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Ideological leadership in public schools

Ori Eyal (Department of Graduate Division of Policy, Administration and Leadership in Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel)
Talya R. Schwartz (Teachers Pay Teachers, New York, New York, USA)
Izhak Berkovich (Department of Education and Psychology, Open University of Israel, Raanana, Israel)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 2 April 2020

Issue publication date: 15 May 2020




This study aims to explore the conception and construct of ideological leadership (IL) as it relates to public organizations, such as public schools, and to validate a tool for its measurement in this setting.


Data was collected from 633 teachers working at 69 randomly-sampled Israeli public schools. In each school, an average of nine (SD = 2) randomly-sampled teachers completed questionnaires that measure IL, transformational leadership, organizational commitment, leader-member exchange and motivational factors. The data underwent validity and hypotheses tests.


The hypothesized presence of the personalized and socialized IL orientations among public-school principals has been confirmed. Only personalized IL predicted teachers' outcomes above and beyond transformational leadership, affecting measures of organizational commitment, leader-member exchange and controlled motivation.


New evidence supports the validity of this proposed measurement tool. New evidence also suggests that although ideology has been known to be a factor of charismatic leadership, IL in close public-school settings accentuates practices of control, rather than proselytizing coherent worldviews to teachers. This, in turn, may have a deleterious influence on work outcomes and outweigh the possible benefits of IL. Accordingly, it is suggested that school leaders should critically consider the desirability of embracing ideological zeal as part of their leadership tools.



Eyal, O., Schwartz, T.R. and Berkovich, I. (2020), "Ideological leadership in public schools", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 58 No. 3, pp. 303-320.



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