Leadership and Decision-Making in Waldorf School Governance, and the “Cups” and “Scales” of Good Process


  • Peter Lawton


This article is a philosophical exploration of Waldorf school governance. It forwards the proposition that good pedagogical governance is found in the balance of archetypal dialectical tensions, most importantly the balance between an institution’s need to make decisions in accordance with its educational mission and the need to provide the type of institutional leadership that reinvigorates or reimagines that same mission. Leadership is conceived as a largely social-emotional and volitional, artistic, and spontaneously creative endeavor, while decision-making is characterized as a largely intellectual, managerial, and deliberate exercise. The article further proposes that, if good governance is the balance of dialectical tensions, then good institutional procedures or processes are the means by which that balance is achieved. In addition to providing the time, space, and procedural know-how for both leadership and decision-making activities, good institutional processes provide the means for achieving their balance and integration. This is achieved, the article proposes, by nesting a bit of deliberative decision-making within spontaneously creative leadership activities and a bit of spontaneously creative leadership within deliberative decision-making activities. The article explores these “nested” processes through the metaphors of cups and scales, which correspond to leadership and decision-making activities respectively. A procedural “cup” provides a stationary “vessel” that collects dynamic energies, while a procedural “scale” provides a dynamic “movement” that weighs and balances relatively static perspectives and/or paradigms.




Fundamentals / Grundlagen / Peer Reviewed Articles