generously gave his time, his attention and access to his staff who welcomed me with open arms just as he did. Third, I would like to acknowledge my employers and clients; my employers granted me extensive and often unplanned leave from work, and my clients exhibited incredible support and understanding. Finally, I wish to thank my family and friends who encouraged me throughout the process and who reminded me during times of stress to keep it all in perspective: writing a dissertation is what you do, it is not who you are.

SHRM Principal 3 Chapter 1: Introduction The role of principal is changing and expanding in America’s public schools. Low test scores and declining graduation rates have prompted the federal government and most states to increase academic performance standards and create stricter accountability guidelines for school districts (Marks & Nance, 2007). In many cases, state government officials partner their demands for change with threats to take over schools that do not meet performance targets in a timely manner. As of 2003, state governments had taken operational control of 49 school districts in 19 states, and at least 24 states had the power to assume authority over poor performing schools (Burns, 2003). More than any other reform measure in recent history, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has become a catalyst for addressing an achievement gap that had existed for decades (Fullan, 1998). In the spirit of what is good for business is good for schools, the 2001 US Congress legislated an especially stringent accountability structure in terms of identifying, measuring and reporting student outcomes. It demanded school districts become more strategic and business-like in their planning and implementation, thereby shifting the “emphasis in schools from places where teachers teach and students learn to places where students perform and schools certify” (Callahan, 1999, p. 23). By disaggregating data regarding academic performance, NCLB revealed in a very public way the startling academic disparities across schools, especially those in poor and urban areas. To meet these accountability demands, educators and policymakers have begun to focus their attention less on teacher recruitment and retention and more on developing consistent and effective school site leadership. Whether or not NCLB will succeed is subject to ongoing debate. Decades of business- championed reforms have not significantly reduced achievement disparities in schools, and some

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4 argue that as long as standards-based policies include punitive measures but do not provide resources to help low-achieving students succeed, disparities in performance will remain (Deschenes, Cuban, & Tyack, 2001). Furthermore, no strong correlation exists between American economic performance and student test scores (Cuban, 2004; Levin, 1998). What educators do agree on is that any policy with rigorous standards and assessment requirements will accomplish very little without effective instructional leadership to carry out the new performance directives. Consequently, principal instructional leadership has emerged as a key focus of research and policy because the principal is perceived as most responsible for orchestrating meaningful change in schools (Fullan, 2002; Grubb & Flessa, 2006). Principals can significantly influence student achievement, especially in terms of selecting faculty, articulating school goals, resolving conflict, and providing instructional leadership (Brewer, 1993; Phillips, Raham, & Renihan, 2003; Teske & Schneider, 1999). However, several factors make it difficult for principals to lead instructional improvement. Increasing bureaucratic duties, annual budgetary crises, multiple demands from stakeholders and general work overload plague the position and contribute to burnout (Friedman, 2002; Grubb & Flessa, 2006; Johnson, 2005; Whitaker, 1996). Inadequate staffing also contributes to greater demand on the principalship. An increase in student population is meeting a decrease in the pool of experienced and dedicated teachers due primarily to high turnover (Ingersoll & Smith, 2003; Tracy & Weaver, 2000). The teacher shortage is most prevalent in rural and urban school districts, in the subject areas of math and science and in special education (“Putting a Stop,” 2005; Boe, 2006; Moin, Dorfield, & Schunn, 2005).

