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Leadership and Power Theories in School Organization

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Published: 5th Oct 2021

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Schools organizations are involved into reform, change, and improvement efforts and process stemming from a desire for renewal, gaps in performance results, advancements in knowledge, mandates, and other societal deficits where responsibility has been delegated to schools (Evans, 1996). According to Fullan (2000) and Mai (2004) the problem for school organizations seeking to effectively improve or change centers on what behaviors, strategies, or structures contribute positively to organizational learning and renewal in a way the produces the capacity for sustainability in order to make a positive difference for students.

Foster (2001) discussed that while the majority of past theories on school leadership have focused upon the capabilities of one individual, this accepted belief of a solitary leader is now being challenged as traditional models of leadership and organizational change are being analyzed. Thus, instead of viewing leadership as a role for one person, leadership is now being redefined as a practice shared among many individuals (Harris, 2003). Distributed leadership involved with creating joint responsibility for leadership activities. Interesting is the focus on shared learning and developing leadership capabilities. Shared leadership is used as synonym for democratic leadership, and collaborative leadership. Practitioners use it to create effective school leadership, or improving schools, or to study leadership.

Building leadership capacity means broad-based, skillful involvement in the work of leadership. There is a need of significant number of skillful teacher leaders who understood the shared vision in the school, and are able to carry it out. Also the work involves reflection, inquiry, conversations and focused action - professional behaviors that are an integral part of daily work. Understandings and skillfulness involve more than the knowledge of an innovation. The skillfulness focused is those skills of leadership that allow other teachers to capture the imagination of their colleagues, enable them to negotiate real changes in schools and negotiate any conflicts that arise in organization (Harris and Lamber, 2003). In order to build leadership capacity for school improvement the U.K. Open University suggested the following main characteristics: Surface, clarity and define values, beliefs, assumptions, perceptions and experiences ; inquire into practice; construct meaning and knowledge; frame action and develop implementation plans.

The Cyprus Educational System is open to a wide range of influences, which create the need for change and improvement. The strategy of the Ministry of Education in Cyprus is to proceed with the Educational Reform Program in order to fully achieve the goal of an all inclusive, democratic and human school, which embraces all students equally and provides education to each and every pupil according to his/her needs. Educational Reform was launched in January 2005, following a report by a Committee of seven academics which identified the weaknesses of Cyprus Educational System and the areas in need of reform. UNESCO's Report at the end of 90's come to the summarized conclusion that “The administrative system of governing and monitoring of the Ministry of Education and Culture remains strictly centralized, bureaucratic and inflexible.” The main goal is to restructuring of Ministry of Education and Culture by modernize the organizational structure for all the departments.

School Reform, Change and Improvement

A lot of efforts about improving education have become national and international in scope, beginning in 1983 in USA with “A Nation at Risk” and recently “No Child Left Behind” federal legislation, (2001). Elmore (2002) explains that is not enough to focus solely on these new reform standards requirements. Continuing school improvement for all students' achievement will need to develop and sustain a school climate where everyone is committed to learning and everyone is accountable for pupil achievement. Sheppard (2003) proposed that school leadership is critical for improving pupil achievement. Leithwood and Riehl (2003) according to their research findings concluded that leadership has a significant effect on student learning, curriculum and teacher instruction. Some researchers like Hallinger and Heck(1998) suggest that school survival today is depending of the effective leadership that can guide schools through the challenges of improving student achievement.

Fullan (2001), Lunenburg and Ornstein (2004) support that effective leadership at all levels of the educational system is critical. Also organizations cannot flourish on the actions of the top leaders alone. They suggested that schools need many leaders at many levels. Neuman and Simmons (2000) discussed that leadership is the job of the whole educational community, and learning becomes the focus and primary value for every member. Whilst the quality of teaching strongly influences levels of pupil motivation and achievement, it has been consistently argued that the quality of leadership matters in defining the motivation of teachers and the quality of teaching in the classroom (Fullan, 2001; Sergiovanni, 2001)

Recent studies of effective leadership have described that authority to lead can be dispersed within the school in between and among people (MacBeath, 1998; Day, Harris and Hadfield, 200; Harris, 2002). Leadership is actually separated from person, role and status and is primarily concerned with the relationships and the connections among individuals within a school. Distributed, shared or teacher leadership is well developed and grounded in research evidence. Distributed Leadership implies a redistribution of power and re-alignment of authority within the school. Main goal is the creation of the conditions in which people work together and learn together. By giving authority to teachers and empowering them to lead leadership is emergent rather than as a fixed phenomenon.

Literature review about Leadership consists of a number of leadership theories, styles and approaches. The most of these theories on school leadership have focused on individual capabilities. Recently this believes are challenged because of organizational changes and reform in our educational system. Leadership is now being re-defined as a practice distributed among many individuals (Harris, 2003).

I believe that today the concept of distributed leadership is receiving much attention and growing empirical support (Spillane, 2006). The focus is oriented not upon the characteristics of the leader but upon creating the climate for shared learning and developing leadership capabilities. Spillane and Diamond (2007) discussed that distributed leadership is used as a synonym for democratic leadership, shared leadership, and collaborative leadership. In many cases distributed leadership is used to create effective school leadership, others use it for improving schools, and some for leadership research.

In order to contribute to the necessary transformation of our schools, school improvement demands' learning that is encourages lifelong personal and social experience. The teacher needs to feel that not only can she/he believe in school improvement, but that she/he is making her/him own contribution, and is involved in the improvement process. Improvement is something no-one would want to avoid, like good food. We argue that school improvement must be related to the re-examination of the purposes of schools in the future. The globalization of economic activity has transcended national boundaries and has created unprecedented social relations mediated through global economic practices. School improvement strategies need to move away from organizational issues and take more account of the voices of those most involved - the young people themselves as well as their teachers.

Today in many countries like USA schools and states emphasize on school reform and improvement by consider those factors that influence the implementation and sustainability of improvement efforts (Sergiovanni, 2006; Hall and Hord, 2006). According to the writers school improvement initiatives demand resources like additional personnel, time, money, staff development, instruments and space. For example Sergiovanni (2006) suggested that schools must institutionalize the allotment of resources to provide for the longevity of the school improvement initiative.

Another main resource element necessary for school system is the school culture. School culture influences the degree to which an improvement initiative is successfully implemented (Jazzar & Algozzine, 2006).

Leadership Practices of Effective Head

Fullan (2003) examined that principals are often the key to school improvement efforts and also he identified barriers to improvement often noted by school heads. It is important when school improvement and reform initiative is implemented from the state level, building managers must be able to encourage and motivate their staff to successfully implement the initiative. (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, and Wahlstron, 2004). School head is a key element for school improvement efforts regardless of system - imposed barriers such as not clearly identifying the head's responsibilities and lack of leadership training provided for school principals.

Most important step for improvement implementation in schools is the creations of supporting culture environment for change. Heads need to establish such cultures in the following situations:

  1. In developing of policies and procedures which facilitate the improvement process.
  2. By establishment of patterns so that individuals can work together as they strive for improvement.
  3. By focusing on collaborative relationships with numbers of staff and other administrators.
  4. By teacher development and learning activities focused on the improvement initiative.
  5. By assessment of the procedures in order to evaluate and monitor improvement sequences of actions.
  6. By discussing any success according the improvement implementation.
  7. By motivate staff members for their success as they engage in improvement.

The literature on effective leadership emphasize on those essential characteristics for leading school improvement. Especially Kouzes and Posner (2002a) have conducted research on the practices and skill of effective leaders by identified five practices and ten corresponding commitments that all leaders demonstrate. Kouzes and Posner (2000) practices are presented by Balcerek (1999, p.4) in a table of leadership model.

Ten Commitments of Leadership



Model the Way


Find your voice by clarifying your personal values


Set the example by aligning actions with shared values

Inspire a Shared Vision


Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities


Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations

Challenge the Process


Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow, and improve.


Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.

Enable Others to Act


Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.


Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion

Encourage the Heart


Regognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.


Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community

Leadership Capacity in School Organization

Today teachers need initiatives to develop, learn, practice, evaluate, and debate in order to successfully change practice necessitating supporting leadership for change (Hargreaves and Fink, 2004). Change leaders focus on the development of teacher's knowledge, skill and learning within a professional community and worked on changing the content in order to create new settings conducive to learning and share (Fullan, 2000b).

