Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)

Research Article: 2019 Vol: 18 Issue: 3

A Strategic Performance of School-Based Management for High Schools in Aceh, Indonesia

Bustami Usman*, Universitas Syiah Kuala

Asnawi Muslem, Universitas Syiah Kuala

Edi Nur, Universitas Syiah Kuala

Saiful, Universitas Syiah Kuala

Melor Md Yunus, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


The strategic performance of the principal determines the success of a school because his leadership can determine the quality of the graduates produced by the school. This research was conducted to gain the strategic management of performance improvement using School-Based Management (SBM) at high schools of Aceh, Indonesia. It used a qualitative descriptive method. The data were collected through interviews, classroom observations and study of documents. The subjects of the study consisted of a head of Educational Office of Pidie Jaya District, three principals of senior high schools, and three supervisors of the schools. The collected data were analyzed by using descriptive qualitative in nature. The results showed that the principals together with the teachers and other stakeholders prepared yearly and five-yearly plans and programs to provide focus for the teaching-learning process and for other school activities. In the implementation of SBM for better performance in the school, the principals found three factors which greatly affected the successful performances of the school; the performance of the teachers, the physical conditions in the school and public participation in the management of education at the school. In addition, the difficulties which the principals face in implementing SBM are conditions in their schools that are related to the availability of funding for school improvement and for rewarding teachers. SBM practices can improve the performance of the principals, the teachers and the quality of school facilities so that students can learn better and gain more satisfactory results. 


Strategic Management, Performance of the Principal, School-Based Management Strategies, High Schools


The school principal is a strategic or central figure, responsible for making decisions in the running of the school as an educator, manager and motivator (Leithwood & Montgomery, 1982; Marks & Printy, 2003; Caldwell & Spinks, 2005; Mulyasa, 2006a; Printy et al., 2010; Vetrova et al., 2018). The principal has power to improve the functioning of their schools and act professionally in implementing democratic, accountable and participative principles (Hallinger & Heck, 1998; Peterson, 2002; Botha, 2004; Chan & Sam, 2005; Printy et al., 2010). Based on the thinking and considerations above, the researchers were interested to study the performance of school-based management strategies for high schools in Pidie Jaya. Management is needed by all organizations to achieve their objectives effectively and efficiently; it needs men, materials, machines, methods, money and markets to reach its goals, getting better over time (Kaplan, 2001; Notoatmodjo, 2003; Noe et al., 2006; Stephen et al., 2018). People are the prime factor in any organization hence management of people or Human Resource Management (HRM) is of prime importance (Parvin, & Kabir, 2011). It aims to develop human potential, especially by motivation and innovation to achieve higher productivity.

Literature Review

A Strategic Purpose and Benefits of Performance Evaluation

It is important to put forward that a strategic purpose and benefits of schools principals’ performance evaluation or measurement (Atkinson et al., 1997; Ilinitch et al., 1998; Merchant & Van der Stede, 2007). Meanwhile, the benefits of performance evaluation include improving the results of work, providing fair opportunities for work, and providing training and development (Tannenbaum & Yukl, 1992). Wibowo (2009) states there are seven indicators of performance, two of which have a very important role, viz: purpose and motives however, performance also needs the support of facilities, competency, opportunities, standards and rewards. In performing his/her duties a high-school principal should fulfill five requirements set out in the Ministry of Education Regulation No.13/2007, namely; good personal character and competency to act, as a manager, as a supervisor, as an entrepreneur, and finally to have social competency. Mulyasa (2006b) points that the new paradigm in education management requires “a principal to be capable as an educator, manager, administrator, supervisor, leader, innovator, and motivator”.

Strategy for Improving the Strategic Performance of Principals and Commitment

A commitment is a promise to do something; persons with commitment work harder, complete their duties well and is truly dedicated to their work: Cultivating the commitment of a principal is very important to ensure that she performs her duties well as the leader of the school. Besides, a principal as a supervisor must have superior ability at inspecting, visualizing and teaching plus experience at performing the duties of a teacher so that she can advise those under her how to improve their professional performance (Baker et al., 1988). Sutisna (2001) states “supervision is assistance to improve the teaching-learning situation and to help teachers to do their work better”. Techniques for school supervision that the head of Education Office can use through their principals include staff meetings, observations followed by one on one meeting and providing books and magazines about better performance as teachers and as principals (Henderson & Lampe, 1992; Grissom & Loeb, 2011). The duties that they have to do are as a financial administration for the school, students’ administration, as administration of education, as an organizing and coaching teachers, as a provider of facilities, media and equipment for learning (Muslem & Abbas, 2017; Muslem et al., 2017), and as a leader who manages school relations with the community (Kaplan, 2001; Murniati, 2008).