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5 In addition to teacher shortage issues, school support staff including nurses, counselors, and librarians, are taking on greater student loads (Borg & Riding, 1993). A 2004 census report showed the national student to nurse ratio in schools as 950:1, significantly above the 750:1 federal guideline (Horovitz & McCoy, 2005). Similarly, a national study on school counselors reported a 500:1 ratio, twice the 250:1 ratio recommended by most psychological associations (Soliel, 2000; “Study of Pupil,” 2004). In California, the ratios for both nurses and counselors to students reported were substantially higher: 2,2821:1 and 906:1 respectively, with nearly one-third of its 306 school districts providing no pupil support personnel at all (“Study of Pupil,” 2004; “Pupil Services Ratio,” 2004). And the position of school librarian fares no better. In 2000, schools across the nation averaged one librarian for every 953 students, up from an average of 885 in 1997. California ranked last, providing one librarian for every 3,548 students (Everhart, 2000; National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 1998). The movement towards site-based management (SBM) also is changing the nature of the principalship. While site-based management allows principals to exercise greater control over many factors that affect academic performance, it also increases the level of responsibility and the process time to achieve goals especially in terms of increased human resource tasks (Norton, 2003; Tanner & Stone, 1998). Finally, principals’ salaries generally do not reflect the fact that they work more weeks per year than teachers and are responsible for their schools’ performances overall (Campbell, 2001; Goldstein, 2001). Problem Statement: Crisis in the Principalship Many school districts report difficulty attracting and retaining qualified principal candidates; even worse, they predict a shortage as well (National Association of Secondary

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6 School Principals [NAESP], 2000; Pounder & Merrill, 2001).Veteran principals frequently return to teaching, seek other administrative positions, rotate schools every few years, or leave the profession (Doud & Keller, 1998; Fenwick, 2001; Kerrins, Johnstone, & Cushing, 2001). Seasoned teachers and vice principals bypass opportunities to become principals; similarly, more and more graduates of principal credential programs seek other administrative positions (Howley, Andrianaivo, & Perry, 2005; Kerrins, Johnstone, & Cushing, 2001; Turcotte, 1999). Additionally, in the next 10 years, over 40% of our nation’s principals will retire (Campbell, 2001; Doud & Keller, 1998; Goldstein, 2001). This leadership crisis has proven to be multi-faceted with most research focusing on factors such as increased administrative workload, overwhelming bureaucratic demands and constraints, political pressures and insufficient compensation. However, the greatest challenge confronting principals today is the pressure to perform as operational managers and instructional leaders and agents of change. Peterson, as cited by Iseminger, describes the changing and expanding scope of the principalship: School boards started hiring principals in the ‘70s to keep the lid on the kids, in reaction to the tumultuous ‘60s. What they got were good managers but poor leaders. But now, more boards are looking for what I call bifocal principals who can both manage and inspire (Iseminger, 1999, para. 9). This has become especially evident as principals take on the responsibility of tackling the academic achievement gap. Equity Matters: Critical Challenges Facing Principals National legislative efforts in the past decade have brought attention to significant disparities in student achievement and have made principals more responsible for eliminating the

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7 achievement gap. Unfortunately, public officials and legislators are silent regarding how site leaders can do this when confronted with traditional structures that reinforce privilege and oppression. Reform language relies on neutral terms like “standards,” “accountability” and “assessment” while ignoring the underlying issue of inequity that profoundly contributes to the very crisis conditions schools are responsible for changing (Cambron-McCrae & McCarthy, 2005). Leaders of underperforming schools and their districts are left on their own to create better systems and results. What does it mean to promote equity and social justice in schools? Baptiste (1999) clarifies the meaning of both terms: Equity is the result of changing the school environment, especially the curriculum and instruction component, through restructuring and reorganizing so that students from diverse racial, ethnic and social classes experience educational equality and empowerment…Social justice in schools is accomplished by the process of judicious pedagogy at its cornerstone and focuses on unabridged knowledge, reflection and social actions as the foundation for social change. (p. 107) Put another way, a school which desires equity as an outcome must interrupt prevailing practices of privilege and implement socially just policies, programs and practices. Interrupting institutional patterns that reinforce inequity requires looking beyond blaming students alone for their academic failure and towards acknowledging that many institutional and societal factors can impede student learning, including under-resourced, mismanaged schools and poverty-stricken neighborhoods. All students can achieve, but [T]hey have a harder time doing so in schools that are falling down and that have teachers teaching outside their specialty or in communities where there are empty lots and high