In a school organization, the formal role of the leader was typically the head, but successful leaders in the leadership of change realized that sustainability of improvement was found in collective learning and the development of leadership capacity within colleagues of the school (Lambert, 2005a). Sergiovanni (2005) emphasize on head responsibility on serving as a leader of change by building and cultivating the leadership capacity of others in school. It is important for successful heads to focus on building leadership capacity in a number of good leaders within the school organization who could sustain improvement. By establishing the conditions for developing the skills, knowledge, and abilities of others during the change process, the leader enriched the school's efforts for renewal and advanced the improvement process (Mai, 2004). Effective school heads during change envisioned an expanded view of leadership in order to sustain meaningful long lasting changes.

The school change process support that leadership was not viewed as the individual role, but rather as an organizational concept that leads to school improvement. Leadership is found within the culture of a school organization that promoted the advancement of the capabilities of many members to lead. Lambert, (2003) described that leadership accepted collective responsibility for school improvement and leadership capacity was realized when a school staff is participate in dialogue, and reflection to achieve student performance goals.

Leadership capacity support schools in moving beyond the implementation phase of change towards sustainable improvement. Teacher's leadership and effective leaders plan for sustainable leadership focus on culture of initiative and opportunity within the school (Hargreaves and Fink, 2003). Leadership capacity provides others with opportunities, resources, training, and support structures for collective learning with accountability. Leadership capacity is about learning communities promoting leadership for all participants share and understood the contributions made by each member toward the school purpose (Lambert, 2005b).

Theories of Leadership

Leadership historically has been defined in different ways by various writers on leadership. Authors who write about leaders emphasize on personal skills and characteristics of individual in specific roles within the organization. Some others authors focus on leadership by determining functions, which performed by person in the organization. Leithwood et al (1999) and Yukl (2002) agreed that some definitions about leadership are more useful than others, but there is no complete definition. Harris (2002) and Leithwood (2001) discussed distributed leadership as an alternative to traditional leadership models. According to Owava and Bosset (1997) leadership flows through the networks of roles that comprise organizations and is based on the deployment of resources that are distributed across the network of roles, with different roles having access to different levels and types of resources.

Most of the theories included their meaning in key words like “followers”, “authority”, and “decision making”. Measures of personality have been shown to correlate with ratings of leadership effectiveness. Leadership exists within a single person and a situation. Leaders are also involved in managing the culture by establishing strategic direction, communicating that direction and defining the organizational vision and values.

The National College for School Leadership (NCSL, U.K) in 2003 identified eight models of leadership: Instructional, transformational, moral, participative, managerial, post-modern, interpersonal, and contingency leadership (Bush and Glover, 2003).

Successful leadership is when the influence brings about the behavior and results that were intended by the leader. Effective leadership is when successful leadership results in functional behavior and the achievement of group goals. Knowledge, personal qualities or charisma of the leader and the manner in which authority is exercised are variables for leadership. Elements that made leaders successful in the twentieth century may not be the same elements needed in the future. Leadership needs to be continually studied and investigated in order to be more effective and successful. Yukl (2006) described that leadership effectiveness is differ among researchers based upon the researcher's definition of leadership.

Self-Evident Theoretical Approach

The “Great Man Approach” is the first theory of leadership, also called “Self-Evident Theory”. Glasman and Glasman (1997) identified this theory, which assumed that leaders are born and not made and that instinct is more important than training. The criteria for selecting leadership characteristics in this model are still confusing and unclear.

Trait Theory

Stogdill (1948) conducted a meta-analysis of 124 empirical studies between 1904 and 1947. By using correlation statistics, he compared specified traits of successful leaders with those of unsuccessful leaders to define if those traits were prerequisites for effective leadership. He concluded that leadership could not be explained simply in terms of an individual or group; rather, it must take into account the interaction of the leader's traits with situational variables. The review failed to find evidence a person must possess a particular set of traits to become a successful leader, which is the basic assertion of the trait approach.

Yukl (2006) cited further research supporting Stogdill's findings by claiming the reason for the lack of evidence linking traits to leadership success was due to poor research methods. Trait theory was based on the assumption that individuals possessed certain physical characteristics, personality traits, and intellectual abilities that made them natural leaders.

Behavior Theory

This theoretical approach analyzes leadership behaviors and how they correlate between them. The emphasis was shifted from investigating what effective leaders are, to investigating what effective leaders do (Lunenburg and Ornstein, 2004; Yukl, 2006). By the 1950's behaviorist theory assumed that leadership behaviors exercised in one situation did not necessarily transfer to other situations. Yukl discussed that behavior research has concentrated on two categories: 1) examination of leadership activities and duties and 2) examination of effective leadership behaviors.

Since 1939 three Universities were involved in research of f leadership behavior. At the University of Iowa researchers identified three styles of leadership: democratic, authoritarian, and laissez-faire connecting with leader's decision-making. Those three leadership styles are still common place in the literature and discussion among practitioners in the field of educational leadership (Razik and Swanson, 1995).

Also at the University of Ohio Fleishan (1953) developed questionnaire to measure how often a leader used these behaviors sorting by categories. A questionnaire composed of 150 items was completed by samples of civilian and military individuals to describe the behavior of their leaders. The study identified two dimensions of leadership: 1) consideration and 2) the ability to initiate structure (Mouton and Blake, 1984; Stogdill and Coons, 1957).

Consideration was defined as the level to which a leader exhibits expressions of trust, respect, warmth, support, and concern for the welfare of subordinates (Lunenburg and Ornstein, 2004, p.150). Initiating structures was defined as the level to which a leader concentrates on organizational performance goals, organizes / defines tasks, establishes channels of communication, develops relationships with subordinates, and evaluates work performance (Razik and Swanson, 1995, p.42). The two categories were independent of one another. No correlation was found between a leader's uses of one type of categorical behavior with that same leader's utilization of the other type of categorical behavior. The University of Michigan (Likert, 1967) attempted to identify the correlation between a leader's behavior, group process, and group performance. Leadership studies concluded that effective leaders are both task- and relationship-oriented (Razik and Swanson, 1995).

Lunenburg and Ornstein (2004) have a different opinion with previews writers because they have not considered the effects of situational factors like differences in tasks completed, of the group, and differences in the environment. These issues are connected to the actions that must be performed by the leader and consequently on the appropriate leadership behavior to be used in the given situation.

According to the Ohio and Michigan studies the initiating structure is similar to task-oriented behaviors, and consideration is similar to relation-oriented behaviors. Important role of teachers, counselors, and other school staff exercising leadership roles are distinctly different from the traditional leadership role of the head.

The questionnaires from Ohio State University are modified and have been used by different researchers in many survey studies. According to that research evidence the results were not satisfied for most criteria of leadership effectiveness (Bass, 1990; Fisher and Edwards, 1998; Yukl, 2006).

The findings were inconsistent for the relationship between consideration and subordinate performance. Research revealed subordinates are more satisfied with a leader who is at least moderately considerate. Especially between 50's and 80's a huge amount of studies about effective leadership behaviors are concluded with effective leadership connecting with school goals and concern for relationships.

Situational Theory

Yukl (2006) argued that situational approach covers the social characteristics of the organizations and how they influence the type of leadership exhibited. Main important for this theory is that distinguishing characteristics of the organizational members are more important to leadership than personal traits (Glasman and Glasman, 1997; Lipham, 1973; Wildavsky, 1985). Yukl explained that there are many variables like the nature of the work performed, the type of the organization, and the features of the organization's peripheral elements.

Studies for situational approach have been divided into two subcategories. According to the first subcategory leadership processes are compared in various types of managerial positions, organizations, and cultures. The second type of research emphasizes on leadership effectiveness by specific various aspects of the situation that have a bearing on the leaders' attributes. Those approaches concerning aspects of leadership applying to some situations, but not others, are called contingency theories.

Contingency Theory

Contingency approaches specify the situational elements that describe the relationship among leader's traits, behaviors, and performance criteria. Contingency approaches include four sets of concepts: traits of leaders, characteristics of the situation, behaviors of the leader, and effectiveness of the leader. Lunenburg and Ornstein (2004) described that contingency theory it depends on the interaction of the leader's personal traits, behavior, and factors in the leadership situation. Fielder (1967) argued that leaders could improve their effectiveness by modifying the situation to match their style of leadership. During his study discovered important interactions, between leadership styles and situational variables. Fielder suggested that leaders could improve their effectiveness by modifying the situation to suit their style of leadership.

