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A look at using Martin's Integrative Thinking in education settings including the difficulties of using this approach.

As I reflect on Roger Martin’s “How Successful Leaders Think” (Martin, 2007) I think about how this could apply to education. From a distance it seems like the process of thinking outside of the box. The writing seems to be written towards business and private industry but problems are problems. My first thought is that the bureaucracy of governments including education might hinder this free thinking model of problem solving.

The concept of integrative thinking may have its limitations in education. Often school leaders react quickly to find a fix to a problem. These leaders often use proven strategies from experts that have worked in other schools or districts. This is probably the truest form of conventional thinking. A twenty year old study called Cognitive Flexibility and Inflexibility in Principal’s Problem Solving (Stager&Leithwood, 1988) parallels Martin’s Integrative Thinking model. This study found that school leaders who were more flexible in their problem solving were more effective leaders.

As a future school leader I also reflect on how I might use the integrative thinking approach to problem solving when I become a principal. I expect the biggest obstacle will be those who oppose change (in any form). I think it will be important to find the experts in my building who will think outside of the box. These experts can be allies in an integrative thinking model.

While there may be obstacles to this way of problem solving, I do believe these skills can be honed as Martin said. His notion of “habit of thought” (Martin, 2007, p.67) to arrive at possible solutions not clearly evident is an idea that I and other future school leaders should embrace.


Martin, R. (2007). How successful leaders think. Harvard Business Review, 60-67.

Stager, M.,&Leithwood, K.A. (1988). Cognitive flexibility and inflexibility in principals’ problem solving. American Educational Research Association. April 1988 conference.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Integrative thinking and school leadership. OpenStax CNX. May 23, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10535/1.1
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