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ERIC Number: EJ1032172
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
ISSN: ISSN-1363-2434
Interrogating Conceptions of Leadership: School Principals, Policy and Paradox
Starr, Karen E.
School Leadership & Management, v34 n3 p224-236 2014
Currently educational research literature demonstrates wide discussion and endorsement of "distributed" leadership while concurrently traditional, hegemonic forms prevail in practice. This article investigates understandings about educational leadership held by Australian school principals. The article describes the contradictory conceptions about educational leadership currently in circulation. It interrogates underlying assumptions and questions how both hegemonic and newer leadership conceptions and assumptions serve educational leaders. Data from principals around the country and across education systems reinforced the predominance of un-theorised or under-theorised notions about leadership, with similar assumptions found in important policy artefacts and practices. This article emerges from interviews with 100 principals focusing on their professional learning needs, which revealed interesting ideas, issues and dilemmas concerning "leadership". It fills a gap in research on distributed leadership by exploring contradictions inherent in policy, practice and understandings in this area. The article is structured into four sections. First, extant literature on this topic and the research are explained. Second, the article focuses on principals' conceptions about leadership and those inherent within important policy and practical artefacts. A discussion of the findings focuses on the discrepancy between theory and policy endorsement and the views of practitioners. Finally, the article canvasses the implications of the research.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A