Monday, September 8, 2014

Invitational Education Theory, Invitational Leadership, and the "Five P" Framework

          To evaluate elements of Invitational Education (IE) Theory when investigating school climate, Schmidt (2007) considered structures for applying and measuring the IE Theory’s principles and concepts.  Schmidt’s meta-analysis identified three sets of structure.  The first set: people, places, policies, programs, and processes- the Five Ps- provides the factors forming a framework for evaluating inviting practices.  The structural framework comprising the Five Ps will be the focus of this month’s post. 
       Purkey and Siegel (2003, 2013) reinforced the specific framework for schools to become “invitational” by concentrating on five areas contributing to school success or failure.  These “five powerful factors–people, places, policies, programs, and processes (the five P’s)–are highly significant for their separate and combined influence on Invitational Leadership” (Purkey & Siegel, 2003, p. 104).  In combination, “these five P’s offers an almost limitless number of opportunities for the Invitational Leader, for they address the total culture or ecosystem of almost any organization” (p. 104).  Through inclusion of the five P’s the invitational leadership model becomes a unique and holistic model of leadership (Stillion & Siegel, 2005).
The five P’s contribute to the creation of a positive school climate and ultimately a healthy and successful organization (Purkey & Siegel, 2013).  In the invitational leadership model, people provide the most important element for leaders developing a successful school (Purkey & Siegel, 2013).  “Investment in people results in effective change” (Hansen, 1998, p.17)   Involving and empowering people “help individuals become part of an effective team” (Burns & Martin, 2010, p, 34).  “In the new organization the worker is no longer a cog…but is an intelligent part of the overall process.” (Gates, 1999, p. 289).  “Empowering leadership had a stronger positive effect on followers who were high on the need for autonomy, and directive leadership had a stronger negative effect on followers who were high on the need for autonomy (Seokhwa, Cox, & Sims, 2006, p. 374).  People within a success-minded organization need relationships (Bruffee, 1999; Katzenbach & Smith, 2003; Lencioni, 2002).  “The overall ambiance of the school and quality of instruction are enhanced as the school develops a 'concordant relationship' among the students, parents, teachers, and administrators” (Kelly et al. (1998, p. 62).  Therefore, the formation of positive relationships and relationship management becomes an essential element of creating and sustaining school success 
In the invitational leadership model, perceptions of a place contributes to school success or failure.  Observers can almost immediately notice the personality of a place, differentiating between a sterile, empty, and lifeless environment compared to a place seen as “warm, exciting, and filled with the personalities of all those who inhabit that space” (Burns & Martin, 2010, p, 33).  As the most visible element within an environment, “Places are the easiest to change” (Purkey, 1992, p. 7).  Therefore, in the invitational leadership model, places, and the perceptions of those that come into them, contribute to the school’s success or failure
In the invitational leadership model, policies also contribute to school success or failure.  Policies of successful schools create a positive school culture that seeks win/win results, which advances a mindset that seeks to provide mutual benefits in all human interactions (Covey, 1989).  An organization’s policies either restricts, confines, and squelches individuality or, by contrast, they empower positive and productive opportunities within the organization, thereby creating a cooperative, rather than a competitive environment (Fowler, 2004).
In the invitational leadership model, attractive programs contribute to school success or failure.  Because they always perceive themselves as overlooked, students often feel “disinvited in school” (Hansen, 1998, p.14).  In such situations, “these students suffered from a caring disability; not enough educators cared to invite them to participate in school life” (Hansen, 1998, p. 16).  By contrast, a school with a positive culture provides creative and attractive programs (Witcher, 1993) whereby academic courses taught by outstanding faculty increase the effectiveness of the curriculum while raising the standards for academic achievement and rigor (Edmonds, 1979; McCombs & Whisler, 1997).
In the invitational leadership model, processes contribute to school success or failure (Day, Harris & Hadfield, 2001; Purkey & Siegel, 2013; Stillion & Siegel, 2005).  To the detriment of an inviting environment, many school leaders establish the presumption that they are “in charge” (Cleveland, 2002, p.1).  By contrast, leaders can establish a successful school culture through “awareness of the need to include all stakeholders in as many of the decision making processes as possible” (Burns & Martin, 2010, p, 33).  When schools possess a positive school climate, they exhibit an environment that encourages “decision making characterized by participation, cooperation, and collaboration (Hansen, 1998, p. 17). 
Subsequent posts will explore the other two sets of structure identified by Schmidt’s (2007) meta-analysis.  The second set: empowerment, encouragement, enlistment, enjoyment, equity, and expectation-the Six E’s-guides the investigation of the Five Ps in relation to different stakeholder groups.  The third set identifies four areas of invitation: “Inviting Oneself Personally, Inviting Oneself Professionally, Inviting Others Personally, and Inviting Others Professionally” (Schmidt, 2007, p. 16).  Considered holistically, Schmidt posits the three sets of structure provide an understandable language with useable concepts to explain school climate based on Invitational Education Theory. 
The International Alliance for Invitational Education (IAIE) will hold its 32nd Annual World Conference in Nashville, TN from October 29-November 1, 2014.  This unique international gathering will focus upon how to use Invitational Theory as a framework for creating positive climates.  CLICK HERE to download the complete IAIE Conference Brochure and Registration Form.  CLICK HERE for Online Registration and additional information on the IAIE. 

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To Cite:
Anderson, C.J. (September 8, 2014) Invitational education theory, invitational leadership, and the five P
               framework.  [Web log post] Retrieved from