SHRM Principal

8 crime rates. Failure is just as much a result of these conditions as it is of individual factors. (Deschenes, Cuban, & Tyack, 2001, p. 538) This kind of refocusing presents considerable risk to principals who rely on a tremendous amount of genuine district support to be effective. Historically, public sector managers have been rewarded for maintaining continuity and order, not for questioning established organizational structures. The growing trend toward measuring principal success using primarily student test scores may ignore critical leadership behaviors that are required to transform systems entrenched in destructive patterns of inequity. Superintendents may leave these competencies— creativity, risk-taking, innovation, commitment to inclusion and social justice—unnoticed, uncounted and unrewarded (Foster, 2004; McGhee & Nelson, 2005). A principal committed to promoting equity must advocate for socially just policies and programs at the district level and also help teachers close socio-economic and racial disparities in their own schools. Chirichello (2001) describes this daunting task: Our vision must focus on we rather than me. Principals must spin webs that are connected through relationships rather than power. For all this to happen, we need collective leadership – a leadership that supports relationships, causes chaos, and advances adaptability. (p. 4) Assuming an advocacy role requires possessing a thorough understanding of equity dynamics and demonstrating a considerably high level of relational competence. Before principals can work to eliminate inequitable policies and practices at the site level, they first must be able to recognize them and then be able to ignite meaningful change in others through collective action.

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9 Advocating for equity also requires principals to continuously develop their own self knowledge and self management with respect to promoting justice and diversity. Leaders cannot build the kind of trust (relational capital) necessary to transform schools if they are not credible themselves as equity practitioners. Principals must be willing to participate with teachers in an ongoing process of critical self-inquiry. Safe, neutral discussions regarding differences in student test scores may be replaced with tough conversations about how societal patterns of inequity show up in the classroom experiences of marginalized students. Principals must be intellectually and psychologically prepared to navigate these emotionally charged exchanges. Some principals, especially those lacking personal or professional experience with diversity challenges, may feel ill equipped to tackle equity issues. The challenge that principals face today takes them beyond their administrative role as an operational manager by requiring that they possess greater relational or human resource competencies (Holland, 2004). The traditional role of principal involved minimizing chaos and maintaining a functioning daily schedule, i.e., “making sure the trains run on time.” The movement towards holding principals primarily accountable for student achievement has placed a greater emphasis on their ability to improve teaching and student learning. Today principals are responsible for what takes place inside the classroom, especially in terms of building a competent and committed cadre of teachers that utilizes best practices and supports the school mission. However, improving student achievement often involves tackling inequity and oppression, incompetence and political resistance—complex human relation issues that require principals to be capable of producing change in people, systems and culture. This usually means acquiring a mindset associated more with human resource strategies than with technical operational competencies.

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10 Principals as Human Resource Leaders I am passionate about studying the challenges associated with developing principals as instructional leaders. I want to uncover how principals move beyond their traditional role of operational manager and towards developing the human resource skills necessary to build and sustain competent faculty and effective learning environments. I will look at the principalship from a human resource perspective in order to better understand its instructional responsibilities. In particular I will explore: (a) how principals define their roles as instructional leaders, (b) to what extent, if any, principals learn, employ and or enhance strategic human resource management strategies in their role as instructional leader, especially in terms of advancing equity, (c) what factors contribute to or hinder how principals learn, employ and or enhance these skills, and (d) what role, if any, districts play or should play in helping principals develop a powerful human resource practice. My goal is to contribute to the field of knowledge surrounding principals and their corresponding role as human resource leader in three ways. First, I want to identify specific skill sets or work behaviors associated with instructional leadership that may be core to the position. Second, I plan to find out how principals acquire and or develop these skills and to discover the extent to which principals are prepared and or able to perform these duties. Finally, I want to explore how districts can best help develop principals as instructional leaders. My study will examine principal practice as it relates to an approach adopted by many private sector organizations known as Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM). One of the challenges I face involves confronting the common misconception of human resources as a low-level technical specialty comprised of people who mainly oversee recruitment, process payroll and complete forms. Business leaders have begun to recognize that human resource