Four contingency approaches of leadership are reviewed: The LPC Contingency Theory, Path-Goal Contingency Theory, Situational Leadership Contingency Theory, and Leadership Substitutes

LPC Contingency Theory: Fiedler (1967) generalized the LPC contingency theory to analyze leadership through examination of the situation, the organizational members, and its tasks. The LPC contingency theory describes how the situation affects the relationship between leadership effectiveness and a trait measure defined the least preferred coworker (LPC) score. LPC score is defined by asking a leader to select one past or present coworker with whom the leader could work least well, and rate this person on a scale of varying adjectives such as friendly or unfriendly and efficient or inefficient. The total of the ratings on these bipolar adjectives scales is the leader's PLC score. The score identifying if the leader behavior are more relationship or task motivated.

Path-Goal Theory: House (1971) emphasized on the leader's ability to motivate subordinates to reach goals, the rewards associated with reaching goals, and the importance of the goal. House proposed that leaders need to examine the situational variables and then apply one of the four leadership styles (supporting, participative, directive, or achievement oriented), the one that was more close to the situation. Bolman and Deal (1991) and Golman et al., 2002 discover that effective leaders have a repertoire of styles and the leader's effectiveness is based on his/her ability to frame the situation so that he/she can use the style most suitable for the task in the context.

House (1996) reconstructed this theory by modernizing the conceptions of subordinate motivation and abilities, and task characteristics as situational elements, and expanded the outcomes to include subordinate satisfaction and work unit effectiveness, but not leader traits. To be effective, leaders engage in behaviors that add to the subordinate's environment in order to increase subordinates satisfaction and work effectiveness.

House and Mitchell (1974) described another leadership behavior, participative leadership. Participative leadership seeks advice from organizational members and considers their opinions and suggestions in the decision making process. Yukl (2006) described that participative leadership involves various decision making processes allowing other members of staff, besides the leader, some influence over the decision. Participative leadership used to encourage democratic principles or to enhance effectiveness of the organization.

Leithwood and Duke (1999) suggested another reason for generalizing participative leadership in schools, the site-based management (SBM) approaches. Access to SBM for decision making is given to any legitimate stakeholder in the school based on their expert knowledge, their democratic right to choose, and their critical role in implementing decisions.

Murphy and Beck (1995) suggested SBM metamorphosis takes one of three forms; administrative-controlled SBM, professional-controlled SBM, and community-controlled SBM. Main important goal for administrative-controlled SBM is to pass authority to the local school administrators to make decisions on the budget, personnel, and curriculum for the best use of resources for the students' benefit.

Teacher-controlled SBM is generalized to make improvement in determining how money will be spent, selection of the curriculum, and choosing personnel. Educators participation in the decision making process will give them ownership in the decisions during implementation and leads to improved effectiveness (Clune and White, 1998; David, 1989).

Community controlled SBM are concerning with the accountability of parents and the community. Parents and other community members have a majority of the input when deciding upon the curriculum so it will reflect their values. Leithwood and Duke (1999) stated an equal participation SBM does exist in the form of side councils that have decision-making power. Everyone works together to make the best school decisions possible.

Situational Leadership Contingency Theory: According to Hershey and Blanchard (1977) the level of the worker's maturity determines the task and relationship behavior for the leader. A worker of high maturity has both the ability and confidence to do a task, whereas a worker of low maturity lacks ability and self-confidence. At the other side Barrow (1977) believed maturity is a combination of many elements and the procedure used to weight and combine them was questionable. Yukl (2006) underlined Hershey and Blanchard's theory made positive highlights of leaders to be adaptive and flexible in their behavior. Situational leadership theory emphasizes on leaders to be conscious of opportunities to increase the skills and confidence of workers.

Leadership Substitutes Contingency Theory: The theory according to Kerr and Jermier (1978) makes a distinction between substitutes and neutralizers, which are two different kinds of situational variables. Substitutes include all the characteristics of the worker like task, or organization ensuring the worker will clearly realize their roles, know how to do the work, be highly motivated, and have work satisfaction. Examples of substitutes would be the exceptional ability of a worker, an intrinsically satisfying task, and a cohesive work group within the organization. Usually when workers have prior experience, they already have acquired t he skills and knowledge to accomplish their tasks. If workers are motivated by their work because is according to their interests, the leader may not need to motivate them.

Neutralizers are any characteristics of the organization that block a leader from acting in a specific way or that cancel the results of the leader's actions. Example is the lack of interest of workers toward rewards. In many situations there so many neutralizers that it is difficult for a leader to succeed. There are two ways to make the situation more favorable for the leader either remove the neutralizers or make the leadership less important by increasing substitutes. According to Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Ahearne, and Bommer (1995) there is a low level of relationship between the leader and other members motivation of the organization affected by situation variables. Researches concerning substitute leadership theory based on some aspects of the theory, but other aspects have not been supported (Howel & Dorfman, 1986; Pitner, 1986; Podsakoff, Niehoff, MacKenzie, & Williams, 1993; Yukl, 2006).

Yukl (2006) discussed that the main contribution of substitute's theory is to offer a different perspective on leadership by focus on leadership processes in groups and organizations. Main limitation of contingency theories is the lack of consideration of leadership processes that transform the way followers view themselves and their work.

School Effectiveness Research

School effectiveness and the related area of school improvement have been topics for an increasing body of academic research since the 1960s. School effectiveness research had its origins in the mid-1960s and early 1970s when a prevalent view in the research community, especially with regard to equality of opportunity, was that schools had little influence on children's achievement that was independent of background and social context. In the late 1970s in the United States, Edmonds and, in the United Kingdom, Rutter responded by embarking on what was to emerge as the first phase of school effectiveness research. The two studies run independently by Edmonds and Rutter set out to investigate whether schools in their national contexts showed any effects when account was taken of the differences in their student populations. Their findings, arrived at independently, were similar: schools do make a small but highly significant difference to the life chances of their students. School effectiveness research studies undertaken during the 1980s focused on improving the methodology and replicating the research designs with pupils of different ages and in different settings.

There has been, in the past decade, an improvement in the analysis of information gathered from schools by researchers. Usually, this information comes from the students themselves or from the class teachers or school principals. Early analyses simply used the school as the unit of analysis and examined relationships between school means. Other studies used the individual student as the unit of analysis but assigned values of school level variables to each student in the school. This method does not take into account the ‘clustering' effect that measuring similar students can have. These new methods involving multilevel modelling are now widely applied in educational and social research and have resulted in some rethinking of the conclusions of earlier research. Coleman (as cited in Glickman, Gordon, & Ross- Gordon, 1998) concluded that the strongest variable accounting for student achievement was parents' socio-economic class.

Glickman et. Al. (1998) interpreted these results to mean that schools made little difference in student achievement. Silberman (1971) studied classroom practices across the country suggested that schools were in effective in improving school achievement. Edmonds (1979) focused on individual or a small number of schools. He argued that were effective schools and schools systems regardless of social and economic backgrounds. He identified strong administrative leadership, school climate conductive to learning, and high expectations for student achievement as some of the important features of effective schools. Purkey & Smith (1983) conducted a meta-analysis of the research and literature that existed on effective schools suggested that effective schools were characterized by strong leadership from administration or a group of teachers.

Effectiveness can be regarded as the extent to which a set of goals is achieved and is a reflection of something being done well in an organisation or by an individual. There are other ways to define effectiveness apart from this goal-achievement model. The effectiveness of an organisation like a school could be gauged from the level of satisfaction of the people associated with it, or by a measure of the operation of its internal processes and procedures - for example, communication within the school, or between the school and parents.

Value Adding: A further concept of school effectiveness is to consider the degree to which schools can add value to the achievement of the students over and above the progress or improvement that might be expected given the characteristics of the intake of the student body. The most effective schools are those where student outcomes exceed expectations. More recently, the notion of ‘value added research' has come into focus. This involves comparing school performance after taking into consideration contextual factors in a school, such as the socioeconomic status of the students. Multilevel analysis facilitates this process. (These techniques allow for analysis which examines, simultaneously, differences within schools and differences between schools. This allows for both school level and individual level effects to be investigated and looks at students in schools as part of a multilevel structure. Thus, differences between classes, year groups and schools can be recognised rather than aggregated arbitrarily).

Magnitude of school effects: The amount of variance in student performance related to school experiences can be gauged by calculating the amount of variance in performance between schools compared to the total amount of variance in performance.

