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Cultivating leadership in education

Murray, S. E. (2018) Cultivating leadership in education. DBA thesis, Henley Business School, University of Reading

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This research explores the relationship between leaders and organizational performance from the perspective of a public school education system that serves students from the beginning years of Kindergarten to High School graduation. Significant literature exists that acknowledges the known impact and behaviours of leaders for organizational success. It also highlights the need for further research into the design and impact of leadership development opportunities for both potential and current leaders in the organization. This research further explores the specific behaviours, actions and thinking of current leaders and school principals in the system that have a demonstrated impact on results, as defined by objective academic and culture performance measures along with affective responses from teachers. The literature review focuses on the impact of leaders in both education and management from the theoretical stance of transformational leadership given its direct link between leadership behaviours and organizational performance. It highlights current research related to the impact of the leader on organizational success and indicates multi-dimensional characteristics to develop and explore as part of an integrated leadership model. Research related to leadership development along with current models/frameworks for school leadership development are solely reviewed to assess the behaviours, actions, and practices identified as elements of a successful principalship. Having positioned the research in the literature, the proposal defines the reasons for a mixed-methods research design. The case is made for a relativist research paradigm in Chapter 3 which outlines the research design and methodology. Careful consideration is given to the specific research methods and data analysis techniques from both a quantitative and qualitative stance. The findings of this thesis support the effects of transformational leadership on student performance. In the quantitative study, the results showed a positive effect of principal leadership, as measured by transformational leadership on several student achievement and culture variables. There was also a positive effect on the teacher outcomes in relation to the actions of the principals. The qualitative study identified attributes, actions, thinking and practices that were common, integrating transformational leadership behaviours, instructional leadership, strategic thinking, networking and contextual awareness. The findings suggest that an integrated leadership approach is linked to student success. It supports past research that identifies links, both direct and indirect, between the transformational behaviours of the principal and student achievement and engagement. Furthermore, it adds to the research field by identifying multidimensional variables beyond those of transformational leadership that are essential actions, knowledge, and behaviours for effective principal leadership.

Item Type:Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Supervisor:Hejazi, W. and Graca, A.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School
ID Code:80455
Date on Title Page:2017


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