The purpose of this study was to explore the organizational culture of two high schools in Ghana, examine the unique influence of cultural components on the schools’ outcomes, identify the exceptional contributions of the schools’ subcultures, investigate the emergent leadership styles of the schools’ leaders, and determine how these approaches promoted their work. This qualitative dissertation examined the various ways that the schools defined culture; how the schools’ subcultures participated in school governance; and how school leaders approached school governance. The description of the cultural components focused on the physical structures, symbols, behavior patterns, and verbal expressions, beliefs and values; and expectations. These descriptions were based on Edgar Schein’s diagnosis of the levels of culture.
Efforts to improve school outcomes have not considered school culture, as a strategy in Ghana, neither has any educational research focused on the organizational culture of schools. This study was based on the premise that the inclusion of the cultural approach to school reform produces more sustainable results than the technical or political approaches, used in isolation. The sample size for this study was 26 and comprised two school leaders, six teachers, two PTA chairpersons, two alumni, and 14 students. The study employed the case study tradition and garnered data through one-on- one interviews, focus group interviews; observation at morning devotions/assembly, Sunday church services, classrooms, dining halls, orientation, sports festival, staff and academic board meetings, and the physical environment; and review of relevant documents.
Results indicated that although the Ghana Education Service managed both schools, and the schools were similar in some ways, they each demonstrated some unique characteristics. The major factors that influenced the achievement of school outcomes included the tangible and intangible cultural components; the involvement of subcultures in school governance; and three emergent leadership styles (participative, servant, and supportive) of school leadership. The schools targeted realization of outcomes through West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results, national quizzes, religious and moral growth, and extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs.
This data fills the gap in literature about organizational culture in Ghanaian schools. It also provides reference for educational practitioners, policy makers, school administrators, and teachers for their respective roles. The data guides parents concerning their roles in their children’s schools and also provides guidance for alumni about how they could give back to their alma maters.