Successful school leadership in Sweden and the US

Betty Merchant (Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA)
Helene Ärlestig (Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)
Encarnacion Garza (Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA)
Olof Johansson (Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)
Elizabeth Murakami‐Ramalho (Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA)
Monika Törnsén (Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Publication date: 15 June 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this cross‐cultural study of schools in Sweden and Texas is to examine the cultural contexts of schools in both settings, and the leadership role of principals in creating and sustaining inclusive schools for diverse populations.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were drawn from two studies; the first involving school visits, classroom observations, and interviews conducted in researcher exchanges between both countries. The second source of data comes from the authors’ participation in a multi‐national longitudinal study, the International Successful School Principals’ Project (ISSPP). A common survey instrument, individual interviews, school visits and observations provide the data for this study.

Findings

The seven themes that emerged were manifested in ways that reflected the differing philosophies of each country: engagement and pride, high expectations, student autonomy, early student learning and development, teamwork, diversity and integration, and international focus on academic rankings. It is concluded that the creation of inclusive schools in a diverse context requires that principals maintain a focus on academic accountability while also working consciously to address social and civic issues.

Research limitations/implications

Current migration and immigration patterns create a need for research, like this study, that examines how the social philosophies of different countries might support or hinder the success of various efforts to develop leadership for inclusive schools with diverse populations.

Originality/value

Examining the leadership of inclusive schools within two countries that differ substantially in their relative emphases on individualism and socialism provides valuable insights into how national philosophies are reflected in the ways school systems respond to diversity.

Keywords

Citation

Merchant, B., Ärlestig, H., Garza, E., Johansson, O., Murakami‐Ramalho, E. and Törnsén, M. (2012), "Successful school leadership in Sweden and the US", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 26 No. 5, pp. 428-441. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513541211240228

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.