Challenges to the Introduction of an Alternative Leadership Style: A School Principal’s Journey in the Introduction of an ‘Ubuntu Leadership Model’

Vuyisile Msila


In various bids to improve the culture of learning and teaching in South African schools there have been numerous calls to transform school management and leadership. Recent research is proving that it is effective school managers who entrench the culture of achievement in their organizations. Shared leadership, participative leadership, invitational leadership are some of the terms tossed around and believed to have ‘silver bullet’ effect in underperforming schools with managerial problems. This article is based on a qualitative study. It explores challenges encountered by a school principal who desired to turn around a dysfunctional school into being more effective. She introduced ubuntu strategies in her leadership style. Ubuntu is defined as an African philosophy which magnifies group solidarity. It is based on African values that emphasize interdependence of group members. Yet even with such noble qualities embraced in this philosophy, the principal discovered that resistance arose from employees. She realized that there was a need to ensure that sometimes employees need to be assisted through a number of professional maturity levels to accomplish certain levels of professionalism. Without these levels of professional maturity, philosophies that are inherently dynamic, could fail in the hands of professionally immature staff.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p1738

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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