According to the available literature, schools with a positive organisational culture are more
effective and will probably achieve better results. This study investigates the way in which a
positive school culture is formed. It focuses on the role of the leadership of the principal in
developing an organisational culture of an independent school. This qualitative study scrutinises one specific school in a group of several independent
schools in South Africa and compares the school culture of the original school (between
1971 and 1974) to the current school culture as manifested in the last four years (2009-
2012). Data was gathered through interviews with the founder of the school, interviews
with current teachers and the current principal, document research of artefacts as well as
observations made by visitors to the school in a professional capacity.
The data recorded was analysed in terms of a "levels of culture" model proposed by Edgar Schein (1985) by looking at what “the school” said about itself, what “the school” and the
principal did, and what things look like. Furthermore, a study was made of what is seen as
acceptable behaviour and unacceptable behaviour followed by what is regarded as
important and not important in the school. The answers to these questions were used to
determine the assumptions that members of the school community hold about the nature
of the school.
The analysis of the school’s culture aimed to determine how this school’s past is living in the
present and what role the leadership of the principal played in shaping the school’s culture.
All of this was done to determine how school culture is formed, so that other schools can
also use the methods identified in this study to identify their own school’s culture and find
ways of changing it.
The researcher concludes that the formation of a school culture can be controlled and
manipulated towards a positive outcome and ways of doing this are identified. It is also
found that the culture of the specific school in this study seems to have been well-defined
and positive throughout its history and that the leadership of the principal plays a significant
role in the success of the school.
Mampane, Sharon Thabo(University of Pretoria, 2003-06-18)
This research project studies the management of change by school managers. South African school managers are operating in one of the most difficult environments in the world, one where many variables have an enormous ...
Giladi, Michal(University of Pretoria, 2006-03-17)
School websites are useful in providing an additional environment to educate and impart culture to the collectivity. They reflect the collective phenomenon of behaviour and traditional ideas, and at the same time, reflect ...
This paper explores effective schools with an effective school culture. The researchers worked from
the assumption that a positive school culture is essential for school effectiveness and that principals are in a