Bullying and social objectives : A study of prerequisites for success in Swedish schools

Abstract: This thesis examines the relationship between organizations structure, culture and leadership. The specific organization that has been studied is Swedish secondary schools. The Swedish schools have a divided task, first to develop the students academic skills and secondly to develop the students socially and civically. This thesis has its interest on the schools social environment with special interest focused on questions regarding bullying and insulting behaviour. The data that has been used consists of interviews and questionnaires with students, teachers and principals in 24 Swedish schools that have been studied in a larger study. This work is a part of a project called Structure, Culture and Leadership – prerequisites for successful schools?.  The 24 schools that took part in the SCL study were divided in to four different groups depending on how well they are succeeding in reaching the social and academic objectives formulated in the steering documents. The main result show that principals that succeed to align structure and culture in relation to both the social and academic objectives are the ones that can be perceived as successful. It is these schools that have the lowest level of bullying and the highest grades. The principal takes social responsibility and takes questions in relation to bullying and insulting behaviour seriously. By doing that the principal can communicate the seriousness of the topic in order to develop awareness within the organization and a preventive work can therefore be possible. In schools that work with the students’ ability to be participative seems to develop the students both socially and academically.