This thesis centres on the research problem of leadership and strategic planning processes in two Singapore government secondary schools, both of which were engaged in the strategic planning guided by the School Excellence Model (SEM) Framework launched in 2000. Many schools are apprehensive toward this mandatory requirement. They are unclear of the strategic planning approach, process, or model to adopt. This study investigates how the strategic planning process was established and managed in two contrasting case schools, and expounds on the factors influencing the strategic planning processes in each school. Emanating from the aims, the study seeks to address the following research questions: First, what do school leaders and teachers understand by strategic planning? Second, what are leaders’ and teachers’ perspectives on how schools develop their strategic plans? Third, what are leaders’ and teachers’ perspectives on how the strategic plan is implemented, managed and led? Fourth, what are the perceived helping and hindering factors engaging in strategic planning? In addressing the research questions, a case study approach and qualitative research methods using interviews, non-participative observations, and documentary analysis were employed to elicit in-depth information from school leaders and teachers of two contrasting schools, one deemed successful and the other less so, in implementing, leading and managing the strategic planning spectrum. Key findings, inter alia, suggest that the principal’s approach to leadership of the process of strategic planning greatly influenced the likelihood of successful implementation, influencing and shaping the approach of other senior staff and teachers. In particular, a more democratic and consultative approach inspired staff more to execute the plan compared to command and control –something of a paradox for Singaporean schools, given their centralised culture. Findings also affirmed that time allocated for strategic reviews at planning meetings, coupled with effective communication strategy to involve stakeholders, can enhance strategic thinking and capability of staff
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