Within the last 30 years or more there has been a greater shift of emphasis of attention by educational scholars to the role of leadership in schools. This has included examining what is meant by leadership as well as how the influence or power that comes from leadership is used, shared and devolved.
I am interested in examining leadership teams that share leadership. I have been involved with leadership for most of my teaching career but only at the senior level in about the last six years and I was recently involved in working as a team member in a co-principalship model for one year. This assignment sets out a plan for a small-scale study to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of administrators and teachers at Danube International School Vienna to the effectiveness of implementation and functioning of a four-member co-principalship where there had previously only been a single principal.
The principle of shared leadership by individuals has ancient roots in political systems. The history of the Western Roman Empire is peppered with examples of diarchy and one does not have to look far to find similar examples of shared leadership (including Triumvirates) in both the ancient, medieval and modern world. The concept and practice of flattening hierarchies and the compartmentalisation or sharing of leadership responsibilities is nothing new.
Modern notions of shared leadership are also highly connected with flattening hierarchical structures and a move towards more heterarchical organisations so as to, ‘create structures that empower teachers to collaborate with one another and to lead from within the heart of the school, the classroom...’ otherwise we will, ‘discourage true educational leadership.’ (Coyle,...
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Court, Marian (2003) 'Towards democratic leadership. Co-principal initiatives', International Journal of Leadership in Education, 6: 2, 161 — 183
Coyle, Monica (1997) ‘Teacher Leadership vs. School Management: Flatten the Hierarchies’, The Clearing House, Vol. 70, No. 5, pp. 236-239. Heldref Publications
Gronn, Peter (2009) ’Leadership Configurations’, Leadership, Vol.5, No. 3, pp. 381-394 (London. Print)
LEITHWOOD 1999, Changing Leadership For Changing Times, Open University Press, Available from: http://lib.myilibrary.com/Browse/open.asp?ID=113061&loc=iv12 July 2010
Selznick, Philip (1957) ‘Leadership in administration : a sociological interpretation’, Harper & Row 1984
West , Edwin L., Jr (1978) ‘The Co-Principalship: Administrative Realism’ The High School Journal, Vol. 61, No. 5 (Feb., 1978), pp. 241-246. University of North Carolina Press
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