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A paradoxical approach to instructional leadership

Haim Shaked (Hemdat Hadarom College of Education, Netivot, Israel)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 20 July 2020

Issue publication date: 8 October 2020



Perceptual inhibitors to instructional leadership are based on disagreements with the premises of instructional leadership. This study explored how the paradoxical approach, which advocates “both/and” approach to conflicting demands, may moderate the influence of the perceptual inhibitors of instructional leadership.


The current study is qualitative in nature. Study participants were 30 Israeli school principals, representing the larger body of Israeli principals in terms of sex, age, years of experience, education and school level. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews. Data analysis included a two-step theory-driven coding process.


This study found that the paradoxical approach allowed school principals to hold conflicting perspectives on instructional leadership simultaneously. Thus, it has reduced the effect of the perceptual inhibitors of instructional leadership, as it permitted principals to delay the decision between the expectation to fulfill the role of instructional leader and their disagreements with it.


Despite prolonged pressures, school principals demonstrate limited involvement in instructional leadership, in part because of perceptual inhibitors. The findings of this study can be used in dealing with these inhibitors.



Shaked, H. (2020), "A paradoxical approach to instructional leadership", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 34 No. 10, pp. 1637-1646.



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