PurposeDistributed leadership has been reported in the literature as an effective management approach for educational organizations such as institutions of higher education. This study aims to investigate the role of distributed leadership in the promotion of sustainability in an Israeli college of teacher education.Design/methodology/approachBased on the Multi-Level Model of Leadership Practice in higher education, taken from Bolden et al. (2008a) and from Woods et al. (2004), the authors investigated how the characteristics of distributed leadership are expressed in three central organization-wide structures in the college (a student group, the green council and a professional development program). They also explored in what ways aspects of distributed leadership promote sustainability-oriented activities on campus. They used a deductive and inductive interpretive approach in this case study.FindingsThe authors found three organization-level processes that are based on the principles of distributed leadership and that promote sustainability on campus: distributed leadership enables change in the organization’s internal culture with respect to mainstreaming sustainability; distributed leadership encourages collaboration between the entire campus population and between different departments and distributed leadership on campus enables the development of diverse “bottom-up” and “top-down” structures in the organization.Originality/valueWhile the study’s findings indicated several challenges regarding the implementation of distributed leadership in the organization, they ultimately support the idea that distributed leadership may contribute to the long-term, organization-wide implementation of sustainability in higher education institutes. Therefore, the authors recommend that institutions that are willing to promote sustainability adopt distributed leadership as their major management approach.
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 5, 2018
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