Wickedness and Planning

I found this conclusion to a piece I wrote about 2 years ago… seems timely now:

School leaders are encouraged to develop plans for continuous improvement (Cohen-Vogel, Cannata, Rutledge, & Socol, 2016) and they are also encouraged to use data to inform their decisions (Saltman & Means, 2017). Many of the problems school leaders seek to address, however, are wicked (Rittel & Webber, 1973) so the traditional planning methods are not always effective in producing solutions widely accepted as improvements. By understanding how school leaders can adopt a more sophisticated stance towards planning and decision-making–a stance that is grounded in research methodologies–education researchers and educators of school leaders can prompt more effective school planning.


Cohen-Vogel, L., Cannata, M., Rutledge, S. A., & Socol, A. R. (2016). A Model of continuous improvement in high schools: A process for research, innovation design, implementation, and scale. Teachers College Record118(13).

Rittel, H., & Webber, M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences, 4(2): 155-169.

Saltman, K. J., & Means, A. J. (2017). From “data‐driven” to “democracy‐driven” educational leadership: Navigating market bureaucracy and new technology in a post‐Fordist era. The Wiley International Handbook of Educational Leadership, 125-138.