Running head: DISTRIBUTED LEADERSHIP IN SCHOOLS
Distributed Leadership: An Action Research Project
Gary W. Street
Washington State University
Ed Research 521
QUESTIONS AND ANNONTATIONS
What are the Leadership Functions Performed in Schools, and by
Heller, M. J. & Firestone, W. A. (1995). Who’s in charge here?
Sources of leadership for change in eight schools. The
Elementary School Journal, 96 (1), 65 – 85.
Heller and Firestone studied eight elementary schools in
four districts that have implemented a social problem solving
program (SPS)for at least three years, to determine how six
leadership functions were performed in each school, how the
functions contributed to the levels of institutionalization of
SPS, “what roles contributed to function performance, and how
those roles were configured” (pg. 72). The authors point out
research supporting effective leadership as a set of functions
by many individuals in differing roles. They maintain,
“Successful change in schools results not from the work of a key
leader but from the effective performance of a series of change
leadership functions” (pg. 67). They continue, “This line of
reasoning suggests that certain tasks need to be accomplished,
but it does not matter who does them” (pg. 67). The six
leadership functions identified for this study are:
providing and selling a vision,
providing encouragement and recognition,
adapting standard operating procedures,
monitoring the improvement effort,
Seven suburban schools selected for the study were similar
in SES (moderate wealth). One inner city school had a high
percentage of free and reduced lunches. Based on SPS consultant
data regarding levels of institutionalizing of SPS, the eight
schools were divided into three groups. Four schools fully
institutionalized SPS, three schools institutionalized SPS in a
token manner, and one school partially implemented it.
Forty-two teachers, principals and central office
administrators were interviewed in the eight schools and four
districts over a period of four months. Interviews focused on
the following areas: assessing institutionalization and
sentiments about SPS, leadership functions as related to change,
and an evaluation of major roles to perform the functions.
The authors triangulated data across roles to verify the
levels of institutionalization at each school – e.g. SPS
consultant information regarding institutionalization was
verified with teacher information. Next, they reviewed
interview information to “clarify the extent to which change
function had been attended to in each school, and if so, to what
extent their contribution to whatever level of
institutionalization had been noted” (pg. 72). Finally, the
authors used interview data to determine the roles that
contributed to accomplishment of the above functions.
Based on interview responses, all of the six leadership
functions were present in the four schools identified as fully
institutionalizing SPS. Only two of the six leadership
functions were present in the token institutionalization school.
Teachers in schools fully institutionalizing SPS fulfilled at
least five leadership functions. Principals and central office
personnel also performed various functions inherent to their
positions – e.g. providing resources, scheduling. The authors
note a “redundancy” of leadership functions performed by a
variety of roles in the four schools fully institutionalizing
SPS. Results from this study suggest that the success of the
SPS initiative in the four schools was not dependent on the
principal alone, but on the leadership functions shared by all.
Mayrowetz, D., & Weinstein, C. S. (1999). Sources of leadership
for inclusive education: creating schools for all children.
Educational Administrative Quarterly, 35 (4), 423 – 449.
The authors examined inclusive leadership in three schools
in relation to the degree of implementation and
institutionalization of special education inclusion. They also
examined whether leadership functions were performed primarily
from school administrators, or performed by others in a variety
The six leadership functions used in the study were:
providing and selling a vision, providing encouragement and
recognition, obtaining resources, adapting standard operating
procedures, monitoring, and handling disturbances.
