Effective Practices : Governance

Governance - A Definition

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Governance is a term that is used frequently in conversations about our Waldorf Schools. “What is good governance?” we ask. “How should the school best be governed? Are there good models for governance that we can emulate? What are the keys to successful governance in a Waldorf school?” And yet, despite the frequency with which the term is used, we do not all agree on what we mean when we use this term.

Some people use the term governance in a restricted way, only using it to refer to the operations, policies and procedures of the Board of Trustees. Others expand the term slightly to include the activity of the College of Teachers. But Waldorf schools are known for the wide spread diffusion of authority and responsibility among many members of the faculty, staff and volunteer parent body. For this reason we have chosen to use a very broad definition of governance for purposes of this study of best governance practices in our Waldorf schools.

Governance: The Definition
The term “Governance” is used in this study to refer to the decisions that define expectations, grant power, and verify performance. Governance relates to consistent management, cohesive policies and processes, and the decision rights for a given area of responsibility. It is the administrative and process oriented elements of governing.

Governance is the traditions and institutions through which authority is exercised. These include the process by which leaders are selected, monitored and replaced and to the capacity to formulate and implement sound policy. It is the exercise of authority and the use of institutional resources to manage the organization’s purpose, problems and affairs. Governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws and institutions affecting the way people direct, administer or control an organization.

Governance includes the relationships among the many players involved and the organization’s goals. It is a system of structuring, operating and controlling an organization with a view to achieve its long term strategic goals.

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