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ERIC Number: EJ793641
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0892-0206
Distributed Leadership through the Looking Glass
Harris, Alma; Spillane, James
Management in Education, v22 n1 p31-34 2008
Distributed leadership is an idea that is growing in popularity. There is widespread interest in the notion of distributing leadership although interpretations of the term vary. A distributed leadership perspective recognises that there are multiple leaders and that leadership activities are widely shared within and between organisations. A distributed model of leadership focuses upon the interactions, rather than the actions, of those in formal and informal leadership roles. It is primarily concerned with "leadership practice" and how leadership influences organisational and instructional improvement. A distributed perspective on leadership acknowledges the work of all individuals who contribute to leadership practice, whether or not they are formally designated or defined as leaders. Distributed leadership is also central to system reconfiguration and organisational redesign which necessitates lateral, flatter decision-making processes. Despite the growing enthusiasm for distributed leadership within the research community, it is clear people need to know much more about its effects and influences. Leithwood et al. (2004) suggest that there is an "urgent need to enrich the concept with systematic evidence". A number of research projects are currently underway that are gathering this systematic evidence. However, if distributed leadership is not to join the large pile of redundant leadership theories it must engage teachers, headteachers, support staff and other professionals. It must be put to the test of practice. This can only be achieved with the cooperation of those keen to explore a different world-view of leadership and with the enthusiasm to redesign and reconfigure schooling. Distributed leadership is not a panacea or a blueprint or a recipe. It is a way of getting under the skin of leadership practice, of seeing leadership practice differently and illuminating the possibilities for organisational transformation. This is not without its risks, as it inevitably means holding up the looking glass to schools and being prepared to abandon old leadership practices. For those genuinely seeking transformation and self-renewal, this is a risk well worth taking.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act