Leadership in Education

Jill Booth (University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 July 2004




Booth, J. (2004), "Leadership in Education", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 476-477. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730410544782



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The issue of leadership in any organisation raises many questions: What type of leadership style is most effective? What type of qualities should leaders posses? Should there be a leader at all? Owing to the current changing climate within education these questions are being asked more so than ever.

Divided into four sections, each with three chapters, the first section of this book deals with conceptualising leadership. In Chapter One the author concentrates on key generic qualities of leaders, cultural differences, consequences and influential processes of leadership. Conceptual frameworks developed for training are reviewed as is the type of school and graduate desired for institutions. The concept of leadership of learning‐centred schools is also presented, comprising ten components, aiming to “mould multicultural schools communities into harmonious learning environments”. On the other hand, Gronn, the chapter's author, challenges the whole concept of leadership asking why leadership is seen as a “prescription for the cure of organisational ills”. The “leader‐follower” binary is said to be long since passed its use by date and instead the author advocates that workplaces should be seen as “communities of practice”.

Marianne Coleman in Chapter Three will no doubt ignite the fire within many a woman's soul. She begins by clarifying the extent to which females have been outnumbered by males in leadership positions within and outside of education. Masculine and feminine stereotypes are discussed followed by a “conceptualisation of leadership in education” with transformational leadership being identified not only as the category most suited for schools but also the type of leadership that is most conducive to the female paradigm of nurturing and individual consideration. Nonetheless, women at the top in education are still fighting a constant battle.

Developing leaders and leadership is the theme for the second part of the book. Ribbins tackles the issue of leadership from a humanistic approach. Different models of careers of leadership are presented including the author's own, followed by a five‐stage framework for leadership development that is presently being offered by the The National College for School Leadership. Bolam points out how strong leadership always figures prominently when discussing educational achievement and the impact of leadership training and development is discussed.

Newton in Chapter Six describes how the National College of School Leadership came about, referring to its current targets and how it aims to achieve these. A strong research base underpins the work of “the college” and this is stressed throughout and although in its infancy the author portrays an exciting, challenging future for the college, which will wholly benefit everyone within and throughout the educational system.

The third section of this volume attends to the idea of teachers as leaders. Leithwood reviews several of his studies focusing mainly on the importance of teachers as leaders, the effects teacher leadership has on schools and students and how it can be developed. Gunter in Chapter Eight describes the opposing pressures that teachers presently have to contend with, those of being a professional and simultaneously having to attend to the requirements of the state and in Chapter Nine the authors, Harber and Davies, explore the growing field of educational leadership in terms of political conflict and crisis. They provide an insight into how education overall aims for a democratic leadership, yet within the school walls an authoritarian leadership prevails affecting teachers and pupils in detrimental ways.

The final section looks at perspectives on leadership in practice beginning with a chapter by Brundrett and Burton who point out some of the implications involved in leading and managing high performance schools and concluding with the assumption that the management paradigm of “collegiality” is not necessarily the right path to take, but rather a more “co‐constructed” leadership style.

Chapter Eleven enquires about the future of leadership in further education (FE). Peeke believes that strategic thinking and emotional intelligence to be important qualities of successful FE leaders with an authoritative style and organisational climate also being linked to college success. The author concludes that there is a need for diversity of leaders in education and a need to find out which leadership behaviours are successful in delivering high‐quality FE. The final chapter recognises a great need for leadership in higher education, perhaps currently more than ever before. As to what is to be done, the author suggests preparation and support for the next generation of leaders and offers ten adages for successful higher educational leadership.

This book is crammed with information relevant to schools and colleges about concepts of leadership and discusses how leadership may be developed based on empirical research, practice and theory. The authors within this edited edition have not only tackled renowned aspects of leadership but also issues which have no doubt been neglected within educational leadership. This book is fascinating. It will appeal to not only practitioners, researchers and educational administrators, but also anyone whose lives are touched by education and leadership.

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