Commentary: Celebrating 60 years of knowledge mobilization: a historical descriptive analysis of the Journal of Educational Administration

Jayson W. Richardson (Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA)
Sahar Khawaja (University of Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 2 January 2023

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023



Richardson, J.W. and Khawaja, S. (2023), "Commentary: Celebrating 60 years of knowledge mobilization: a historical descriptive analysis of the Journal of Educational Administration", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 61 No. 1, pp. 78-87.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

The Journal of Educational Administration (JEA) published its first issue in 1963 with just four papers. Up through the end of 2021, the journal has published over 1,700 articles. JEA was the first international refereed journal in the field of educational leadership, management and administration. As noted on the website, “JEA has sought to publish research on educational administration conducted across diverse political, economic and socio-cultural contexts. Indeed, publications featured in JEA have both anticipated and traced the evolution of educational administration into a global field of research and practice.” Given that JEA is celebrating 60 years of publication in 2022, we wanted to explore the history of JEA through a historical descriptive analysis of the journal.


This historical descriptive analysis of JEA was conducted in two phases. In the first phase of data collection and data analysis, all articles published in JEA were downloaded. This included all articles published between 1963 through 2021, which is the current lifespan of the journal. Since we wanted this review to come out in the last issue of the 60th years, we were unable to capture articles published in 2022. Obtaining the full text of the articles was not available in our databases prior to 1991, so the analyses of those articles were limited to only the abstract. Analysis of the articles included type of article, country of study, methodology and theoretical underpinning. These data were coded manually by the research team. Findings from these data represent a historical analysis of JEA.

In phase 2, the publisher, Emerald, provided data extracted from Scholar One from 2011 to 2021. Analysis of these articles was descriptive and provides the most recent picture of publication trends in the journal.

Historical descriptive analysis of JEA

Figure 1 indicates the number of articles that have been published in JEA by decade. The number of articles published generally trends upwards. The journal started in 1964 and had only 75 articles published in that decade. As of the start of 2022, there have been 97 articles published in the 2020s.

Special issues are a way for editors to highlight an area of interest in the field. For JEA, special issues might be led by the editors, members of the editorial board, or other academics in the field. Table 1 details all special issue published in JEA by titles, editors and the editors' institutions. A total of 30 special issues have been published in JEA through 2021.

JEA began publishing special issues in 2005. Since that time, JEA has published special issues once or twice every year, except for 2016 where no special issues were published. In 2021, the journal issued three special issues, being the most published in a single year. Topics ranged from moral leadership, distributed leadership, international perspectives on leadership, systems thinking, technology leadership and leading special education, just to name a few.

To better understand the theoretical underpinnings of articles published in JEA, the research team conducted deductive coding based on Wang's (2018) framework. Wang conducted a co-occurrence network analysis of educational leadership research from 2005 to 2014 and compiled a list of all theories and concepts undergirding that body of research. The theories and concepts most noted by Wang were collective efficacy, contingency theory, critical race theory, critical theory, distributed leadership, instructional leadership, institutional theory, motivation, organizational theory, organizational learning, organizational citizenship behavior, organizational/school culture, social network theory, social justice theory, social cognitive theory, social justice leadership, social capital theory, teacher leadership, transformational leadership and trust.

We used Wang's (2018) framework as the codebook that guided the analysis. Thus, we searched the content of every article for each of the theories/concepts. Doing this captured every instance when that term was used. Hence, it captured the direct and indirect use of those underpinnings. The limitation is that this approach captured passive mentions of these underpinnings including reference citations. Nonetheless, if an author cited work about a theory, it can be assumed that the theory informed the research, to some degree.

Among the top underpinnings in JEA were instructional leadership, organizational/school culture and transformational leadership. Although trust and motivation were among the top occurring codes as well, we believe the coding approach did not capture an accurate picture because of how they might be used in text. That is, these keywords might be present in the article but the authors might not be using them as the theory or concept in their paper (e.g. “teachers trust the school leaders …” or “the team was motivated to conduct this study …”) (Table 2).

Table 3 shows the types of articles published in JEA up to 2021. It is evident that empirical studies are the most common type of articles in JEA. We were not able to deduce the types of articles for many of the 402 articles in which we only had access to the abstracts. We saw that book reviews were more frequent in the first few decades of JEA, whereas the recent trend is to publish more empirical work. Table 4 details the methodology of those articles.