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11 policies play a critical role in developing and maintaining organizational effectiveness. As a result, more and more general managers have powerful human resource systems at their disposal (Baron & Kreps, 1999). Applicable subject matter includes job design, hiring and training, project management, accountability-based decision-making, performance appraisal and coaching, as well as skill development in facilitation and negotiation, conflict management and consensus building. Firms have worked to integrate their human resource functions to increase potential impact and have adopted planning systems to align these functions with overall organization goals. (Beatty, Huselid, & Schneider, 2003). I purposely chose to study the principalship rather than school district human resource departments. Certainly, some school districts are revamping their human resource departments to assume a more strategic role: defining human resource within the context of a broader district vision, developing programs that better support principals, decentralizing decision making to acknowledge the complexities and contextual nature of teaching, and focusing on performance and results. Most school districts, however, remain mired in the technical and bureaucratic aspects of the job (Campbell, DeArmond, & Schumwinger, 2004). In the absence of high- powered human resource departments in the K-12 school system, and in light of the increasing emphasis placed on student academic achievement, principals become the de facto human resource experts because they are most responsible for selecting, developing and evaluating faculty to improve teaching and learning in schools. The principalship may need improvement in several areas unrelated to human resource management. However, I will limit the scope of my study to examining the human resources competencies principals need to build teaching and learning capacities in their schools. In

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12 addition, while instructional leadership encompasses several areas of responsibility, I am focusing on teacher supervision. Definition of Terms For clarification and contextual purposes, a separate section to define terms and acronyms commonly used in the study is provided. Terms Alignment: refers to the fit of a task, function, policy or practice within and between a department and its organization Accountability: the belief that people and/or institutions are responsible for meeting an obligation, i.e., student achievement and are answerable for the results of their actions Capability: the existence of qualities or abilities that can be developed Capacity: the actual or potential ability to perform Competitive advantage: a position above an organization’s rivals gained by exploiting its assets and attributes Culture: a set of values, beliefs, and relationships between individuals and a department or organization Flexibility: the quality of being adaptable and responsive to change Framework: a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality Innovation: a novel approach, practice or perspective that advances people and the organizations Integration: the act of combining separate activities into an integral whole

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13 Key Levers: parts of a task or job that produce significant value and can be influenced by management Leadership: the act of figuring out how to motivate people and guide their work to achieve goals—doing the right things Management: the act of organizing people and their work to achieve goals—doing things right Principal: the administrative head of the school Resource: something that is used to achieve an objective, such as skills or talents Responsibility: a duty or an obligation, what someone should do to bring a goal to fruition Strategic: the quality of formulating, implementing and evaluating in a way that capitalizes on opportunity and achieves results—doing the right things right Synergy: what occurs when the value of combined efforts is greater than the sum of the individual efforts Teacher: the school employee responsible for providing learning experiences to and developing the skills of students Title I: Part of NCLB; a federal program that provides funds to schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children who are failing or are at risk of failing to meet state academic performance standards Value: the worth, quality, ability, or significance of something Acronyms API: Academic Performance Index—a California statewide student performance ranking based on test scores that include growth targets

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14 AYP: Academic Yearly Progress—a collection of performance measures that school districts, schools, students and subgroups of students are supposed for meet for states receiving Title I federal funding COI: Cycle of Inquiry—a way to disaggregate and analyze student performance and teacher practice data to locate gaps in how students learn and how teacher teach CST: California Standards Test CTSP: California Standards of the Teaching Profession EDI: Explicit Direct Instruction—a system of teaching in clear, visible and direct ways; breaking down learning tasks into small pieces and giving student direct and regular feedback regarding comprehension HRM: Human Resource Management—a set of independent functions related to selection, training and performance management that serves people at work; usually differentiated from personnel functions that serve a more bureaucratic purpose NCLB: No Child Left Behind—refers a 2002 Federal Act that requires students be assessed annually to show adequate yearly progress (AYP) in English/language arts and mathematics PI: Program Improvement (Status)—a term or label under NCLB assigned to schools that do not meet AYP requirements in content areas for two consecutive years; PI intervention programs include a multi-step plan to help schools exit PI status