Mayrowetz and Weinstein studied a K-2 primary school, a 3-6
intermediate school and a 7-8 middle school from one district to
determine leadership functions as related to
institutionalization of special education inclusion in each
school. They collected data from administrator and teacher
interviews, information from policies and practices,
observations of formal and informal staff meetings on inclusion,
and case studies of four special education children with a focus
on inclusion, the teacher and the aide. The data was coded
using the six leadership functions. They concluded that the
level of redundancy in leadership functions were consistent with
the degree to which inclusion was institutionalized in the three
schools. At the K-2 school, thirty-eight leadership functions
to implement inclusion were performed by individuals in eight
roles. At the 3-6 school, thirty-nine leadership functions to
implement inclusion were performed by individuals in eight
roles. At the middle school, twenty-seven leadership functions
to implement inclusion were performed by individuals in eight
roles. Based on observational data and interviews, the K-2 and
3-6 schools institutionalized inclusion to a greater degree than
the middle school. The authors note that the level of
involvement and commitment by principals at each of the schools
may have been a factor in the degree to which inclusion was
institutionalized. Finally, they conclude that leadership
functions at the three schools were performed and shared within
eight roles. The authors note that the middle school teachers
performed only three functions, whereas grade school teachers
performed a total of six. The principal and assistant principal
at the middle school performed five functions, and the
principals at the elementary schools each performed six
Robinson, V. M., & Timperley, H. S. (2007). The Leadership of
the Improvement of Teaching and Learning: Lessons from
Initiative with Positive Outcomes for Students. Australian
Journal of Education, 51(3), 247 - 259.
Robinson and Timperley examined professional development
initiatives that have made a positive impact on students and
teachers. They then analyzed seventeen studies with evidence of
such impact, and noted all leadership practices employed. All
demonstrated leadership practices were collapsed into five broad
dimensions: goal setting co-constructed by teachers and outside
researchers or professional developers; ensuring strategic
alignment of resources and pedagogy; creating and maintaining a
professional learning community that focuses on improvement of
student achievement; engaging in constructive dialogue about
problematic instructional practices, and gaining commitment to
address them; and selecting and developing smart tools – the
resources needed to address teaching and learning and impact
The five leadership practices were carried out by those in
formal leadership positions and those not in formal leadership
positions. All leadership dimensions impacted student
performance in the seventeen studies. Distributed leadership was
evident in the studies with respect to “who exercised leadership
and how it was practiced” (pg. 258).
The author note that the leadership practices carried out
by teachers and principals, should not be viewed as distinct
practices, but integrated into continual “cycles of inquiry”
regarding student and staff needs (pg. 258).
Walstrom, K. L., & Louis, K. S. (2008). How teachers experience
principal leadership: the roles of professional trust,
efficacy and responsibility. Educational Administrative
Quarterly, 44(4), 458 - 495.
Walstrom and Louis examine factors “that are present in
principal-teacher interactions and teacher to teacher
relationships, to see how those may have an impact on teachers’
classroom instructional practices” (pg. 458). Data from the
study was based on the Teacher Survey collected from 4,165
K – 12 teachers across the United States. Their findings
indicate a relationship between strong instructional practices
and shared leadership. The three practices identified for the
study were standard contemporary practice (a focus on student
exploration and making connections to the real world), focused
instructional practice (an emphasis on pacing of instruction and
academic learning) and flexible grouping practice (groupings of
students based on needs).
Shared leadership and four PLC variables - reflective
dialogue, collective responsibility, deprivatization of
practice, and shared norms - had a significant impact on
standard contemporary practice, resulting in R²= .065. Shared
leadership with PLC variables had a significant impact on
flexible grouping practice resulting in R²= .086. Shared
leadership and PLC variables had a significant impact of .2 on
focused instructional practice.
Watson, S. T., & Scribner, J. P. (2007). Beyond distributed
leadership: collaboration, interaction, and emergent
reciprocal influence. Journal of School Leadership,
Watson and Scribner probe into the conceptual foundations
of the term leadership, and offer a framework for leadership
grounded in collaboration, participation and learning. They
conceptualize leadership, “as the process and product of social
interaction that influences purposive human activity” (pg.445).
“The interactional processes of teacher collaboration has
revealed dimensions of how a form leadership conceived as
emergent reciprocal influence develops within organizations” (pg
447). They maintain that the interactional nature of
distributed leadership does not “reside a few individuals”, but
is spread across the organization (pg 451).
How is Leadership Conceptualized as Distributed in Schools?
What are the Effects of Distributed Leadership on School
Anderson, K. D., (2003). The nature of teacher leadership in
schools as reciprocal influences between teachers leaders
and principals. School Effectivenss and School
Improvement, 15 (1), 97-114.