We wanted to understand the countries of study most represented in the articles published in JEA. Hence, we captured all countries represented in the published articles. Table 5 details how the most studies took place in the USA followed by Australia. Additionally, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Nigeria, Cyprus, Malaysia, Finland, Austria, Taiwan and Belgium were countries of study in four or more articles published in JEA from 1963 to 2021.

To gain a more holistic geographic representation of studies published in JEA, the research team coded all articles by continent of study. Table 6 details the continents of study for articles published in JEA from 1963 to 2021.

Table 7 details the most cited articles in JEA over time. Authors who made the top 25 list multiple times are Kenneth Leithwood (n = 4), Phillip Hallinger (n = 3), and Doris Jantzi (n = 3).

Most recent picture of JEA from 2011 to 2021

We obtained data about manuscript statistics directly from Emerald via the submission system, being Scholar One. These data captured statistics from 2011 to 2021. Analysis of these data represents the most recent trends in JEA submissions.

Table 8 depicts the number of manuscripts submitted by country from 2011 to 2021. The USA had almost five times more articles submitted than the second top submitting county which was Israel. It should be noted that the first authors from the top three countries combined submitted more articles than the remaining 22 countries combined (Table 9).

The researchers also coded the submission data by continent. Since 2011, authors from Asia are the largest contributor to JEA. North America was a close second with 672 articles submitted.

Table 10 details the top 25 countries from which manuscripts have been accepted from 2011 to 2021. In this timeframe, authors from the USA published 251 articles in JEA. Authors from Israel published 60 articles in JEA.

Table 11 shows the number of manuscripts accepted by continent from 2011 to 2021. Most of the articles published were from North America.

Figure 2 details the top 25 most prolific authors in JEA. We juxtaposed the number of articles published by the authors' h-index. Some authors did not have an h-index available online through Google Scholar, thus those are labeled as 0.

Table 12 depicts the most commonly occurring institutions from which authors have submitted to JEA from 2011 to 2021. This table captures all the institutions that have more than 10 submissions to the journal.

Table 13 details the keywords most often used by authors when submitting their articles. It is important to note that these keywords are based on what the authors entered, not what the authors selected from a pre-populated list. We condensed the keywords whenever possible. Not surprisingly, the terms “principals” and “leadership” each were used more than 750 times in these manuscripts.


As of July 2022, JEA has been ranked by SSCI with an impact factor of 2.152 and a five-year impact factor of 2.716. The Scopus CiteScore is 2.9 as of 2021. Earning the SSCI ranking will help JEA and its authors since many universities require this ranking to count articles towards a professor's tenure and promotion.

Give that JEA was the first journal in the field, its historical significance is well known. This historical descriptive analysis provided herein details the first 60 years of influencing the field. May the next 60 be just as impactful.