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15 SHRM: Strategic Human Resource Management—a concept that integrates decisions about people with decisions about organizations to create competitive and sustainable value in the workplace Summary The remainder of this study is organized in the following way. Chapter 2 presents a review of relevant literature in the fields of Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) and principal leadership. Chapter 3 defines the research design and methodology of the study. The next four chapters—4 through 7—analyze the research findings. Discussion of those findings, along with contributions, limitations and implications of the study, are presented in Chapter 8. Chapter 8 also includes a summary of the project.

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16 Chapter 2: Literature Review Understanding how or why one might apply Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) to the role of principal as instructional leader requires a multi-disciplinary review of literature in business and human resources, public sector management and principal leadership. This section begins by examining the evolution of the SHRM field which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the critical role human resource managers can play in organizations. Next is a review of research in public sector management that focuses on SHRM as it applies to public entities, namely government agencies. It addresses both the promise SHRM offers and the challenge it presents to public organizations as a private-sector concept. The third section reviews the history and evolution of principal leadership specifically in terms of developing instructional excellence. This section also presents the current trends and tensions that exist today in attempting to create accountability for outcomes given the realities and complexities of today’s principalship. The last section surveys the current literature regarding principals incorporating SHRM strategies into their instructional leadership practice. Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) Ninety-five percent of our company assets drive out the gate every afternoon at five. I want them to come back in the morning. I need them to come back in the morning. Jim Goodnight, President and CEO of the SAS Institute, March 2000 Within Western culture, until the early 80s the concept of human resource management was narrowly defined as a series of maintenance functions, usually located in a lower level department within an organization and concerned primarily with operating personnel systems and navigating legal and bureaucratic paper trails. Personnel operated as an isolated administrative unit with little coordination between sub-units or between itself and other

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17 departments within the organization. Personnel managers stood “at the end of the decision chain…historically the last to contribute to the management of enterprise” (McGregor, 1991, p. 4). Personnel department heads did not participate in creating or implementing business strategies because firms viewed them as peripheral to the immediate task of making money. Labor was considered “a cost of production and such costs were to be minimized” (Harrell- Cook, 2002, p. 31). The rise in market globalization and competition, however, forced companies to reevaluate how they manage employees. In a new environment of scarce competitive advantage, “knowledge and learned capacity to accumulate and manipulate new knowledge be [came] the coin of the post-industrial realm” (McGregor, 1988, p. 941). As the 1980s unfolded, business leaders began to view workers as primary assets capable of adding significant value to the bottom-line and thus wanted to ensure that personnel practices were effective across functions and were aligned with business strategies (Harrell-Cook, 2002). The underlying assumption that a comprehensive and targeted human resource approach focused on organizational and system performance rather than individual performance would result in greater productivity and profit fueled interest in this area. Thus, the Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) field emerged. What is Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM)? SHRM assumes that human competence or skill is the engine behind the creation of value in any organization (Tompkins, 2002). It views people as a highly valuable asset to cultivate rather than a cost to control and acknowledges that business strategy affects how firms manage people, and how they cultivate that asset. In its most realized form, SHRM builds human

Full document contains 260 pages
Abstract: This study examines how Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) can be applied to the role of principal. It begins by providing a multi-disciplinary review of SHRM, which at its core is a theoretical framework for understanding how human resource managers can help organizations accomplish their goals. Using case study methodology, the paper then provides a detailed description of an accomplished elementary school principal whose leadership closely aligns with SHRM. Questions addressed include how do effective principals define their roles as instructional leaders, how do they employ SHRM, and how might school districts aid principals in developing a strategic HR approach to leadership. The study reveals that SHRM can significantly help school districts, academic institutions, and school leaders promote excellence in their schools.