The relationship between distributed leadership and teachers' academic optimism

Blair Mascall (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Kenneth Leithwood (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Tiiu Straus (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Robin Sacks (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Publication date: 21 March 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between four patterns of distributed leadership and a modified version of a variable Hoy et al. have labeled “teachers' academic optimism.” The distributed leadership patterns reflect the extent to which the performance of leadership functions is consciously aligned across the sources of leadership, and the degree to which the approach is either planned or spontaneous.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for the study were the responses of 1,640 elementary and secondary teachers in one Ontario school district to two forms of an online survey, xx items in form 1 and yy items in form 2. Two forms were used to reduce the response time required for completion and each form measured both overlapping and separate variables.

Findings

The paper finds that high levels of academic optimism were positively and significantly associated with planned approaches to leadership distribution, and conversely, low levels of academic optimism were negatively and significantly associated with unplanned and unaligned approaches to leadership distribution.

Originality/value

This study provides as‐yet rare empirical evidence about the relationship between distributed leadership and other important school characteristics. It also adds support to arguments for the value of more coordinated forms of leadership distribution.

Keywords

Citation

Mascall, B., Leithwood, K., Straus, T. and Sacks, R. (2008), "The relationship between distributed leadership and teachers' academic optimism", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 46 No. 2, pp. 214-228. https://doi.org/10.1108/09578230810863271

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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