Three Minute Thesis

This is my three minute thesis proposal that I am presenting  to my peers and supervisors (without references).

Ready to Lead? Is Talent Management the response required to address the growing school leadership crisis?

There is no denying that the role of a school principal is complex and challenging.  School Leadership is facing a growing crisis with approximately 70% of principals reaching retirement age in the next five years. It is further well known that the role of school principal is becoming less attractive to qualified and suitable applicants.

To address this growing concern a plethora of research has occurred over the previous two decades such as the 7 Systems Leadership Study (7SLS) and International Study of the Preparation of Principals (ISPP).  These studies and others that have followed have consistently identified that this is a global challenge and that appropriate preparation is a key strategy to improving principal retention and engagement.

However, how leaders are systematically identified and supported is unclear.  What is clear in the literature is that there needs to be earlier identification of suitable school leaders. There is an identified five-year window from teaching commencement, in which leadership aspiration needs to be harnessed or there is a loss of 50% of potential school leader aspirants. Addressing the retention, support and identification of principals in Queensland is a complex problem and this study examines whether talent management is the response required?  It is acknowledged that what is identified in research is not always evident in practice and there needs to be an examination of what is currently occurring in Queensland Schools in regards to principal preparation and talent management as much of the research regarding Queensland is dated.

This study will examine the challenges of a talent management system in Queensland, by taking into consideration culture, legislation, policy, practices, values and role of participants and facilitators of talent management. To do so, this research project will use a pragmatic research methodology using a blended theoretical framework of narrative and grounded theory to examine the need for and elements of a talent management system in the journey towards principalship. The concept of talent management will be built upon the principles of social exchange theory, which implies that with targeted investment, acknowledgement and commitment to an individual, the individual will reciprocate this investment and will show greater loyalty, commitment and motivation back to the employer or system. It will define talent management as a balanced approach to inclusive and targeted practices that are used to identify potential leaders early in their career from within education.

To conclude, this study will contribute to the field of school leadership, by proposing that principal preparation is only one part of an entire talent management system that needs to be considered in addressing the growing challenges facing recruitment, recommendation, retention and support of school principals in Queensland. This will lead to the development of a process for principals in Queensland to effectively talent manage teachers and other leaders as one mechanism to address the growing principal leadership crisis in schools.

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