Characteristics of Effective Schools: These factors should not be viewed as independent factors because there are obvious links between them. The factors with the strongest impact on student learning are:

  • classroom management,
  • meta-cognitive strategies,
  • cognitive strategies,
  • home environment,
  • students and teachers social interactions.

Although other factors like curriculum design and delivery, classroom climate, school and classroom organisation have a lesser effect.

Effective School Leadership

Effective leadership in improving schools was identified in different studies. Ofsted, (2000); Gray, (2000); and Reynolds et al., (2001). Effective leadership was identified as a common characteristic of the improving schools. Ofsted discussed that effective schools are connected with the quality of their leadership and management. He argued that the personalities, the management structure and the school contexts are different, but some common features emerge strongly. By exanimate those common features we lead to the conclusion that many features are related to the leadership skills and attributes of the principal.

Leadership in more effective schools is characterized by the following:

  • Inspirational
  • Committed to the school and the local community
  • Able to create belief in the possibility of success
  • Consistent
  • Teamwork

According to literature review there is need to distinguish between leadership styles and leadership strategies. Leadership styles most frequently identified in the literature are:

Shared leadership: occurs with the head working with one or two deputies' teachers. (Johnson and Ledbetter, 1993; Carlson et al. 1999).

Distributed leadership: or distributive leadership stresses the need to spread leadership much wider throughout the school in the notion of teacher as a leader. (Franey, 2002; Cutler, 1998; Carter and Jackson, 2002).

Instructional leadership: has been in use in the US for at least 30 years. It is about the need for principal to focus on teaching and learning, as opposed to school building management. (Hopkins, 2001; Harris, 2002; Sanders, 1999).

Charismatic leadership: is used in business leadership, but is used occasionally in schools where it normally refers to a small number of leaders who are particularly ‘charismatic'.( Stark, 1998)

Transformational and Transactional leadership: Transformational leadership emphasizes change, whereas Transactional leadership emphasizes stability. Charismatic and Transformational leadership contained many similarities.(Hopkins, 2001; Harris, 2002; Reynolds et al., 2001). Charismatic and Transformational leadership related to the personality characteristics of the leader, shared and distributed leadership refer to the leader's behavior. Instructional leadership refer to the values, approaches, and actions in improving curriculum, learning and teaching quality.

Effective leadership was commonly identified as a characteristic of improving schools in urban and challenging contexts. The leadership styles most frequently identified in the literature we reviewed were: shared leadership; distributed leadership; instructional leadership; transformational or transactional leadership; and charismatic leadership.

Mortimore, Sammons, Stoll, Lewis, and Ecob (1988) created a four year longitudinal study of 50 elementary schools in London's city and found that principals' leadership was crucial to school's effectiveness. Leithwood & Montgomery (1982 and DeBevoise (1984) focused principals' involvement with the instructional program as the main difference between more effective and less effective schools. Cotton (2003) analyzed principals' behaviours in high-achieving schools in the following: develop vision and goals focused on students learning, gain school wide commitment to clear learning goals, promote these qualities throughout their schools and communities, provide instructional improvement activities, monitor classroom instruction and give feedback, and involved staff and community members into decision-making about school operations.

Duke and Leithwood (1994) focused in their research on literature review on leadership connecting to student achievement, and concluded that five categories of school leadership dominated contemporary writing: instructional, transformational, participative, contingency, and managerial leadership. According to Lunenburg and Ornstein (2004) there are the following definitions:

Instructional leadership: focused on the behaviour of teachers because of their activities affecting the growth of students.

Transformational leadership: focused on commitments and capacities of the organizational members.

Moral leadership: focused on the values and ethics of the leadership.

Participative leadership: focused on decision-making process of the group. There are variously names: group, shared, or teacher leadership.

Contingency leadership: focused on how leaders responded to a specific organizational circumstances or problems.

Managerial leadership: focused on the functions, issues, or behaviours of the leader connecting to the organization operations.

Instructional leadership in the late 1980's and early 1990's emphasized on transformational leadership aspects which are part of instructional leadership. Transformational leadership became a form of instructional leadership that lead to systematic school change in teaching and learning. Literature review on instructional leadership between 1980 and 1995 investigated by Halliger and Heck (1998) suggested that instructional leadership consisted of defining the school's mission, managing the instructional program, and promoting school climate.

Effective principals are usually those who are active, are good initiators and also protective of the school from unhelpful external influences. Research has shown that principals who can share leadership responsibilities and involve teachers in decision-making processes will build a sense of unity in their senior management team and amongst their staff, which will contribute positively to school effectiveness. Another factor regarding effective leadership in schools is the notion that the principal is not just a senior administrator, but is an educational and instructional leader with expertise in teaching and learning. The principal should have knowledge and experience of what happens in the classroom, should know and be able to suggest teaching strategies and assessment procedures. It has also been found that leadership support is critically important in establishing a positive work environment for teachers and thus maintaining a high level of morale. It appears that a good leader is neither too autocratic, nor too democratic and can make clear decisions when needed, but involve others in the decision making process appropriately.

Power - Influence Approaches

In the old view, power is the capacity to influence, to produce intended effects in others' attitudes and behaviors, based on various kinds of resources. It confuses power over people with power through people. There are three processes of power in the new view - persuasion, authority, and coercion. Persuasion directly reflects shared social identity, authority is leadership legitimated by in-group norms, values and structure and the coercion of people against their will requires that there be coercive agents over whom the leader has influence and authority. The new view of the dynamics of leadership it assumes that power reflects group identity and that all self-categorizing is relational and dynamic, varying with social comparisons within and between groups, the specific social context, and the collective goals, values and beliefs of groups members.

Influence is the action or force by an individual that modifies another person's activity or behavior. Power is the force behind influence to make effective. There are at least five broad sources of power: resource, position, expert, personal and negative power.

This theory investigates leadership effectiveness according to the amount and type of power possessed by a leader and how power is exercised. According to Mintzberg, (1983) and Pfeffer, (1992) the concept of power-influence has been utilized to examine how people are able to influence each other in organizations. The ability of one individual to influence another individual is call power. French and Raven (1959) developed taxonomy to classify different types of power according to their source. Later in 1960's Bass (1960) and Etzioni (1991) examined power sources through the lenses of positional power and personal power.

Power Taxonomy Theory

According to French and Raven's (1959) taxonomy includes five different types of power:

Reward power: is the perception by an intended person that another individual controls important resources and rewards desired by the intended person.

Coercive power: is the ability of the leader to manage punishment to subordinates.

Legitimate power: is exercised by those who have control over work activities.

Expert power: is the ability to influence others due to possession of exclusive knowledge about the best way to complete an issue or resolve a problem

Referent power: is about the individual who is admired by people who are loyal to the individual and desire to please the individual.

Another important source of power discussed by Pettigrew (1972) is the control over information. The discussion was about information power involves both the ability to access information and the control over the distribution of information to others. In middle 60s Cartwright suggested a forth type of power, ecological power. Ecological power is the ability to control the work environment, technology, and organization of the work. Schein, (1992) discussed that by establishing a organizational culture of shared norms, values, and beliefs, behavior can be influenced by employees' perception of opportunities and constraints.

Position and Personal Power Theory

Yukl and Falbe (1991) described two types of power independent from one another. Position power is about influence resulting from legitimate authority, control over resources and rewards, control over punishments, control over information, and control over the physical work environment. Personal power is about defined as influence obtained from expert skills at a task and influence based on loyalty and friendship. Yukl (2006) described that sometimes is difficult to distinguish between position and personal power because they interact in a complicated ways.

Social Exchange Theory

Exchange theories are connected with behavioral psychology and make use of the concepts of rewards and costs (from economics).According to Thibaut and Kelley (1959) rewards are defined as the pleasures, satisfactions, and gratifications a person enjoys from participating in the relationship. Rewards and resources are connecting to the benefits exchange in social relationships.

Foa and Foa (1980) discussed that resources are materials or symbolic, that can be transmitted through interpersonal behavior and give one person the capacity to reward another (Emerson, 1976). Blau (1964) suggested that the costs of social exchange relationship can involve punishments experienced, the energy invested in a relationship, or rewards foregone as a result of engaging in one behavior. Satisfaction with exchange relationship is appeared from the evaluation of the outcomes available in a relationship. To account for satisfaction, both the experiences of the outcomes derived from the relationship and the expectations that individuals bring to their relationships are taken into account.

