Entrepreneurs, Leaders, Managers

psychic prisonIn the educational leadership domain, we frequently hear the argument about being a leader, not just a manager. (Here is a nice breakdown, or just enter a search into Google.) This morning, I ran across this article that added “entrepreneurs” into the traditional leader/manager dichotomy: Understanding Three Archetypes: Entrepreneurs, Managers, Leaders.

One of our greatest challenges in education, I think, is a lack of vision from those in leadership positions. Visions for teaching and learning just don’t go far enough. In fact, since being introduced to Gareth Morgan’s Images of Organizations, I see education, in general, and public education, in particular, stuck in a “psychic prison.” I recall writing this a few years back:

Organizational learning researcher, Gareth Morgan, offers a lens through which school leaders might examine resistance to change – the metaphor of the psychic prison. In organizations, “people can actually become imprisoned in or confined by the images, ideas, thoughts, and actions to which these processes give rise” (Morgan, 2006, p. 207). Educational leaders, policymakers, teachers and students are, as suggested by Morgan, imprisoned by a centuries-old paradigm of how schooling is defined. The “game of school” is so engrained in the unconscious of our minds that stakeholders do not often think about breaking out of this thought prison. Ideas that call for the reinvention, not just reform, of schools are met with resistance because they challenge all stakeholders to break with the past and venture into new, seemingly unknown territory. The first step in shifting the paradigm of education is for leaders to break free of the psychic prison, reconceptualize what it means to be educated in the 21st century and influence others to think about education anew. The changes required rest on a strong foundation of educational leadership, rethought for a new era of education, and grounded in the literature supporting meaningful teaching and learning.

I like the idea of adding entrepreneurs to the leader/manager paradigm. Do we have enough entrepreneurs (or entrepreneurial thinking) in education? Some may be bothered by the word entrepreneur since it conjures up images of business and charter schools. But how do we bring entrepreneurial thinking into public education? Should it reside in the few or the many? At the top, or throughout the system? What barriers unique to public education stifle entrepreneurial thinking? Shouldn’t we be modeling this kind of thinking for our learners? What are some examples of entrepreneurial work in education, particularly public education, and how far removed from our current “psychic prison” are they really? Do they go far enough?

Some questions for inquiry prompted by the  rather short post, Understanding Three Archetypes: Entrepreneurs, Managers, Leaders.


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