Number of articles published by decade

Figure 1

Number of articles published by decade

Top 25 published authors by number of papers and h-index

Figure 2

Top 25 published authors by number of papers and h-index

Special issue titles, editors and editors' institutions

Special issue titlesEditorsYear
Failures in schools and school failures: Lessons for leadership and managementPascale Benoliel (Bar-Ilan University) and Izhak Berkovich (Open University of Israel)2021
Technology as a lever of innovation in school leadershipJayson W. Richardson (University of Denver)2021
Systems thinking for excellence and equityHaim Shaked (Hemdat Hadarom Academic College of Education) and Chen Schechter (Bar Ilan University)2021
Framing issues of leadership for special educationMary Lynn Boscardin (University of Massachusetts Amherst) and Katharine G. Shepherd (University of Vermont)2020
School administrators' well-being and mindfulnessKatina Pollock (University of Western Ontario), Fei Wang (University of British Columbia), and Julia Mahfouz (University of Colorado Denver)2020
The role of districts and other agencies in supporting school leaders' instructional leadershipRebecca A. Thessin (George Washington University) and Karen Seashore Louis (University of Minnesota)2019
Understanding third sector participation in public schooling through partnerships, collaborations, alliances and entrepreneurialismNina Kolleck (Freie Universitat Berlin)
and Miri Yemini (Tel Aviv University)
Understanding and improving urban secondary schools: New perspectivesKaren Seashore Louis (University of Minnesota) and Muhammad Khalifa (University of Minnesota)2018
Data use for equity: Implications for teaching, leadership and policyAmanda Datnow (University of California San Diego), Jennifer C. Greene (University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign), and Nora Gannon-Slater (Department of Performance and Data Analytics, Breakthrough Charter Schools)2017
Qualitative studies of principal instructional leadership in East AsiaPhillip Hallinger (Chulalongkorn University, University of Johannesburg) and Allan Walker (The Education University of Hong Kong)2017
Systematic reviews of research on principal leadership in East AsiaPhillip Hallinger (Chulalongkorn University, University of Johannesburg) and Allan Walker (The Education University of Hong Kong)2015
Principal–teacher relationships: foregrounding the international importance of principals' social relationships for school learning climatesHeather E. Price (University of Notre Dame, Utrecht University) and Nienke M. Moolenaar (University of California San Diego)2015
Methods in longitudinal school improvement research: State of the artPhillip Hallinger (Chulalongkorn University, University of Johannesburg) and Allan Walker (The Education University of Hong Kong)2014
Systemwide reform examining districts under pressureAlan J. Daly (University of California San Diego) and Kara S. Finnigan (University of California San Diego2013
Educational leadership development in international contextsStephen Jacobson (University at Buffalo) and Lauri Johnson (Boston College)2013
Accountability and school leadershipKaren Seashore Louis (University of Minnesota)2012
An anniversary issue: Reflections on a journal's first fifty yearsA. Ross Thomas (University of Wollongong)2012
Building organisational capacity in school educationStephen Dinham (University of Melbourne) and Frank Crowther (University of Southern Queensland)2011
Globalization expanding horizons in women's leadershipWhitney H. Sherman (Virginia Commonwealth University)2010
Exploring the emotional dimensions of educational leadership implications for professional preparationEugenie A. Samier (The British University in Dubai) and Michèle Schmidt (Simon Fraser University)2010
Sustaining successful school leadershipOlof Johansson (Umeå University) and Leif Moos (Aarhus University)2009
Building high quality schools for learners and communitiesCynthia L. Uline (San Diego State University)2009
Principal preparation international perspectivesCharles F. Webber (University of Calgary)2008
Distributed leadership through the looking glassAlma Harris (University of London)2008
Leadership for learning in the context of social justice: An international perspectiveAnthony H. Normore (California State University-Dominguez Hills)2007
The integration of moral literacy content and process in teachingPaul Begley (Pennsylvania State University)2007
Beginning the principalship international viewsAllan Walker (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)2006
Dare professors of educational administration build a new social order: Social justice within an American perspectiveAlan R. Shoho (University of Texas at San Antonio)2006
The International Successful School Principalship ProjectStephen L. Jacobson (University at Buffalo, State University of New York), Christopher Day (University of Nottingham), and
Kenneth Leithwood (University of Toronto)
Educational institutions and leadership through the lens of organization theoryBob L. Johnson Jr. (University of Utah) and Janice R. Fauske (University of South Florida)2005

Theoretical underpinnings of JEA articles

Theories/Concepts noted in manuscriptsCount
Organizational/school culture504
Instructional leadership354
Transformational leadership249
Distributed leadership237
Organizational learning207
Teacher leadership142
Collective efficacy89
Organizational theory75
Organizational citizenship behavior57
Social justice leadership49
Critical theory48
Social cognitive theory42
Institutional theory29
Contingency theory27
Social network theory19
Critical race theory17
Social capital theory8

Note(s): *Over-represented due to coding approach

Types of articles published in JEA from 1963 to 2021

Type of articleNumber of articles
Empirical research726
Book review184
Conceptual paper74
Research review/systematic review63

Most common methodologies reported in articles published in JEA from 1963 to 2021

Methodology/Article typeNumber of articles
Quantitative quasi-experimental323
Systematic review100
Mixed methods76
Conceptual paper41
Quantitative experimental9

Top 10 countries of study reported in articles published in JEA from 1963 to 2021

Country of studyNumber of articles
The USA425
The United Kingdom57
Hong Kong30
New Zealand29