The concept of Comparison Level (CL) was created by Thibaut and Kelley to explain the contributions that previous experiences and expectations make to the determination of how satisfied an individual is with a relationship. Individuals come to their relationships with awareness for relationships and a backlog of experiences. The CL is influenced by this information and reflects: (a) what individuals feel is deserved and realistically obtainable within relationships, and (b) what individuals feel is important for them to experience within a relationship.

According to exchange theorists, satisfaction with a relationship alone does not determine the likelihood that a relationship will continue. Thibaut and Kelley (1959) developed the concept of comparison level of alternatives (CLalt), defined as the lowest level of outcome a person will accept from a relationship in light of available alternatives, to explain individuals' decisions to remain in or leave a relationship. The CLalt is an individual's assessment of the outcomes available in an alternative to the present relationship. When the outcomes available in an alternative relationship exceed those available in a relationship, the likelihood increases that person will leave the relationship. Unsatisfactory relationships, in turn, may remain stable for the lack of a better alternative. These relationships have been conceived of as nonvoluntary relationships by Thibaut and Kelley (1959).

The Clalt is also related to the experience of dependence. Dependence is defined as the degree to which a person believes that he or she is subject to or reliant on the other for relationship outcome. Dependence, in other words, is connected in highly rewarding relationships. Dependence is influenced by the barriers that increase the costs of dissolving an existing relationship (Levinger, 1982). Levinger proposes the existence of two types of barriers: internal and external, that discourages an individual from leaving a relationship by fostering dependence. Internal barriers are the feelings of obligation to the partner that contribute to dependence by increasing the psychological costs of terminating the relationship. External barriers are things like community pressures, legal pressures, or economic considerations that foster dependence by increasing the social and economic costs of terminating a relationship.

Norms regulating exchange relationships: exchange orientations and rules. Exchange relationships are governed by both normative and cognitive exchange orientations that delineate acceptable and appropriate behavior. Normative orientations refer to the societal views on acceptable and appropriate behavior in relationships. These norms refer to the broader consensus that exists within a culture about how exchange relationships should be structured.

Cognitive orientations represent the beliefs, values, and relationship orientations that an individual associates with various types of exchange relationships (McDonald 1984).

Trust and commitment. Trust refers to the belief on the part of individuals that their partners will not exploit or take unfair advantage of them. Trust is proposed to be important in relationship development because it allows individuals to be less calculative and to see longer-term outcomes (Scanzoni, 1979). Commitment is characterized as central in distinguishing social and intimate exchanges from economic exchanges (Cook and Emerson 1978). Commitment involves the willingness of individuals to work for the continuation of their relationships (Leik and Leik, 1977; Scanzoni, 1979). Exchange theorists would expect commitment to develop within a relationship when partners experience high and reciprocal levels of rewards that facilitate the experience of trust (Sabatelli 1999).

Exchange dynamics framework has been used to explain the patterns of power and decision-making found within relationships. Fundamental to the exchange views of power are the assumptions that dependence and power are inversely related, and resources and power are positively and linearly related (Huston 1983; McDonald 1981; Thibaut and Kelley 1959). This is to suggest that exchange theorists address the bases of power by focusing on the constructs of resources and dependence.

Integrative Theoretical Approach

According to Yukl (2006) this approach is concern about two or more elements in the leadership process. These elements include traits, behavior, influence, situation, processes, and outcomes. This Approach includes moral leadership, charismatic leadership, and transformational leadership. The main issues in these theories are the motivation, loyalty of staff members for effective leadership.

Ethical or Moral Leadership

Yukl (2006) described ethical decisions are based upon the purpose of the action, its consistency with moral standards, and the outcome for all the stakeholders. Researchers like Bate, (1993); Evers and Lakomski, (1991); Greenfield, (1991); Hodgkinson, (1991) discussed that values are a central part of leadership and the focus of moral leadership is on the values and ethics of the leader. Sergiovanni (1984, p.10) says that “excellent schools have central zones composed of values and beliefs that take on sacred or cultural characteristics”. Subsequently, he adds that ‘administering' is a ‘moral craft' (1991, p.322). The moral dimension of leadership is based on “normative rationality; rationality based on what we believe and what we consider to be good” (p.326). His conception is closely linked to the transformational model.

West-Burnham (1997) discusses two approaches to leadership which may be categorized as ‘moral'. The first he describes as ‘spiritual' and relates to “the recognition that many leaders possess what might be called ‘higher order' perspectives. Such leaders have a set of principles which provide the Basis of self-awareness. West-Burnham's (1997) second category is ‘moral confidence', the capacity to act in a way that is consistent with an ethical system and is consistent over time. The morally confident leader is someone who can:

  • demonstrate causal consistency between principle and practice
  • apply principles to new situations
  • create shared understanding and a common vocabulary
  • explain and justify decisions in moral terms
  • sustain principles over time
  • reinterpret and restate principles as necessary

(West-Burnham 1997, p.241)

Sergiovanni (1991) takes a different approach to the leadership/management debate in arguing for both moral and managerial leadership. His conception points to the vital role of management but also shows that moral leadership is required to develop a learning community. Moral leadership is based in the values and beliefs of leaders. The approach is similar to the transformational model but with a stronger values base, that may be spiritual. Moral leadership provides the school with a clear sense of purpose.

Charismatic Leadership

Charisma has been studied as a trait (Weber, 1947) and as a set of behaviors (House, 1977; House & Baetz, 1979; House & Howell, 1992). The trait approach to charisma looks at qualities such as being visionary, energetic, unconventional, and exemplary (Bass, 1985; Conger, 1989; Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Harvey, 2001; House, 1977).

Charismatic leadership has become an important theoretical approach to explaining leader effectiveness since the concept was most fully described by Robert House, (1977). Based on Weber's conception of personal power, charismatic leadership theory rests on the notion that a leader's influence on his or her followers is often beyond the legal and formal authority structure of a group or organization, and relies instead on the leader's personal charm, attractiveness, and persuasive communication. According to Weber, charismatic leaders are able to influence followers by articulating a compelling vision for the future, arousing commitment to organizational objectives, and inspiring commitment and a sense of self-efficacy among followers. Many of the most prominent charismatic individuals in human history are those that have been influential in the spiritual domain. To others, charisma is associated with persuasion, power, and political leadership, with personal charisma regarded as the unique quality of exceptional heads of state. Finally, charisma finds itself as an important aspect of business leadership, as executives who are visionary, and agents of organizational change.

Charismatic leadership theory asserts that exceptional leaders create a connection with followers, attend to their individual needs, and inspire followers to achieve beyond personal limits. Charismatic leaders articulate a compelling often innovative vision the future, take personal risks, emphasize ideological aspects of the organization's mission, show sensitivity to followers' needs, and communicate in an emotional and enthusiastic manner. These leaders are personally attractive to stakeholders both internal and external to the organization, and are able to arouse emotion among followers and inspire commitment to organizational change. Fuller and colleagues in 1996 conducted a comprehensive quantitative analysis of studies that considered aspects of the charismatic approach and concluded that charismatic leadership was positively related to follower performance, follower assessments of leader effectiveness, and follower reports of satisfaction with the leader. More importantly, charismatic leaders tend to be particularly effective when outcomes are examined at the group/organizational level-of-analysis.

Charismatic leadership is often described as a process that evolves in three distinct stages. An important illustration of the leadership process was presented by Conger and Kanungo, (1998). In stage one, charismatic leaders recognize shortcomings of the existing status quo and effectively articulate the need for serious organizational change. In stage two, charismatic leaders identify opportunities in the environment and communicate a vision for a vastly improved future state. Charismatic leaders arouse commitment to expressed goals and inspire confidence among followers in their own abilities to carry out the leaders' vision. Stage three is characterized by the leader's expression of self-efficacy, personal risk-taking, and selfless leadership, all in an attempt to empower followers to participate fully in the accomplishment of organizational objectives. Charismatic leadership theory is often introduced with other modern approaches such as transformational leadership theory, which provides a description of effective leadership that depends heavily on the charismatic appeal of the individual leader. The transformational model suggests that exceptional leaders are intellectually stimulating, provide inspirational motivation, are considerate of individual needs and talents, and are charismatic. As such, the charismatic and transformational theories of leadership are complementary in that each describes leadership as a process by which leaders have an influence on the attitudes, believes, and perceptions of followers. House (1977) proposed a self-concept theory of charismatic leadership which focuses upon the interaction between the leader, followers, and situation. Charismatic leader has a strong influence on the followers because they believe the leader's ideas are correct.

