School Leaders’ Sensemaking and Sensegiving


In this book, Judith Norris presents a theoretical model that demonstrates a new approach to understanding how school leaders respond to conflicting expectations and demands. The idea of sensemaking and sensegiving is theoretically interesting and allows the reader to focus on how school leaders make sense, but also how they give sense to others in the complex conditions that educators now must negotiate. Like the Eucalyptus tree, educational leaders must adapt to their contradictory environments.

Written in the most accessible way, the theory and its application will likely appeal not only to researchers, but also to teachers and school administrators. Norris has created a real applicability to school leadership in various international contexts.

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Judith M. Norris, Ed.D. (2017), Australian Catholic University, is Senior Lecturer of Educational Leadership Studies at that university. She has co-published with colleagues in educational leadership, blogging regularly for Master students and researching about and with school leaders.
List of Figures, Tables and Memos
List of Abbreviations
About the Author
 1 Background

1 All in the Same Field
 1 The Need for This Book
 2 Purpose and Aims
 3 Metaphors
 4 Ecology and the Human Condition
 5 The Eucalyptus Tree—Its Attraction
 6 Australian Indigenous Peoples’ Reciprocity with Trees
 7 Going Forward

2 Problem, Trigger, Conjectures
 1 The Underpinnings of the Model
 2 The Theoretical Model
 3 Core Category 1: Making Sense
 4 Core Category 2: Giving Sense
 5 Relationship between Making Sense and Giving Sense

3 Problem Re-namers
 1 Sensemaking
 2 Sensegiving
 3 Sensebreaking
 4 School Leaders’ Sensemaking and Sensegiving in Accountable Times
 5 The Theory of Planned Behaviour
 6 Application of Leadership to the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB)
 7 Bringing the Re -namers Together

4 Context: Not Everything, But Something
 1 Impact of Public Purpose on School Leaders’ Work
 2 Global Actors Impact on School Leaders’ Work
 3 National Actors Impact on School Leaders’ Work
 4 State and Jurisdictional Actors
 5 Secondary Schools in Australia: Changing Times
 6 Faith-Based: Dual Bind or Single Resolve?
 7 Principals’ Interpretations of Their Accountability: Clashing Times
 8 Policy to Practice Gap
 9 School Leader Identity Formation

5 Educational Accountability: New Normal or Site of Struggle?
 1 Introducing Educational Accountability
 2 The New Normal: Site of Struggle?
 3 Typology of Accountability in Education
 4 Defining Educational Accountability
 5 Rationale for Accountability in Australian Schools
 6 The Mechanisms
 7 Accountability Stakes Drive into the Hearts of Educators
 8 Efffects of Educational Accountability on School Leaders

6 ‘… Somehow Frame Accountability to Make Sense of It’
 1 Contextualising
 2 Prioritising Referents: Account for What, to Whom and How
 3 Anomaly: Terence Prioritises Performance Results
 4 Anomaly: Prioritising the DeCourcy Instrument of Analysis
 5 Anomaly: The School System Expectations
 6 Conceptualising

7 The Lady of Light
 1 Sensegiving Acts: Persuading Teachers
 2 Anomaly: Principals Manage Demands by ‘Cherry Picking’
 3 Anomaly: Principals Manage Demands through Target Setting
 4 Sensegiving Acts: Enacting the Leader Learner Identity
 5 Sensegiving Acts: Creating Cultures of Coherence
 6 Anomaly: Aspiring for Grades as Brilliance
 7 Anomaly: Principals Set Performance Results as Targets
 8 Sense Leaders: Sammy, Charmaine, Barry, and Leonie

8 Not How It Is, But How I See It Is
 1 Not How It Is, But How I See It Is
 2 Constraining, an Authoring Act
 3 School Leaders Framing Their External Demands

9 Credibility, Persuasion and Coherence
 1 Persuasive Devices: Narratives, Metaphors and Mantras
 2 Sensegiving Act of Articulating a Vision for Learning
 3 Sensegiving Act of Modelling Expertise
 4 Sensegiving Act of Facilitating Professional Learning Conversations
 5 Sensegiving Act: Reconciliation
 6 Sensegiving Act: Leaders Creating Coherence
 7 School Leaders Give Sense by Articulating Perspective
 8 Two Moderating Factors of School Leaders’ Sensegiving
 9 Theoretical Relationship between Leaders’ Sensemaking and Sensegiving

10 Sense Leaders: Ready for Any Catastrophe
 1 Eucaus Announces Nation -Wide Testing
 2 The Theoretical ELM in Situ
 3 Contributing to Further Research
 4 Implications and Recommendations
 5 Researching into the Future
 6 A Metaphor for School Leaders’ Sensemaking and Sensegiving
 7 Closing Remarks

Those interested in the theoretical and application of educational leadership in various international contexts.
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