Anderson studied six schools in Saskatoon, Canada noted for
teacher leadership, to determine the influences between teacher
leaders and principals. Anderson notes that because of recent
reform mandates, there has been a shift in emphasis to a greater
involvement of teachers in leadership, decision making and
improvement efforts. Anderson maintains that schools where
principals utilize teacher leaders effectively in reform efforts
have more effective schools than principals who do not. In
addition, principals in successful schools are able to identify
key teachers, and influence them to take leadership roles.
These principals allow teachers to make decisions about teaching
and learning. Teacher leaders in successful schools influence
principals on matters of direction, pedagogy and resources. The
authors assert that because of new leadership roles in schools,
there is a need to better understand the reciprocal nature of
leadership influences between principals and teachers.
Based on interviews of twenty-eight teachers and principals
in the six schools studied, three models of reciprocal
leadership are identified: buffered, interactive and contested.
In the three schools typifying the buffered model of
reciprocal leadership, principals were isolated from other
teachers, and interacted primarily with teacher leaders. They
utilized teacher leaders as “foot soldiers” in sharing various
leadership functions. Because a core group of teachers are
identified as leaders in this model, it leaves out other
potential teacher leaders.
In the two schools using the interactive model, principals
promoted greater teacher leadership by interacting with all
teachers, distributing decision making among them, and ensuring
active teacher participation. Teachers in these schools were
not appointed to leadership roles, but led in areas they found
meaningful. Anderson notes that the interactive model mirrors
In the school identified as using a contested model, the
principal was “outside the loop” and was against his teacher
leaders. Teacher leaders in this school attempted to take
decision making from the control of the principal. Teacher
leaders were viewed as being able to stand up to the principal.
Principal decisions were often contested. Other potential
teacher leaders were encouraged by their peers to reject
Beatty, B. (2007). Going through the emotions: leadership that
gets to the heart of school renewal. Australian Journal of
Education, 51(3), 328 - 340.
Beatty maintains that shared leadership for “whole school
renewal..requires emotionally safe spaces for learning and
growing together” (pg. 329). He asserts that for shared
leadership to be effective in school renewal, leaders must be
aware of emotional influences, interpersonal relationships, and
group dynamics of their schools. In addition, principals and
teachers must collectively define the processes they will use to
make decisions, as well as define their purpose. He maintains
that for whole school renewal, adjustments must be made to
collectively create a culture where leadership is pervasive. He
maintains that to re-culture our schools for shared leadership
as part of this renewal, leaders must build relationships with
others. Bureaucratic hierarchies, he maintains, “create
patterns in emotional responses in accordance with perceptions
of power and lack of it” (pg. 329). This perception of power
can result in “emotional fall out” from which “leaders and
others need to recover” for renewal and distributed leadership
in schools (pg. 338).
Camburn, E., Rowan, B., & Taylor, J. (2003). Distributed
leadership in schools: the case of elementary schools
adopting comprehensive school reform models. Educational
Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 25(4), 347 - 373.
Camburn, Rowan, and Taylor study elementary schools that
have adopted comprehensive school reform models (CSR), and how
these models affect the distribution of leadership. They
maintain that the focus of research on school leadership has
changed from “what” the principal leader does on a daily basis,
to “the leadership exercised by teachers, external change agents
and others” (pg.348). The data used for the study included 374
elementary school leaders (principals, coordinators and others)
who were given the School Leadership Questionnaire, and 100
principals who were given the School Characteristic Inventory
(SCI). The study compares intervention schools – schools using
the CSR model, and comparison schools, within 17 geographical
regions in the United States. Schools using the CSR Model
influence the distribution of leadership across various
positions. In addition, schools using the CSR model allocated
more leadership positions, 5:1 - teacher to leader, than
comparison schools, 9:1 - teacher to leader. The CSR model was
significantly associated with how leadership was configured, and
the extent to which leadership functions were activated.
Harris, A. (2007). Distributed Leadership: Conceptual confusion
and empirical reticence. International Journal of
Leadership in Education, 10(3), 315 - 325.
