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Redefining Organizational Environments: Identifying Potential Alliances and Leadership Implications
Unformatted Document Text:  Section IStatement of Issue and Literature Review As educational organizations evolve and adapt to environmental demands of the 21 st century, the challenge of creating organizational alliances is necessary. Although educational organizations have developed some community and business partnerships, the changing nature of our environment and the complexity of our society require a new definition and understanding of organizational alliances. Consequently, there is a need to view organizational environments in a more broad context consisting of varied organizational entities with multiple purposes, each of which possess the ability to impact educational institutions in a variety of different ways. In order for educational entities to successfully survive and effectively navigate an ever-changing landscape, communication, environmental assessments, and a new perspective regarding leadership is needed. The following literature review focuses primarily on public educational institutions and their interactions with various constituencies, however, it should be noted that this information is also applicable to any educational institution and should not be limited to public school organizations only. According to Potter (1997), “Schools can live or die by public opinion, and public relations is the key to garnering public support” (p. 22). However, Hicks (2000) noted that a significant factor that has led to the lack of support of the public school system is the public school system itself. Hicks argued that the people who make up the school systems such as the administrators, principals, superintendents, and teachers in conjunction with government officials and politicians, have done nothing to assist in the formulation of a public relations strategy to address the public’s concern for the institution of public education. For this very reason, Milo (1997) persuasively argued that administrators, principals, and superintendents must be encouraged to work with their individual school boards in developing a public relations strategy designed to meet the needs of their unique school’s communities. More recently, Portin, Schneider, DeArmond, and Grundlach (2003) conducted a study of the school principalship. Principals of different types of schools (e.g., charter, private, and public) were investigated to help improve and develop new leadership for U.S. schools. Three fundamental areas of exploration were addressed: the different roles required of principals, how those roles differed based on school types, and whether training programs for principals addressed the challenges they confronted. The study revealed that, “regardless of the school type, schools need leadership in seven critical areas” (p. 17): instructional leadership, cultural leadership, managerial leadership, human resources leadership, strategic leadership, external development leadership, and micropolitical leadership. The leadership type that best pertains to expanding organizational alliances is external development leadership. According to Portin et al. (2003) external development leadership refers to the school being represented in the community, developing funding sources, advancing and engaging in public relations, recruiting students, mediating between external interests, and advocating individual school interests. As a result, a new breed of school leader is needed to meet the demands of organizational change. Given these factors, it seems imperative that educational institutions develop and implement communication strategies to actively engage their external environments. Communication interaction permits the flow of information between organizational entities and creates transparency between organizational affiliations. Each of these factors contributes to

Authors: Robinson, Larry. and Robinson, Renee.
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Section I
Statement of Issue and Literature Review
As educational organizations evolve and adapt to environmental demands of the
21
st
century, the challenge of creating organizational alliances is necessary. Although
educational organizations have developed some community and business partnerships,
the changing nature of our environment and the complexity of our society require a new
definition and understanding of organizational alliances. Consequently, there is a need to
view organizational environments in a more broad context consisting of varied
organizational entities with multiple purposes, each of which possess the ability to impact
educational institutions in a variety of different ways. In order for educational entities to
successfully survive and effectively navigate an ever-changing landscape,
communication, environmental assessments, and a new perspective regarding leadership
is needed. The following literature review focuses primarily on public educational
institutions and their interactions with various constituencies, however, it should be noted
that this information is also applicable to any educational institution and should not be
limited to public school organizations only.
According to Potter (1997), “Schools can live or die by public opinion, and public
relations is the key to garnering public support” (p. 22). However, Hicks (2000) noted
that a significant factor that has led to the lack of support of the public school system is
the public school system itself. Hicks argued that the people who make up the school
systems such as the administrators, principals, superintendents, and teachers in
conjunction with government officials and politicians, have done nothing to assist in the
formulation of a public relations strategy to address the public’s concern for the
institution of public education. For this very reason, Milo (1997) persuasively argued that
administrators, principals, and superintendents must be encouraged to work with their
individual school boards in developing a public relations strategy designed to meet the
needs of their unique school’s communities.
More recently, Portin, Schneider, DeArmond, and Grundlach (2003) conducted a
study of the school principalship. Principals of different types of schools (e.g., charter,
private, and public) were investigated to help improve and develop new leadership for
U.S. schools. Three fundamental areas of exploration were addressed: the different roles
required of principals, how those roles differed based on school types, and whether
training programs for principals addressed the challenges they confronted. The study
revealed that, “regardless of the school type, schools need leadership in seven critical
areas” (p. 17): instructional leadership, cultural leadership, managerial leadership, human
resources leadership, strategic leadership, external development leadership, and
micropolitical leadership.
The leadership type that best pertains to expanding organizational alliances is
external development leadership. According to Portin et al. (2003) external development
leadership
refers to the school being represented in the community, developing funding
sources, advancing and engaging in public relations, recruiting students, mediating
between external interests, and advocating individual school interests. As a result, a new
breed of school leader is needed to meet the demands of organizational change. Given
these factors, it seems imperative that educational institutions develop and implement
communication strategies to actively engage their external environments. Communication
interaction permits the flow of information between organizational entities and creates
transparency between organizational affiliations. Each of these factors contributes to


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