Aesthetics of Leadership
- Fenwick W. EnglishFenwick W. EnglishBall State University
- and Rosemary PapaRosemary PapaSoka University of America
Aesthetics of leadership pertain to leadership activities and actions in contemporary educational settings, expanded to include a range of human sensory experiences, from clothing and cosmetic choices to pragmatic somaesthetics, an area of human decision making that involves choices regarding norms and prescriptions in all human contexts. Considering aesthetics in leadership runs up against a long tradition in educational administration and leadership of conventional social science methods of inquiry and what is considered evidentiary. There are at least six dimensions of organizational issues that are judged to be cultural: determination of normative procedures; organizational rituals, rites, and ceremonies; organizational myths, stories, and legends; statements regarding mission, vision, and philosophy; personnel issues such as mentoring, recruitment, promotion, and role modeling; and architectural and physical structural issues. School culture emerged as a concern of educators and policy change agents engaged in introducing a variety of alternatives in education. It soon became apparent that to be successful, proposed changes in human behavior had to move beyond trying to persuade through the use of facts, data, and logic. Human behavior is in part responsive to psychosocial norms. Only a few of these norms may be written; the majority may be unwritten and learned through living them on a daily basis. The unwritten rules and rituals of a group such as a school or university department, when considered holistically, may be called a “culture.” The art of leadership is not contained by the science of management; it is found in aesthetics, somaesthetics, and connoisseurship, and is embodied by human elements, or accoutrements.