Harris maintains that distributed leadership has not been
clearly defined. In addition, much of the literature written
about distributed leadership in regards to student learning is
not based on research. A majority of research has focused on
“how leadership is distributed rather than focusing upon the
effects or impact of the different forms of distribution” (Pg
319). Harris points out studies that provide some evidence of
the “benefits of distributive leadership to teacher
effectiveness”, student engagement, and positive student
outcomes (pg.319). Harris maintains that because of the
demands on schools today, one individual cannot do the work.
Therefore, greater “emphasis is being placed on teachers as
Jordanoglou, D. (2007). The teacher as leader: the relationship
between emotional intelligence and leadership
effectiveness, commitment, and satisfaction. Journal of
Leadership Studies, 1 (3) 57 – 66.
Jordanoglou studied the relationships among emotional
intelligence, leadership effectiveness, commitment and
satisfaction in education. The study sample included 210
teachers from different schools in Athens, Greece. Jordanoglou
hypothesized the following: emotional intelligence has a
positive relationship with leadership behavior, commitment, and
effectiveness of teachers; leadership behaviors have a positive
relationship with teacher effectiveness and satisfaction; and, a
positive relationship is expected between commitment and
Jordanoglou utilized five questionnaires for his study to
assess intrapersonal, intrapersonal, adaptability, stress
management, and general mood; to assess seven teacher leadership
roles of managing interpersonal relationships, developing
others, managing innovations, managing execution, managing
continuous improvement, team building, and energizing people; to
assess job satisfaction; to assess effectiveness. Results using
standardized regression estimates are as follows: emotional
intelligence has a significant effective on leadership roles -
.48, effectiveness - .39, and commitment - .39. In addition,
leadership roles exert a strong influence on effectiveness -
.41, and satisfaction - .22. Commitment had a moderate effect
on satisfaction - .33, and effectiveness - .34.
Mayrowetz, D., (2008). Making sense of distributed
leadership: exploring the multiple usages of the concept in
the field. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44 (3)424
Mayrowetz inventories four diverse research perspectives of
the term distributed leadership, discusses their strengths and
weaknesses, and offers suggestions for researchers to link the
above perspectives to the practical concerns in education. He
maintains, the term “attracts a range of meanings and is
associated with a variety of practices..and these significant
discrepancies allow researchers to talk past each other.” (pg.
Below are the four perspectives of distributed leadership
Usage 1: distributed leadership is viewed as an activity
“stretched over multiple people” (pg. 426).
Usage 2: distributed leadership is viewed as a democracy
and shared among all in a democratic way. Some researchers
suggest that a democracy in leadership can have negative
results for teachers and schools.
Usage 3: distributed leadership is viewed for the purposes
of efficiency and effectiveness. Teachers engage in
leadership activities if they have the expertise – e.g.
reading coaches, lead teachers. Using these experts to
assist in leadership makes the job of principal “do-able”.
Mayrowetz notes that not all potential leaders are, or will
be, good leaders. The distribution of leadership could
result in the “distribution of incompetence” (pg, 430).
Usage 4: distributed leadership is viewed as a means for
capacity building. Usage 4 promotes multiple people
engaging in leadership roles so as to learn more about
themselves and the problems facing the school. To achieve
this, it requires re-culturing a school. Mayrowetz notes
that usage 4 may be in the best position for school
improvement because it promotes all teachers in the
engagement of various roles of leadership.
Ogawa, R. T. & Bossert, S. T., 1995. Leadership as an
organizational quality. Educational Administrative
Quarterly, 31 (2), 224-243.
Ogawa and Bossert assert that leadership in an organization
flows through individuals in different roles, and is influenced
by the personal resources – e.g. knowledge, experience,
position. To support this view, they provide the conceptual
roots of organizational leadership, and outline 4 assumptions
guiding it: function, role, the individual, and culture. They
then discuss different perspectives of organizational leadership
- technical-rational and institutional – and how they lead to
different treatments of the above assumptions. Finally, they
offer an alternative view of organizational leadership, focusing
on different treatments of the 4 leadership assumptions within
an institutional perspective.
