School leaders' perceptions of promoting relational well-being in a secondary school community
Globally there seems to be an increase in psychosocial problems in school communities. This tendency can largely be contributed to the increasing complexity of modern society. Research studies indicate that for an organisation like a school to survive and improve the well-being of its members, it should become more flexible and adjustable to all sociological changes. In this study, it is reasoned that the complexity of human behaviour as well as the complex nature of a school community are not always fully realised. Leadership is thus not always able to make adjustments to enable the school to adjust to an ever-changing complex modern society. Internationally, most governments address this problem by the implementation of programmes and policies that acknowledge the necessity to view a school community as being part of broader eco-systems. The introduction of whole-school approaches in schools addresses this interaction and the dependency between systems. The reasoning is that change is more likely to occur when the whole community shares a collective vision about their plans, aspirations, and goals. Despite policies that support multi-dimensional interactive approaches, it is unfortunately plagued by systemic problems due to a lack to fully accommodate an understanding of complexity of human behaviour and systems. Although the holistic and collective principles are implicated in policies, the importance of the dynamic nature of relationships does not always receive the necessary attention. This purpose of this study is to focus on the potential of dynamic relationships in order to create a more humanised school community by utilizing dynamic interactive relational processes in the promotion of relational well-being. The emphasis is therefore on the role that school leaders can play to promote relational well-being by utilising this dynamic nature of relationships as a means to influence and change rigid authoritative leadership control by adopting a more transformative leadership style. Unless school leaders of the future become more sophisticated in their understanding of the complexity and the dynamic relational processes of human behaviour, it is unlikely that relational well-being in schools will be promoted. The researcher found it necessary to focus primarily on the current perceptions of leaders at all levels in a secondary school community. The challenge was an attempt to gain a better understanding of their experiences and thoughts about the restraining factors that affected the promotion of relational well-being can be addressed and challenged. Accordingly, a single qualitative research case study, consisting of an appreciative inquiry (AI), which was followed-up by a working session, was conducted at this school. In view of the findings of study, several recommendations were made for practice and policy development.
- Humanities