In This Chapter

The Nature and Specialized Purposes of Educational Leadership

Authored by: Paul T. Begley

International Handbook on the Preparation and Development of School Leaders

Print publication date:  July  2008
Online publication date:  May  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415988476
eBook ISBN: 9780203872239
Adobe ISBN: 9781135277017


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All professions have their meta-values. These are the transcending purposes that give meaning and direction to the work of people in those professions. For example, a soldier’s priority is commonly understood to be a focus on mission (Griggs, 2005). This is an example of a meta-value or transcending purpose for that profession. In this case, a deceptively simple statement of purpose drives decision making in the profession and underlies all training for individuals being prepared for that profession. Other professions and organizations adopt different meta-values and core purposes — some more complex and multi-dimensional. Corporate meta-values typically focus on growth, profit, maintenance and survival (Hodgkinson, 1991). Their influence can be readily detected in the decision making processes of people working in those sectors, be it a bank, brewery, insurance company, oil company or automobile manufacturer. When one experiences the life-style advertising on television used to promote the products from these companies, the operation of these underlying meta-values and economic purposes may be veiled but still very much apparent. While the themes of the advertising may be focused on a consumer’s wants and needs, the driving motivation is still selling the product to the consumer. This illustrates how meta-values that reflect the fundamental purposes of an organization or profession are sometimes veiled or obscured within the context of an environment or the culture of a community.

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