Continents of study reported in articles published in JEA from 1963 to 2021

ContinentNumber of articles
North America502
South America8

Top 25 cited authors as of fall 2021

Leadership for learning: Lessons from 40 years of empirical research2011Hallinger315
The effects of transformational leadership on organizational conditions and student engagement with school2000Leithwood and Jantzi306
Collaboration and the need for trust2001Tschannen-Moran266
The configuration of the university image and its relationship with the satisfaction of students2002Palacio, Meneses, and Perez201
Distributed leadership: According to the evidence2008Harris187
Trust in schools: A conceptual and empirical analysis1998Tschannen-Moran and Hoy174
Effective instructional leadership: Teachers' perspectives on how principals promote teaching and learning in schools2000Blase and Blase167
The future of distributed leadership2008Gronn164
Relationships in reform: The role of teachers' social networks2010Daly, Moolenaar, Bolivar, and Burke162
Relation of principal transformational leadership to school staff job satisfaction, staff turnover, and school performance2004Griffith162
Cyberbullying: Causes, effects, and remedies2009Hoff and Mitchell159
The walls speak: The interplay of quality facilities, school climate, and student achievement2008Uline and Tschannen-Moran158
Transformational leadership effects on teachers' commitment and effort toward school reform2003Geijsel, Sleegers, Leithwood, and Jantzi157
Moving into the third, outer domain of teacher satisfaction2000Dinham and Scott145
Culture and educational administration: A case of finding out what you don't know you don't know1996Hallinger and Leithwood143
Principals' leadership and teachers' motivation: Self-determination theory analysis2011Eyal and Roth127
The effects of transformational leadership on teachers' commitment to change in Hong Kong2002Yu, Leithwood, and Jantzi124
School context and individual characteristics: What influences principal practice?2008Goldring, Huff, Camburn, and May119
Toward a framework for preparing leaders for social justice2006Capper, Theoharis, and Sebastian119
A conceptual framework for systematic reviews of research in educational leadership and management2013Hallinger116
Technology leadership for the twenty-first century principal2003Flanagan and Jacobsen114
A three domain model of teacher and school executive career satisfaction1998Dinham and Scott114
Complexity and the beginning principal in the United States: Perspectives on socialization2006Crow106
ICT implementation and school leadership: Case studies of ICT integration in teaching and learning2003Yuen, Law, and Wong105
Schools as learning organisations: The case for system, teacher and student learning2002Silins and Mulford103

Top 25 manuscript submissions by country from 2011 to 2021

Country of submissionNumber of manuscripts submitted
The USA596
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland67
South Africa29
Hong Kong20
New Zealand17
Saudi Arabia17
The United Arab Emirates16

Number of manuscript submitted by continent from 2011 to 2021

Continent of submissionNumber of manuscripts submitted
North America672
South America17

Number of manuscripts accepted by country from 2011 to 2021

CountryNumber of manuscripts accepted
The USA251
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland22
Hong Kong10
New Zealand7

Manuscripts accepted by continent from 2011 to 2021

ContinentNumber of manuscripts accepted
North America274
South America3

Top 25 institutions by number of submissions from 2011 to 2021

InstitutionNumber of manuscript submissions
The Education University of Hong Kong53
Bar Ilan University51
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem33
Open University of Israel29
The University of Oklahoma26
Mahidol University24
Vanderbilt University24
Brawijaya University23
University of Minnesota18
University of Melbourne18
University of New South Wales17
Tel Aviv University17
University of Haifa16
University of Virginia14
University of Texas at San Antonio14
Universitas Riau13
Texas State University13
University of Nottingham13
George Washington University13
Gordon College13
University of Connecticut12
University of Denver12
University of Louisville12
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign12
The University of Alabama12

Top 25 author generated keywords from 2011 to 2021

Author generated keywordsNumber of submissions
Leadership/educational leadership770
Educational administration516
Educational policy161
Leadership development156
Instructional leadership116
Decision making104
School reform103
School improvement100
Transformational leadership93
Educational research89
Higher education87
Information and communication technology73
Distributed leadership68
School change65
Job satisfaction64
Organizational culture63
Educational planning and administration61
Social justice60
Secondary schools58
Teacher learning54


Wang, Y. (2018), “The panorama of the last decade's theoretical groundings of educational leadership research: a concept co-occurrence network analysis”, Educational Administration Quarterly, Vol. 54 No. 3, pp. 327-365.

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