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Socially distributed leadership in elementary schools: teacher and staff leadership practice in Denmark and the USA

Marsha E. Modeste (The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Chi Nguyen (The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA) (University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA)
Rhoda Nanre Nafziger (Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University, Montreal, Canada)
Jonathan Hermansen (Københavns Professionshøjskole–Campus Tagensvej 18, Kobenhavn, Denmark)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 24 December 2021

Issue publication date: 1 March 2022

618

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the nature of socially distributed leadership in Denmark and the USA, specifically teacher and staff leadership practices distributed in schools.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used a confirmatory factor analysis and a second-order factor analysis to examine elementary USA and 0–9 Danish school educators’ responses to the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning.

Findings

Findings from this analysis of leadership practice demonstrate (1) different approaches to teacher and staff leadership in Denmark and the USA; (2) the importance of a collaborative approach to developing and maintaining professional learning communities in schools in both contexts; and (3) different patterns of leadership practice that broadly reflect the local structure and approach to school leadership while responding to external policy demands.

Originality/value

Drawing on the globalization scholarship, which acknowledges the connection between global policy development and local spaces of implementation, this comparative international study allowed us to examine how policy ideas are parlayed into practice through the use of a shared assessment of leadership practice. The results of this study suggest that while the work of teacher and staff leadership is important and something that educators in Denmark and the USA are engaging in to advance the overall instructional mission of their schools, the approaches taken in each context are different and reflect a local-level negotiation between contextual cultural norms and policy expectations.

Keywords

Citation

Modeste, M.E., Nguyen, C., Nafziger, R.N. and Hermansen, J. (2022), "Socially distributed leadership in elementary schools: teacher and staff leadership practice in Denmark and the USA", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 60 No. 2, pp. 188-206. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-11-2020-0243

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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