Some Previous Related Studies on School-Based Management

As has been mentioned previously that the use of SBM at senior high schools were to ensure that the process of improving teaching and learning program took place as had been planned by the head education office and the principals. Binakasih (2005) reported that professional attitude became the basic thing to improve the quality of principals’ performance. He also reported that the level of educational background also played an essential role in improving the quality of schools’ principals. Nasir & Abdullah (2004) reported that the accountability of managerial leadership also played a significant role in implementing school-based management. The commitment of senior high schools’ principals also was very vital in implementing school-based management (Gadong, 2004). He also stated that teaching supervision, principals’ task and responsibility, principals’ evaluation played an essential role in implementing school-based management. The ability of supervisors to guide the schools principals was also primary. Fatimah (2007) also reported that principals’ performance, school commitee, and supervisors contributed to implementing school-based management at senior high schools in Indonesia.


The method used in this study was descriptive qualitative in nature in which all data collected were described qualitatively through explanatory phenomenon found in the field. The data were collected through interview, observation, and documentation. The subjects of this study were three principals, three supervisors, and one the district head of Education Office of Pidie Jayah The purposive sampling technique was employed to select the subjects of the study. The focus of this study was on the strategies used to improve the strategic performance of SBM in the schools. We focused this study on senior high schools because these schools were catagorized as national standard schools in Indonesia. The national standard schools were Senior High Schools 1 and 2 in subdistrict of Bandar Baru, another one was senior high school of Bandar Dua subdistrict. The main instruments used for getting the data for the study were interviews, observations and documents analysis. The interview consisted of four main aspects namely, the programs that can improve the performance of the principals in implementing SBM strategy and of improving performance in senior high schools in Pidie Jaya, the strategies used to improve the performance of the senior high schools and their principals by implementing SBM in the senior high schools in Pidie Jaya, how can any improvements in the implementation of SBM by the principals in Pidie Jaya be evaluated, and the problems affect the implementation of improvements in performance by the principals implementing SBM in Pidie Jaya. The documents that had been utilized in this study were school management which covers; a one-year working school plan, a four-year working school plan, working school plan, supervising and evaluating, school leadership, and school information system. The document of teaching and learning program consisted of pre-activities and main activities that cover direct meeting, structured assignment, exploration, elaboration and confirmation. Besides, the other documents utilized were list of scores, daily test, formative and summative tests, moral and attitude test, analysis of daily test, and instrument of the test for each basic competence. The stakeholders engaged in this study were local Education Office of Aceh and local government of Aceh, school commitee (head master, teachers, students’ parents, public figure in society, and students).

Results and Discussions

Program for Improving the Performance of the Principals for Implementing SBM

This program is one of the first steps in the program to improve the performance of these schools: The principal’s position is very strategic for improving all aspects of the performance of management of education in senior high school. From the research, the three principals each initially prepared a work program to reach the goals of their school which covered three areas viz: (i) school management, (ii) teaching-learning and (iii) evaluation programs. The research showed that the three schools implemented their programs according to their plans except for their IT systems which were still not as good as possible due to lack of equipment. Similarly the three schools had not yet implemented SBM maximally due to inadequate facilities and equipment. The data from inteview (interviewee 1) with the head of education office in the region mentioned that the schools principals should be professional and competence in implementing SBM. Interviewee 2 the schools supervisor mentined that the commitment of schools principal to implement the SBM was significant. Interviewee 3 schools’ principals mentioned that the importance of mutual cooperation with each other played a primary role in implementing SMB.

Strategy for Improving Performance of Principals for Implementing SBM

This study was done at three different high schools with distinct principals, teachers and student populations so that the results could be checked by triangulation. The implementation of SBM at these three schools was generally good except that Bandar Dua 1 had not yet developed their vision, mission and aims; otherwise the management and education programs were all good. In their human resources all three schools empowered their teachers but only one school, Bandar Baru 1 had staff with experience in implementing SBM and none had professional development programs for their teachers although all guaranteed the security of their teachers. Thus the implementation of SBM in these schools by their principals is lacking as they do not have professional development programs for their teachers. The data from interview with the head of education office of the region, supervisors, and principals could be stated as follow: Interviewee 1 there were three strategies that should be done by the schools’ principals namely; school management, teaching and learning process, and evaluation in order to succeed in implemention of SMB. Interviewee 2 claimed that the engagment of supervisors was also the important strategy to implement the SBM. Interviewee 3 claimed that the implementation of SBM continuously gave the benefit for the schools. Besides, team work also played a vital role to implement SBM.

