Questioning Leadership offers a diverse mix of cutting-edge research in the field of educational leadership, with contributions from expert and emerging leadership scholars. It contextualises school leadership within broader social and historical contexts and traces its influence on school performance through time, from its relatively modest role within a systems theory paradigm to its growing influence from the 1980s onwards, as exercising leadership came to be perceived as being largely responsible for improving educational outcomes.
This book invites the reader to challenge the current orthodoxy of leader-centrism and instead reflect more broadly on the various structural and institutional interrelationships that determine how a school functions successfully. It poses challenging questions, such as:
- Is leadership really necessary for high-quality school performance?
- Can schools function effectively without leadership?
- Is it possible to describe the work that principals do without using the word ‘leadership’?
- How do we challenge the assumption that leadership simply exists and that it is seen as the appropriate default explanation for school performance?
This book does not assume that leadership is the key to organisational performance, although it acknowledges the work that principals do. It goes against current orthodoxy and offers varied perspectives on how leadership might be repositioned vis-à-vis organisational and institutional structures. It also suggests some new directions for leading and learning and throws open a discussion on leadership that for too long has been captured by the assumption that the leader is the cause of organisational performance and learning outcomes in schools.
At a time when leadership’s dominance seems unshakeable, this is a bold book that should appeal to postgraduate students of educational leadership and management, those undertaking training in educational administration and current school leaders interested in exploring the value of leadership for educational organisations.
About the Author
Gabriele Lakomski is Professor Emeritus at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Scott Eacott is Senior Lecturer at the School of Education at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
Colin W. Evers is Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of New South Wales, Australia.
Table of Contents
Preface Acknowledgments PART I: Foundational Issues in Leadership Theory 1. Challenging leadership: The Issues Gabriele Lakomski and Colin W. Evers 2. Beyond leadership: Towards a ‘relational’ way of thinking Scott Eacott 3. Everything we know about educational leadership is wrong: Rethinking scholarship and practice for a fractured field Jeffrey S. Brooks 4. Disambiguating leadership: The continuing quest for the philosopher’s stone Fenwick W. English and Lisa Catherine Ehrich Commentary: The rise and rise of leadership Tony Bush PART II: Postmodernist Perspectives on Leadership 5. Zombie
leadership, the différend and deconstruction Richard Niesche 6. Problematisations, practices and subjectivation: Educational leadership in neoliberal times Brad Gobby 7. Performatively resignifying leadership Christina Gowlett 8. Thinking beyond leadership as a service to policy: ‘Seeing things big’ in a dialogic 'public space' Bev Rogers Commentary: Questioning postmodernism – does it have something to offer leadership fields? Robert Donmoyer PART III: Select Issues in Leadership Theory and Practice 9. (Re)positioning the distributed ‘turn’ in leadership Howard Youngs 10. Leadership standards and the discursive repositioning of leadership, leaders, and non-leaders: A critical examination Augusto Riveros, Paul Newton and David Burgess 11. Reflections on successful school leadership from the International Successful School Principalship Project Lawrie Drysdale and David Gurr 12. The future of leadership: New directions for leading and learning Gabriele Lakomski, Colin W. Evers and Scott Eacott Commentary: Silos, bunkers, and their voices Peter Gronn