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Forging the links between distributed leadership and educational outcomes

Forging the links between distributed leadership and educational outcomes Purpose – Several arguments have been put forward about why distributed leadership in schools should contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning. This paper aims to investigate the extent to which conceptual and empirical research in the field is aligned to this goal. Design/methodology/approach – The discussion of alignment was structured around two differing and overlapping conceptions of distributed leadership. The first conception examines the distribution of the leadership of those tasks designated by researchers as leadership tasks. The second conception examines the distribution of influence processes. Findings – The paper finds that the first conception has the advantage of giving leadership educational content by embedding it in the tasks and interactions that constitute educational work. The selected leadership tasks are typically not specified, however, in ways that discriminate the qualities required to make a positive difference to student outcomes. The knowledge base needed to make such discrimination is found in outcomes‐linked research on the selected educational tasks rather than in research on generic leadership and organisational theory. There is also little attention to the influence processes that are at the heart of leadership. While the second approach pays more attention to these influence processes, its generic treatment of leadership limits the possibility of finding and forging stronger links to student outcomes. Originality/value – The paper highlights that research which integrates both concepts of distributed leadership, in suitably modified form, is likely to be a productive way of making stronger links between distributed leadership and student outcomes. The linkage requires more explicit use of the evidence base on the improvement of teaching and learning. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Educational Administration Emerald Publishing

Forging the links between distributed leadership and educational outcomes

Journal of Educational Administration , Volume 46 (2): 16 – Mar 21, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0957-8234
DOI
10.1108/09578230810863299
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Several arguments have been put forward about why distributed leadership in schools should contribute to the improvement of teaching and learning. This paper aims to investigate the extent to which conceptual and empirical research in the field is aligned to this goal. Design/methodology/approach – The discussion of alignment was structured around two differing and overlapping conceptions of distributed leadership. The first conception examines the distribution of the leadership of those tasks designated by researchers as leadership tasks. The second conception examines the distribution of influence processes. Findings – The paper finds that the first conception has the advantage of giving leadership educational content by embedding it in the tasks and interactions that constitute educational work. The selected leadership tasks are typically not specified, however, in ways that discriminate the qualities required to make a positive difference to student outcomes. The knowledge base needed to make such discrimination is found in outcomes‐linked research on the selected educational tasks rather than in research on generic leadership and organisational theory. There is also little attention to the influence processes that are at the heart of leadership. While the second approach pays more attention to these influence processes, its generic treatment of leadership limits the possibility of finding and forging stronger links to student outcomes. Originality/value – The paper highlights that research which integrates both concepts of distributed leadership, in suitably modified form, is likely to be a productive way of making stronger links between distributed leadership and student outcomes. The linkage requires more explicit use of the evidence base on the improvement of teaching and learning.

Journal

Journal of Educational AdministrationEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 21, 2008

Keywords: Distributive control; Leadership; Influence; Schools; Quality improvement

References