Transformational and Transactional Leadership

Sergiovanni (1991) makes a distinction between transactional and transformative leadership. In transactional leadership, leaders and followers exchange needs and services in order to accomplish independent objectives. The wants and needs of followers and the wants and needs of the leader are traded and a bargain is struck. In transformative leadership, leaders and followers are united in pursuit of higher-level goals that are common to both. Both want to become the best and both want to shape the school in a new direction.

James MacGregor Burns (1978) described transforming leadership as a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents. He suggested that Transforming leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality. Burns proposed that the transforming leader shapes, alters, and elevates the motives, values and goals of followers achieving significant change in the process.

Burns sees the power of transforming leadership as more noble and different from charismatic leadership, which he terms ‘heroic' leadership, and executive or business leadership. Despite this it is surprising that most of the application of Burns' work has been in these two types of leadership.

Bernard Bass developed Burns' concept of transforming leadership into ‘transformational leadership' where the leader transforms followers - the direction of influence to Bass is thus one-way, unlike Burns' who sees it as potentially a two-way process. Bass, however, deals with the transformational style of executive leadership that incorporates social change, a facet missing from Burns' work. For Bass ‘transformational leaders' may:

  • Expand a follower's portfolio of needs.
  • Transform a follower's self-interest.
  • Increase the confidence of followers.
  • Elevate followers' expectations.
  • Heighten the value of the leader's intended outcomes for the follower.
  • Encourage behavioral change and motivate others to higher levels of personal achievement.

Transactional leadership has been the traditional model of leadership with its roots from an organizational or business perspective.

Transactional Leadership

  • Builds on man's need to get a job done and make a living
  • Is preoccupied with power and position, politics and perks
  • Is mired in daily affairs
  • Is short-term and hard data orientated
  • Focuses on tactical issues
  • Relies on human relations to lubricate human interactions
  • Follows and fulfils role expectations by striving to work effectively within current systems
  • Supports structures and systems that reinforce the bottom line, maximise efficiency, and guarantee short-term profits
  • Builds on a man's need for meaning
  • Is preoccupied with purposes and values, morals, and ethics
  • Transcends daily affairs
  • Is orientated toward long-term goals without compromising human values and principles
  • Focuses more on missions and strategies
  • Releases human potential - identifying and developing new talent
  • Designs and redesigns jobs to make them meaningful and challenging
  • Aligns internal structures and systems to reinforce overarching values and goals

Comparison of Transactional and Transformational Leadership (Covey, 1992)

Transformational leadership is a process in which the leaders take actions to try to increase their associates' awareness of what is right and important, to raise their associates' motivational maturity and to move their associates to go beyond the associates' own self-interests for the good of the group, the organization, or society. The transformational leaders are proactive in many different and unique ways. These leaders attempt to optimize development, not just performance. Hooper and Potter (1997) extend the notion of transformational leadership to identify seven key competences of “transcendent leaders”: those able to engage the emotional support of their followers and thus effectively transcend change.

  • Setting direction
  • Setting an example
  • Communication
  • Alignment
  • Bringing out the best in people
  • The leader as a change agent
  • Providing decision in a crisis and on the ambiguous

Day et al's (2001) research suggests that successful principals are both transactional and transformative, building on esteem, competence, autonomy and achievement. The transformational model is comprehensive in that it provides a normative approach to school leadership which focuses primarily on the process by which leaders seek to influence school outcomes rather than on the nature of those outcomes. According to Chirichello (1999) it may also be criticized as being a vehicle for control over teachers and more likely to be accepted by the leader than the led.

Distributed Leadership

Distributed leadership has its roots in the educational administration literature (Spillane, 2006; Spillane, Halverson, & Diamond, 2001). Related concepts, such as shared leadership (Pearce, 2004; Pearce & Conger, 2002) are emerging. For example decentralization (Malone, 2004), empowerment (Conger & Kanungo, 1998; Kirkman & Rosen, 1999; Spreitzen, 1995; Spreitzen & Quinn, 2001) distributed innovation (Von Hippel, 2005), and aspects of learning organizations (Senge, 1990).

Gronn's P., (2002) comprises the most sophisticated attempt to develop a conceptual description of distributed leadership. He developed taxonomy of distributed leadership in order to be used for further work and development of distributed leadership. Gronn defines leadership as emergent work-related influence and identifies two broad meanings of distributed leadership. At first he refers to the aggregated leadership behavior of some, many or all of the members of an organization, leadership which is dispersed rather than concentrated. Secondly distributed leadership it looks like concertive action, in which distributed leadership is more than the sum of its parts. This meaning of distributed leadership is about the leadership which emerges from multi-member organizational groupings and is defined as the demonstrated structuring influence attributable to organization members acting in concert. Gronn observes three main patterns in concertive action:

  1. Spontaneous collaboration concerning tasks. People with different skills, expertise and from different organizational levels ‘coalesce' to pool expertise and regularize conduct for the duration of the task.
  2. Shared role which emerges between two or more people, involving close joint working ‘within an implicit framework of understanding' and emergent ‘intuitive understandings'.
  3. Institutionalization of structures of working together.

Gronn utilizes activity theory drawing from Engestrom (1999, 2000). Activity theory might be summarized as describing social life as a process of ever-moving relationships between technologies, nature, ideas, persons and communities, in which the focus of action circulates to one person, then another, according to the social and environmental context and the flow of action within this. He suggested that distributed leadership has relevance and applicability in contemporary, information-rich society and is more effective way of coping with a complex, information society. Also he argues that distributed leadership has organizational advantages too.

Harris and Chapman (2002) described distributed leadership as coterminous with that of democratic leadership, and examine it by reference to the structural arrangements and principal actions by which it may be created. Democratic leadership covers similar terrain to transformational leadership, though the emphasis given to distributing leadership and empowering others suggests an approach that has democratic rather than transformational principals at its core. Transformational and democratic principles are not, however, elaborated and compared. Democratic leadership includes distributed leadership giving teachers opportunities to share in decision-making and bringing out the best through these strategies. Harris and Chapman seem to be exploring structural ways of creating a cultural change towards a less authoritarian, more democratic approach to leadership. Distributed leadership is created by one leader - the principal - through a process which progressively extends the degree to which individuals and groups within a school have the opportunity to take responsibility for aspects of its work.

Harris and Chapman explore how far leaders in schools shared similar approaches to leadership; and leadership style. Ten improving schools with successful leadership were studied. Multiple methods were used to capture leadership practice. They conclude from their discussion that effective leadership in schools facing challenging circumstances is defined by an individual value system that embraces equity, empowerment and moral purpose, and is democratic, people-centered and centrally concerned with community building. Harris and Chapman state that it is important for the principal to be ‘firm' on values, expectations and standards.

The roots of Spillane et al.'s discussion of distributed leadership lie in the concepts of distributed cognition and activity theory (Gronn's work). Spillane et al. provide us with a qualitative study of thirteen elementary schools in Chicago, from which draw three small examples to illustrate the overall argument. The central argument that Spillane et al. are seeking to support through these examples is that leadership practice has to be analyzed in relation to the task and what they call previous human action. Distributed leadership must be analyzed on a situation by situation or tasks basis. What is not discussed is how the tasks are analyzed so that such interdependent action becomes the means through which leadership is exercised.

Why Distributed Leadership?

Contemporary educational reform places a great premium upon the relationship between leadership and school improvement. Effective leaders exercise an indirect but powerful influence on the effectiveness of the school and on the achievement of students (Leithwood and Jantzi, 2000). The days of the principal as the lone instructional leaders are over. We no longer believe that one administrator can serve as the instructional leader for an entire school without the substantial participation of other educators (Elmore, 2000; Lampert et al., Collay, Dietz, Kent & Richert, 1997; Olson, 2000; Poplin, 1994; Spillane, Halverson & Diamond, 2001). The old model of formal, one-person leadership leaves the substantial talents of teachers largely untapped. Improvements achieved under this model are not easily sustainable; when the principal leaves, promising programs often lose momentum and fade away. This model suffers from what Fullan (2003) calls the individualistic fallacy. The process of change required to move to the next levels of reform will be incredibly demanding. What is needed are not a few good leaders, but large numbers to make the extraordinary efforts required (Fullan, 2003).

