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Recent Developments in the Field of Educational Leadership: The Challenge of Complexity


Mulford, B, Recent Developments in the Field of Educational Leadership: The Challenge of Complexity, Second International Handbook of Educational Change, Springer, A Hargreaves, A Lieberman, M Fullan M &D Hopkins (ed), Heidelberg, pp. 187-208. ISBN 978-90-481-2659-0 (2010) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2010 Springer

DOI: doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2660-6


In this "golden age" of school leadership (Anderson et al., 2007; Day & Leithwood, 2007) the field is faced with the fact that "new managerialism" which emhraced managerial efficiency and effectiveness through bureaucracy and accountability as key levers for reforming schools has failed. It is argued that it is time that the professionals and educational leaders strive to ensure what happens now and in the future is what they want to happen (Gronn, 2003; Hargreaves & Fink, 2006; Hyman, 2005; Leadheater, 2004a; MacBeath, 2006; Mulford, 2003a; OECD, 2006). However, overcoming the gap hetween dependence on, or a feeling of the inevitability of. system or school bureaucracies as the means of achieving what they want and their preferred model of seeing schools as social centres and learning organisations remains a challenge.

In order to achieve greater professional control, educational leaders need to understand and be able to act on the context, organisation and leadership of the school, as well as the interrelationship among these three elements. A single input by a leader can have multiple outcomes. Success, therefore, will depend on which elements and in what sequence the educational leader chooses to spend time and attention on (Mulford, 2007b; NCSL, 2007). Recent developments in the field suggest the elements for successful educational leadership involve being contextually "literate", organisationally 'savvy" and leadership "smart". To add to the complexity, successful educational leaders are the prime vehicle for linking all three elements.

This chapter draws on mainly Western literature to examine each of these elements and then the interrelationships among them.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:change, education, institutional
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Educational administration, management and leadership
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Management, resources and leadership
UTAS Author:Mulford, B (Professor Bill Mulford)
ID Code:67025
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2011-02-23
Last Modified:2015-03-05
Downloads:19 View Download Statistics

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