As the modern business world becomes more complex, so too do the things that are required for organizations to emerge as viable competitors in the challenging international environment of the 21st century. In his book “Leading Change”, John P. Kotter discusses the needs of 21st century organizations at length; through the course of his discussion, Kotter makes several assertions that correspond directly to certain areas of education. In this paper, two of these areas will be further discussed.
The Impact of Kotter’s Book on Educational Administration
Generally stated, from Kotter’s point of view, the organizations and organizational leaders that will be most successful in the 21st century will be those that embrace learning as a lifelong pursuit (Kotter, 1996), which of course should lead to better leadership, decision making and hence stronger organizations.
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With this premise in mind, the impact of Kotter’s theories on educational administration becomes much clearer; administrators in the modern educational system must not make the mistake of viewing education as something that the individual pursues in their earlier years as a means of starting a career, but must view education as a holistic process that is the common denominator in the life of an individual, even after starting on a career path to upgrade skills, become more proficient in present job responsibilities, and perhaps to be promoted to higher positions where they can have more of a positive organizational impact.
The demand that will exist for lifelong learning will mould the role of educational administrators into a sort of career coach or adult mentor, whereby they will be consulting the long-term learner on the best educational path to take; moreover, based upon the demands for certain curricula, the administrator will undoubtedly be involved in the creation and implementation of new courses to meet growing demand.
How Kotter’s Work Could Shape the Knowledge of Educators
As a consequence of the directional change of educational administrators, Kotter’s work could also shape the knowledge of educators in several significant ways. Kotter, in “Leading Change”, puts forth the philosophy that without learning, no major positive change can take place in an organization, and with this end in mind, the members of a given organization need to be encouraged to “learn how to continue learning” and “learn how to lead” (Kotter, 1996).
Therefore, just as the administrator will play a mentoring role in this new learning process, the educators themselves will become the main drivers of these new learning strategies, in pursuit of the end result. Educators will also need to renew a commitment to lifelong learning, as they return to the classroom as students in order to learn the kinds of material that they in turn will be required to teach to the lifelong learner.
In addition, their educational approach to the student will surely change extensively due to the fact that they will be directing lessons toward a much different demographic than usual, with different goals and ways of retaining material that is given to them. Lastly, the educators will need to keep in mind that the adult learner may be resistant to the educational process, at least initially.
John P. Kotter poses a challenge to leaders, organization members, and the educational community in “Leading Change”. This challenge comes in the form of a call to action that, if followed, will undoubtedly advance the modern organization and change the face of business for generations to come. With business and education working in tandem, a new revolution is on the horizon that will provide, along with challenges, endless opportunity and promise.
(Kotter, 1996) (Kotter John P 1996 Leading Change)Kotter, John P. (1996). Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
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