During the last 20 years teacher leadership has become an established feature of educational reform in USA (Smylie et al., 2002). The reality is that administrative leadership is crucial to school improvement, but also is realized that principals alone cannot provide all the leadership necessary to promote and sustain improvement over time (Donaldson, 2001). School improvement and student learning depend basically on the development of teacher's knowledge, abilities and commitments. Elmore R., (2000) argues that the problem of scaling up school improvement, whether it is in a school or a school system, is one of capacity building and specialization. Building a broad base of capacity is not possible if control is limited to a few individuals. The solution, he argues, is the broader distribution of leadership.

Supovitz, (2000) discussed that at the Consortium of Policy Research in Education (CPRE) at the University of Pennsylvania in their study of a broad range of school reform initiatives all implicitly distribute leadership across multiple individuals in schools.

Distributed leadership in schools and districts produces the following:

  • Good results in quality of professional development, the curriculum, and assessment tools produced.
  • The successful recruitment of teachers into intensive professional development.
  • The emergence or teacher-led professional communities within and across the schools. Riordan, (2003), CPRE.

Overview of the Research

Smylie, Conley and Marks (2002) identify new approaches to teacher leadership that have emerged during the last fifteen years.

1) Teacher Research as Leadership: began in the late 80's (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999). Main discussion was that the concept of teacher research carries with it an enlarged view of teacher's role - as decision-maker, consultant, curriculum developer, analysts, activist, and school leader.

2) Models of Distributed Leadership: according to this view William Firestone (1995, 1996) view leadership as the performance of key tasks or functions rather than the work of people in formal leadership roles. They associated the success of complex innovations with the distributed performance of several key leadership functions.

Ogawa and Pounder (1985) described leadership as an organization-wide resource of power and influence. Leadership is not confined to certain roles but is distributed across roles, with different roles having access to different levels and types o power influence.

Spillane research in thirteen Chicago elementary schools argue that leadership is distributed in the dynamic web of people, interactions and situations. Situation is one of the core constituting elements. Thus, aspects of situation can enable or constrain leadership function.

3) Leadership in Teams: According to Fullan & Hargreaves, (1992); Pouder, (1998), self-managed teams have grown the last years as vehicles for promoting teacher collaboration, improving teaching and student learning, and addressing problems of school organization.

What is Distributed Leadership: Most of new approaches to teacher leadership are consistent with the literature that defines leadership as a social influence process aimed at achieving some collective or organizational end (Bass, 1990; Yukl, 1998). Leadership is accomplishing together what individuals cannot accomplish alone. Leadership is a shared responsibility for achieving collective organizational goals regardless of positional or organizational authority; acknowledging that increasing levels of positional authority yield greater impact in an organization. Shared leadership implies shared responsibility and mutual accountability toward common goals of an organization. Shared leadership is not a program or a model. It is a condition that can be enabled and sustained through organizational authority. Leadership refers to those activities that are designed or understood by organizational members to influence the motivation, knowledge, affect, and practice of other organizational members in the service of the organization's core work (Spillane, 2006).

There is a difference between successful and effective leadership. Successful leadership is the ability to get others to behave as the administrator intended. The job gets done and the administrator's needs are satisfied, but those of the other people are ignored. Effective leadership is the situation where people perform in accordance with the administrator's intention and find this a path to the satisfaction of their needs.

The National College for School Leadership (NCSL, 2004) provide three defining characteristics of leadership:

  1. Purpose: a sense of direction; wanting to achieve; sustain or change something.
  2. Action: taking action without direct instruction to achieve this purpose.
  3. Persuading: influencing, encouraging, instructing other people to act in pursuit of this purpose.

Spillane (2006) explains that a distributed leadership is not a prescription for leadership but instead a lens, or tool that we can use to examine leadership. A distributed perspective breaks away from the Superman dilemma of leadership by focusing on the practice of leadership, not just the leader.

The leader-Plus Aspect (who): Focuses on who is involved in leadership. Leader-Plus is short for Leader-Plus Other Leaders.

The Leadership Practice Aspect: Addresses how leadership practice is enacted. Critical issue is not whether leadership is distributed but how it is distributed. Attention to interactions, not just actions is very important.

Recent work in more than 100 U.S. schools shows that responsibility for leadership functions typically was distributed among three to seven people, including administrators and specialists (Camburn, Rowan & Taylor, 2003). Donaldson (2007) discussed that great schools grow when educators realize that the power of their leadership lies in the strength of their relationships. Participation of many people, each leading in his/her own way lead to strong leadership in schools. Whether we call it distributed leadership, collaborative leadership, or shared leadership, the ideal arrangement encourages every adult in the school to be a leader. Administrators, formal teacher leaders, and informal teacher leaders all hold power to improve student learning in the hand they extend to one another. The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (2003) concluded that ‘ shared or distributive leadership' was essential to building learning communities.

The Impact of Shared - Distributed Leadership

Distributed leadership is an idea that is growing in popularity. It is primarily concerned with leadership practice and how leadership influences organizational and instructional improvement (Spillane, 2006). Actually there are three main reasons for the current popularity of distributed leadership. Firstly, distributed leadership as normative power; it reflects current changes in leadership practice in schools. Leadership is focused upon teams rather than individuals and places a greater emphasis upon teacher, support staff and students as leaders (Harris, 2004).

Distributed leadership also represents the alternative approaches to leadership because of increased external demands and pressures on schools. In the increasingly complex world of education the work of leadership will require diverse types of expertise and forms of leadership flexible enough to meet changing challenges and new demands. The old organizational structures of schooling simply do not fit the requirements of learning in the twenty-first century. Most importantly distributed leadership has empirical power. Distributed leadership makes a positive difference to organizational outcomes and student learning. There are an increasing number of studies that high-light a powerful relationship between distributed forms of leadership and positive organizational change (Harris et al., 2007)

Limitations, dangers, and how to use it?

A first limitation concerns the fact that different terms and definitions are used interchangeable to refer to ‘distributed leadership' resulting in conceptual confusion. Bennett et al. (2003) discussed about distributed or devolved leadership, while Kets de Vries (1990) defines distributed leadership in terms of effective team working linked to social activity theory.

Leihwood et al. (2004, p.59) discussed that distributed leadership overlaps substantially with shared collaborative and participative leadership concepts. Woods, (2004) focused on democratic leadership and most recently connections have been made to teacher leadership by Harris and Muijs, (2004).The accumulation of allied concepts presents a real danger that distributed leadership will simply be used as a ‘catch all' term to describe any form of devolved, shared or dispersed leadership practice.

A second limitation lies in the implicit tension between the theoretical and practical interpretations. In the theoretical sense, distributed leadership can be defined in the area of situated and distributed cognition (Hutchins, 1995).Distributed leadership is practice distributed over leaders, followers and their situation. It is a social distribution of leadership where the leadership function is stretched over the work of a number of individuals where the leadership task is accomplished through the interaction of multiple leaders (Spillane et al., 2001, p. 20). According to Harris (2008) in practical sense, the chief concern is how leadership is distributed, by whom and with what effect. It is important how we maximize the potential of distributed leadership for organizational improvement and transformation. The key questions are whether, how and in what form distributed leadership contributes to schools improvement. These questions focus primarily on how leadership is distributed and which patterns of distribution are the most effective or influential.

Distributed leadership at a theoretical level is an analytical frame for understanding leadership practice. Spillane et al. (2004) suggested that the distributed leadership can serve as tools for school leaders by offering a set of constructs that can be inform the design process. Distributed leadership can serve as both a diagnostic and design tool that offers a lens on leadership practices within schools and between schools. Schools can think about exactly how leadership is distributed or not in schools. The analytical frame focuses attention on the complex interactions of leadership in action. It offers an alternative and potentially illuminating way of tracking, analyzing and describing complex patterns of interaction, influence and agency.

Distributed leadership depends on the context within which leadership is distributed and the prime aim of the distribution. Flattening the hierarchy of leadership does not necessarily equate with distributed leadership, nor does it automatically improve performance. It is a nature and quality of leadership practice that is important. Leitwood et al (2004) suggest that there is an urgent need to enrich the concept with systematic evidence. Distributed leadership is not a panacea or a recipe. It is a wa of getting under the skin of leadership practice, of seeing leadersip practice differently and illuminating the possibilities for organizational transformation.

