Transforming leadership
: a case study of the dynamic nature of educational leadership and school development

  • William Beales

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The aim of this research has been to analyse school leadership processes during a period of significant change and development. The methodologies used were characterised by a naturalistic and interpretive forms of enquiry as I sought to determine the way in which the individual responded to, modified and interpreted the environment to which they belonged. The three research design elements of semi-structured interviews, questionnaire-based survey and documentation analysis allowed trustworthy detailed descriptions and analysis of the context and emerging leadership to be recorded. The purpose of the research was to provide an understanding of school leadership grounded in practice, underpinned by the various theoretical leadership constructs that drew on established leadership theories, in order to give new perspectives and insights and suggesting further avenues for research and development.

    The research points to the central importance of capacity and competency building in response to the changing aspirations and vision of the school. Further, it has been argued that the degree of competency and capacity development has a direct bearing on the style of leadership exercised. In particular, attention is drawn to the dynamic and fluid nature of leadership processes that are context and needs driven. Comparisons between the static model of leadership advocated in research literature with the dynamic and responsive leadership advocated through this research is made.

    The normative theoretical constructs associated with transformational leadership are used to describe the various leadership actions as they change over time in the case study school. A case is made for asserting that whilst transformational leadership constructs are useful for describing actions once they have occurred, they are limited in their usefulness as planning tools, since leadership practices are an inherent product of the culture and setting in which they operate.

    The transforming leadership model is introduced to represent the dynamic and changing nature of leadership. Within the transforming leadership model the concepts of transformational cycles, competency deficit, critical mass dynamic and delimited distributed leadership are introduced. The transforming leadership model has the potential to provide educational leaders with a framework on which to base leadership actions in a way that reflects the dynamic context of educational leadership, and with which to understand and analyse their leadership actions.

    Date of Award2006
    Original languageEnglish


    • Educational leadership
    • Education

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