Stakeholders' Meanings of Effective School Leadership: A Case Study in a New Zealand Primary School

Barry N Brooker, Neil Dempster, University, My
Guided by the theoretical underpinnings of symbolic interactionism, this study set out to describe and analyse how stakeholders in a New Zealand Primary School understand effective school leadership, and how their meanings of leadership are influenced by the context in which they work. Review of the school leadership literature indicated that there was widespread agreement on the importance of leadership for school effectiveness but limited empirical data on how, or why, this was the case. To
more » ... was the case. To gain an understanding of stakeholders' meanings of effective leadership the study adopted a qualitative, case study design. Purposive, criterion-based selection was used to select a school considered to have highly effective leadership practices and to identify a cross-section of stakeholders within that school. The participants were the principal, Board of Trustees chairperson, assistant principal, teacher, general staff member, and student. Data were gathered from concept maps, semi-structured interviews and selected school documents such as the school's Education Review Office report and staff job descriptions. Data were analysed using grounded theory methods of analysis, specifically the use of constant comparison through open and axial coding. The findings of the study are presented and examined in terms of three theoretical propositions that encapsulate the stakeholders' meanings of effective school leadership. The first proposition examines three core values - concern for the individual, a commitment to learning, and an expectation of high performance - that permeated the school and influenced stakeholders' meanings and leadership practices. The second proposition examines the provision of direction, which involved articulation of a strong vision, use of symbols and ceremonies, modelling valued practices and beliefs, and raising the aspirations of staff and students. The third proposition examines leading and managing processes, which included the development of a team structure, leading and managing staff appointment [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/966 fatcat:taj5mt5rgfdphaom33gjfeseku