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ERIC Number: EJ1196533
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0957-8234
Subversive Leadership and Power Tactics
Wang, Fei
Journal of Educational Administration, v56 n4 p398-413 2018
Purpose: Principals' leadership has become a subversive activity that is carried out strategically to challenge and disrupt the status quo and resist policies and practices that are counterproductive to their work. The purpose of this paper is to reveal subversive tactics principals use in pursuit of justice and equity in schools and identify challenges and risks associated with their subversive leadership practices. Power tactics were used as a conceptual framework to guide the analysis of subversive activities by school principals. Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative study focuses on 18 elementary and secondary school principals from six district school boards in the Metro Vancouver area who participated in the semi-structured interviews on their practices that epitomize different tactics in response to increasing demand and accountability. Findings: The power tactics identified in this study illuminate many of the dilemmas principals face in their work and demonstrate the various ways principals exercise their political acumen to "act strategically to determine which tactics to use, when, and with whom." In exercising ethics of subversion and critique, participants are more likely to use soft, rational, and bi/multilateral rather than hard, non-rational, and unilateral power tactics. Such tendency reveals their concern about causing relational harm and shows their strategic avoidance of direct confrontation. Research limitations/implications: Considering the limitations on the sample size and the research context, more research is needed to examine to what extent subversive practices are exercised and how they play out in different contexts. Originality/value: The study shows that leadership involves upholding morals and values, even if this means having to use subversive practices to ensure inclusive, equitable, and just outcomes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada