Book Review

The Lifeworld of Leadership

Reviewed by George E. Pawlas,
Associate Professor of Educational Leadership,
University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.


Leaders who are trying to act according to the unique culture, values and needs of their schools while also meeting state and national standards will find this inspiring book a welcome addition to their professional libraries.

Thomas J. Sergiovanni’s The Lifeworld of Leadership explores the crucial link between school improvement and school character. Sergiovanni, the Lillian Radford professor of education and administration at Trinity University in Texas, discusses how building institutional character at the local level can be accomplished.

Sergiovanni’s work yielded compelling and specific examples of outstanding leadership at the local level. He is thorough in his discussion of how the lifeworld of every school is affected by the "systems world" in which each school exists. School leaders will recognize the systems world as the management systems that are supposed to help schools achieve their goals and objectives effectively and efficiently. He maintains that when the lifeworld and systems world are working properly, a meaningful symbiotic relationship exists.

Sergiovanni has proposed initiatives that invite all educational stakeholders to lead without compromising the legitimate interests of their schools and communities. Sergiovanni gets to the heart of school reform and renewal as he guides local school communities in meeting standards that support serious learning and effective care for all students.

(The Lifeworld of Leadership, by Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Jossey-Bass Publishers, 350 Sansome St., San Francisco, Calif. 94104-1342, 1999, 240 pages with index, $27.95 hardcover)