Academic Diary with Dzifa: Are you in the right climate?

school climate

Smart lookup

  • The term school climate can be referred to as the quality and character of school life
  • The climate of a school can be determined by the interpersonal relationship among other factor between management, staff, parents and learners
  • A school climate defines the pattern of students, parents and staff experience

To begin my write-up today, I am going to get a bit personal. During my tenure as an administrator in a certain school, I found out something very peculiar about the leadership style of management or should I say, the school owner. This came as a big surprise to me in certain ways even though I delivered my daily task with joy and eagerness.

In my quest to understand this form of leadership, I did some research. Through my research, I came across the term ‘school climate’, its understanding as well as how its impacts on performance delivery and job satisfaction.

What I found was pretty interesting and I would very much like to share it.

There are six types of school climates as described by researcher Sharma.

Open Climate

In this type, as the name depicts, there is some amount of relative openness to the extent that management do not hinder the work progress of their staff. They are very considerate and democratic, and this puts employees at ease and makes them feel a sense of belongingness. This allows them to work together without complaints or disputes. Facilitators are not overloaded and are motivated well enough to overcome difficulties and frustration. They have job satisfaction and are proud to be related to the school/institution.

Autonomous Climate

This portrays a situation where there is less openness compared to open climate. In this kind, the employer or management gives almost complete freedom to employees to provide their own structure for dealing with their day-to-day tasks to enable them satisfy their social needs.

Since activities and communication in this climate are self-directed, employees tend to achieve their goals easily and quickly. They work together well and accomplish tasks of the organisation. Their morale is on a high level but not as high as in open climate.

The employer runs the organisation in a business-like manner and remains distant from employees. He/she has set procedures and regulations which provide guidelines that employees can follow. He/she is considerate and works hard to set examples. He/she is genuine and flexible.

Controlled Climate

This situation presents lesser degree of openness than both open and autonomous climate types. The climate is marked by emphasis on achievement at the expense of satisfaction of social needs. Employees work hard and there is hardly any time for friendly relations with others or for deviation from established controls and directives. Employees are expected to get their work done and are expected to be told by the employer just how to do it.

There are a few genuine, warm relations among employees but social isolation is common. Job satisfaction is attained from task accomplishment and not based on satisfaction of social needs. The employer in this climate is more result-oriented and bossy. The employer will give little love, warmth or sympathy to facilitators. He/she is domineering and instructional, formal and detached, and egoistic. The employer here does everything by self in order to keep the school running and hardly delegates. Even if there is some form of delegation it is minimal.

Familiar Climate

The core feature of this climate is the outstandingly friendly manner of both the employer and the employees. Here employees satisfy more of their social rather than directing their energies toward achieving organisational goals. This type of climate can also be referred to as ‘the big happy family’.

Self-confidence or job satisfaction is average and comes from social needs satisfaction. As the employer does not want to disrupt ‘the big happy family’, he/she is afraid to make changes. He/she does not make any attempt to motivate or lead facilitators to put their best foot forward.

In the familiar climate, the employer exerts little control on employees’ activities. The leadership lacks commitment and is feeble. Employer lacks the will and competence to emphasise production. Although no one is wrong, no one works to full capacity. Little is done either by direct or indirect means to evaluate or direct the activities of employees. The employer is regarded as a ‘good guy’ who is interested in the welfare of the employees and ‘looks out for them’.

Paternal Climate

This climate is characterised by ineffective attempts of the employer to control employees as well as to satisfy their social needs. It features partly the characteristic of Closed Climate. In this climate, the behaviour of the employer does not motivate the facilitators. He/she is intrusive and wants to know everything at once. He/she is everywhere at once, checking, monitoring and telling people how things should be done, but still nothing seems to be done.

This climate situation can be said to be the opposite of the familiar climate situation. The employer has an inflated ego and his/her centre of interest and concern are the school and its network of activities. Employees do not work well together, there are disputes which end up in factions. 

A great deal of work is done by the employer, thus, employees have few hindrances. As the employer takes care of things as best as he/she can, employees give up trying. They do not enjoy friendly relations with each other neither do they have adequate satisfaction with regard to task accomplishment.

Closed Climate

This is the most closed climate and the least open, and it characterises the other extreme of the climate spectrum. The employer is ineffective in directing the activities of facilitators; at the same time, he/she is not inclined to look out for their personal welfare. The employer here is highly indifferent and impersonal in controlling and directing employee’s activities.

In this climate, the employer sets up rules which are normally random. He/she will ‘go by the book’ rather than get too involved personally with employees and their problems. Facilitators or employees do not attain neither their social needs satisfaction nor job satisfaction from accomplishing their task.

Take Home

A sustainable, positive school climate nurtures to a large extent development and learning process necessary for a productive, contributing and satisfying life in a democratic aura. Each person contributes to the operations of the school and the care of the physical environment.

This climate includes the consideration of norms, values and expectations which support people feeling engaged, respected, and feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe. In the sustainable climate, students, families and educators work together to develop, live and contribute to a shared school vision.

Do you remember?

A sustainable, positive school climate nurtures to a large extent development and learning process necessary for a productive, contributing and satisfying life in a democratic aura.

Each person contributes to the operations of the school and the care of the physical environment.

Leave a Reply