The Impact of distributed leadership:

  1. Collaborative problem solving.
  2. Greater buy-in by staff to change.
  3. Better decisions and commitment .
  4. Improved continues improvement through setting goals with more innovation and creativity.
  5. Stronger culture.
  6. Enhanced student achievement.

Conditions that Inhibit distributed leadership:

  1. A history of distrust and hostility in the school.
  2. Past negative experiences with sharing leadership.
  3. Lack of leadership credibility and consistency.
  4. A dysfunctional culture.

Conditions to facilitate distributed leadership:

  1. Clear and shared mission/vision.
  2. Structures to facilitate planning and discussion. (professional learning communities etc.)
  3. Relational trust.
  4. A culture that supports collaboration.

According to Hackman, (2002) effective work teams operate in ways that build shared commitment, collective skills, and task - appropriate coordination strategies - not mutual antagonisms and trails of failure from which little is learned. Hackman (2002) found five conditions that increased the likelihood of effectiveness when a team:

  • Is a real team rather than a team in name only.
  • Has a compelling direction for its work.
  • Has an enabling structure that facilitates rather than impedes teamwork.
  • Operates within a supportive organizational context.
  • Has available ample expert coaching in teamwork.

He views the main responsibility of leaders as creating and maintaining the five conditions that increase the changes that a team will become increasingly effective in carrying out its work.

Moving to a distributed leadership. Structure leadership in schools.



Information flows through formal and informal channels; based on need to know

Open and Distributed information system

Emphasis on stability

Emphasis on change and adaptability

Decision-making centers in school leader

Decision-making shared with team members

Principal directs the organization's members in influencing the core work

Direction of organization's members is distributed in influencing the core work

Emphasis on vertical role structure leadership

Emphasis on empowered, distributed leadership

Distributing Leadership across Four Leadership Dimensions

A distributed perspective offers a framework for thinking about leadership differently. The distribution will depend on the type and size of school, its developmental stage and its context. The distribution of leadership can occur by design, default or desperation. It can occur by design through the decisions of formal or informal leaders. The formation of new leadership opportunities, positions and responsibilities is one way of securing a more distributed approach to leadership. The creation of new structures and groupings will enable teachers and others to take on leadership responsibilities and this will result in more distributed forms of leadership. Distributed leadership implies sustained boundary interactions. There are three main barriers to distributing leadership in schools: distance, culture and structure. The physical space and distance can be a barrier to distributing leadership as the geographical separation makes it more difficult for teachers to connect. Schools need to provide new ICT alternative solutions in order to cross the boundaries.

Distributed leadership means a shift in culture away from the top down model to a form that is more organic and democratic. The challenge for schools is to find ways of removing those organizational structures and systems that restrict organizational learning. Elmore (2000) discussed through the four leadership dimensions of leadership practices; Mission, vision, and goals; School culture; and Shared responsibility, how leadership can be distributed. Distributed leadership practices organize staff to be involved into productivity of school.

Distributed leadership is possible in schools required individuals to be responsible for direction, and performance of the organization (Elmore, 2000). The head facilitates the distribution of leadership by enabling, supporting, coordinating, and guiding the work of the other leaders while also establishing an appropriate climate. According to Elmore distributed leadership does not mean no one is responsible, it means the responsibility of administrative leaders is to enhance the skills and knowledge of individuals in the school, create a common culture of expectations around the use of those skills and knowledge, encourage productive relationship among the various school staff, and require individual accountability toward the school mission. Main priority is to create a common culture of expectations concerning the use of individual skills and abilities.

Mission, vision, and goals: Distributed leadership demands a shared mission, vision and goals. The mission, vision, and goals of a school can only be effective if all school members are aware of them and they are “clear, meaningful, useful, and current” (Gordon, 2005, p.37). DuFour and Eaker(1998) discussed that a mission establishes an organization's purpose, vision instills a sense of direction. Leithwood and Jantzi (1999) defined school mission as what school members understand to be the unspoken and stated purpose and direction of the school. Also Neuman and Simmons (2000) argued that distributed leadership is established when the school has a shared vision with clear goals focusing on students learning.

School culture: According to Sergiovanni (2000) culture is the normative glue that holds a particular school together. DuFour and Eaker (1998) suggested that school culture is based on the assumptions, beliefs, values, and habits that constitute the norm of the organization. Elmore (2000) explained the significance of common culture in distributing leadership. He discussed that in teaching and learning there is no way to perform these complex tasks without widely distributing the responsibility for leadership among roles in the organization. Effective distributed leadership demands direction from multiple expert sources with a common culture. The results of collaborative culture include high morale, commitment to teaching, and student achievement. Brandt (2003) discussed that a school culture that sustained professional learning would have a meaningful impact on student learning.

Leadership practices: According to Lashway (2003b) discussed that principal builds the structure of leadership within the organization. The principal organizes the distribution of leadership by supporting, enabling, coordinating, and guiding the work of the other leaders, while also creating an appropriate climate. Elmore (2000) discussed that by stating distributed leadership does not mean no one is responsible, it means the responsibility of administrative leaders is to enhance the skills and knowledge of individuals in the school, create a common culture of expectations around the use of those skills and knowledge, encourage productive relationship among the different school members, and require individual accountability toward the school goal. Harris (2003) discussed that distributing leadership is discovering the members' abilities within the school and principal develops the leadership potential in all staff members.

Shared responsibility: Spillane et al. (1999) discussed that effectively distributing leadership requires the responsibilities and experience of staff members to be transfer over people in different roles. Scribner et al (2007) discussed that the implementation of distributed leadership need to analyze the conversation taking place between different forms of leadership within the organization, such as teachers teams. Also Elmore explained that distributing leadership depend on the joint dependency and reciprocity between individual roles in the organization as the definition of role responsibilities. Furthermore, some principals and teachers are more competent than others based upon their personal interests, skills, experience, and knowledge.

By viewing teacher teams as a distributed meaning, two different levels can be analyzed. At the beginning the structural use of teacher teams within the school to problem solve is a sample of the situational distribution of leadership (Spillane et al., 2004).Teacher teams are more capable of evaluating the expertise of the staff members. Teams are more creative and empowered in solving problems in schools. Secondly teacher teams are viewed as social distribution of distributed leadership. Creativity in school climate can solve a difficult problem by socially distributed leadership by contribution from all members of the team. Self managing teams are effective at innovation because they allow internal networking to encourage creativity.

Chapter Summary

A related literature review was present in this chapter to provide the reader with the appropriated theoretical and conceptual underpinnings for the study. This chapter reviewed the evolution of leadership and power theories and their significance to school organization. Recently the literature review about new tendencies on leadership focused on distributed leadership. Leadership is no longer one ‘person leader' like principal, but is concerned with collective responsibility and shared leadership activities. School reform, change and improvement for all students' achievement will need to develop and sustain a school climate where everyone is committed to learning and everyone is accountable for pupil achievement. Sheppard (2003) proposed that school leadership is critical for improving pupil achievement. The literature on effective leadership emphasize on those essential characteristics for leading school improvement. This chapter described also the leadership practices of effective heads. Leadership capacity or sustainable leadership was described as the concept of leadership that involves broad-based skillful participation while viewing leadership as a collective learning process that embedded within the various levels and structures of school organization (Coburn, 2003; Fullan, 2005b; West et al., 2005).

Chapter one as an introduction to the study begins with a brief statement about the contemporary meaning of leaders, leadership, and schools as learning organizations. The statement of the problem, purpose of the study, significance of the study, and conceptual patterns for this study were described. Recent research views, Cyprus educational system and reality, the limitations and assumptions of the study were cited and definitions of terms and key concepts are identified. Chapter Two presented a review of related literature for the study. Also different theories, approaches and key concepts were investigated. Chapter Three will present detail information about the research design and methodology. Research questions, quantitative approach, population sample, data collection. research tools and data analysis are part of chapter three survey.

I will investigate the literature about the evolution of leadership theory and practice by presenting a conceptual framework for the nature of leadership. Links and connections will be made between the theories and the identification of their focus on the leader's effectiveness and improvement. Also I will examine literature review on share leadership connecting with school improvement concerning students learning and achievement. A review on development a distributed leadership framework it will improve effective school and can improve students learning. This study is interest on mission, vision and goals, culture, decision-making, professional development and leadership practices as the most significant variables. The concept of distributed leadership is new in education but it holds the key for improving learning outcomes.


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