Evaluation of the Use of SBM for Improving the Performance of High Schools

The implementation of SBM, step by step and coordinated, must still be improved in all three schools. SBM is not only for intellectual development but also for social development in other words for economic and social improvements because SBM cannot be separated from the social conditions and problems surrounding the school. Good performance from the school depends on the people from both the school and the community contributing their abilities and motivation to the school: The bigger the contribution, the better the performance. Performance management must integrate the vision and mission of the school, the teachers and the community to communicate the targets and the values for SBM for the school. According to interviewee 1, stated that the evaluation should conducted regularly to ensure that the implementation of SBM went effectively. Interviewee 2 stated that evaluation should implemented continously. Interviewee 3 also mentioned that team work was a key to do evaluation.

Difficulties Found in Improving the Performance of the Principals through SBM

The major problem with the implementation of SBM was that sufficient funds were not available for materials, equipment and facilities needed to implement SBM properly. Besides, not all teachers run their duties in the process of teaching and learning as have been planned. Based on the interviewe with the subjects of the study in relation to the problem in implmenting SBM found that the limitation of budget, not all schools principals understand the concept SBM, and lack of schools’ facilities.

Programs for improving the principals’ performance implementing SBM in their high schools should start with the preparation of their vision, mission, and objectives for the school according to Yoetia (cited in Murniati, 2008). The mission must be able to inspire and be different from that of others. The principal, as the leader (of the school) must communicate, disseminate and work with teachers and the local people to build, maintain and develop the vision for the school which has been set, according to Komariah (cited in Siahaan et al., 2006), Then Wahjosumidjo (2010) has said: “A principal will be successful if he can understand the school as a complex, unique organism and he is capable of leading the school.” The results of the education program are determined by the performance of the principal.

SBM is a new paradigm aimed at increasing efficiency, quality and equity in education. The school is an educational institution to produce a new generation, ready and able, with a dynamic system which stimulates studying. Fattah (2004) has written that a school is not just a place for teachers and students to gather but is a complex interrelated system. Thus, according to Siahaan et al. (2006) in the framework of implementing SBM, the principal should have the ability to communicate and collaborate with his teachers and local people, possess insight and understand about the nature of teaching-learning, have understanding and ability to do situational analysis and plan for the future, have the ability to identify problems and needs associated with providing effective teaching learning at her school, and be able to visualize new directions for change and to take advantage of opportunities that arise to improve results from her school.

The implementation of SBM to support the efforts of the principals can be done by the head of the (district) Education Office. The success of the principal cannot be separated from the support he gets from the resources available. Hasibuan (2008) has said that the benefits of evaluation of the performance of a person include increasing the satisfaction of the person through acknowledgement of their (good) results and to get data to use to set future programs.

Limited funding is one factor that causes difficulties for the principals in implementing SBM since quality management of education requires satisfactory facilities, equipment and materials. Harun (2009) has said that excellent facilities and equipment will result in rewarding educational experiences. Results from the research also showed that it was of necessity for the principals to implement programs to follow-up good results from SBM and that the principals needed to spend more time motivating their teachers to develop their creativity since to implement SBM the most required need is to motivate the teachers since positive motivation will result in positively improved performances.


The objective implementation of SBM at senior high schools is to decentralize organization, management, and school management. Besides, the SBM is also meant to adjust schools’ facilities with the students’ needs. Also it is to transform the teaching and learning process oftimally. The principals should have a strong leadership in managing the schools, staff, and other schools’ communities. In the context of this reseaerch, it can be concluded that the program for improving the performance of principals to implement SBM at three high schools in Aceh affects educational output very much. Improving the program implementing SBM affects planning of management, teaching programs and programs for evaluating the results of teaching by the school development committee which includes the principal, the school supervisor, all the teachers and also some local leaders. Improvement of the performance of a principal in implementing SBM at her high school is an important way for the principal to improve her activity program. Continuous coaching of principals is needed to improve quality in all areas of education. Strong mutual team work with each other plays a vital role in implementing SMB.


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