From the technical rational perspective, individuals are
assigned a hierarchal leadership role for the purpose of
achieving organizational goals. Culture is shaped by the leader
from this perspective. The organization is a reflection of the
leader’s traits and actions.
The institutional perspective sets leadership at the
organizational level, not on an individual level, and is
concerned with survival by seeking external legitimacy. To
achieve external legitimacy and survive, leadership from the
institutional perspective is distributed through individuals
across a network of roles. These roles are based on the
resources individuals possess and/or have access to – e.g.
knowledge, position. Ogawa and Bossert adopt the institutional
perspective, because they believe that, “Among emerging
conceptualizations, it provides a promising viewpoint for
examining the many facets of school organization” (pg. 227).
Printy, S. M. & Marks, H. M. (2006). Shared leadership for
teacher and student learning. Theory into Practice, 45
Printy and Marks examined how principals and teachers
contribute to shared instructional leadership in schools, and
the relationship of this leadership with student and teacher
They studied two schools – Ashley Elementary located in the
deep South, and Flinders High School located in the West - where
shared leadership is highly evident.
The authors note that the high levels of trust in each of
the schools facilitated teacher and principal interactions.
Teachers at both schools felt free to talk about instructional
matters and other issues. Discussions often led to changes that
guided their work. In both schools, teacher leaders emerged
because of their perceived expertise. Teachers held each other
accountable for learning. Slackers - those not willing to follow
the goals set by the schools - were not tolerated. Non-
conforming teachers were ignored by their peers and often
pressured to leave. At both schools, student progress was
monitored by principals and teachers. In addition, innovations
to teaching and learning were encouraged. The above examples of
shared leadership resulted in coherent and stable instructional
Scribner, J. P., Sawyer, R. K., Watson, S. T., Myers, V. L.
(2007). Teacher teams and distributed leadership: a study
of group discourse and collaboration. Educational
Administration Quarterly, 43 (1), 67 – 100.
J. Scribner, R. Sawyer, S. Watson and V. Myers explore the
social (interactions) and situational aspects of distributed
leadership as related to two teacher teams in a large Missouri
high school (building PLT and instructional PLT). The authors
pose the following questions for their study: What factors
contribute to or interfere with team decision making? What
discursive patterns are associated with leadership within
teacher work teams? What organizational conditions foster or
impede leadership within teacher work teams?
Teacher leadership emerges from the network of
relationships between people. This network focuses on the
activities of leaders, not who formally leads. Researchers
suggest that when schools have teachers in self managed teams –
teams with a specific purpose of making decisions regarding
education, student achievement is higher. Little is known
though, about the interactional processes of teacher teams.
Using comparative and discourse analyses, the authors noted
three constructs that “emerged” from their study regarding the
interactions of team members: purpose, autonomy and patterns of
discourse. They note that purpose and autonomy shaped the
direction and discussion within each teams.
This article brings to light a few of the problems teams
may face in shared leadership and decision making. Noting the
relationship between purpose and autonomy, the authors maintain
that the problem solving team faced a “disabling autonomy”,
engaging in discussions that were administrative. The
instructional PLT’s experienced enabling autonomy, engaging in
meaning discussions regarding teaching and learning. The authors
caution, the instructional PLT “was at risk of solving the wrong
problem or developing solutions that lacked innovation and
creativity because of the team’s agreed-on narrow charge and its
lack of focus on problem solving” (pg. 87). Because of each
team’s charge and challenge, the social interactions of each
team, were different. The building PLT interactions were often
passive (exchanging information and questioning) in the absence
of autonomy. The instructional PLT was characterized with a
“balance of active and passive” discourse (pg. 89).
Spillane, J. P. (2005). Distributed Leadership. The Educational
Forum, 69(Winter), 143-150.
Spillane focuses on the “practice” of distributed
leadership and the “how” it is distributed. Spillane maintains
that an individual leader cannot “single-handedly lead schools
to greatness; leadership involves an array of individuals with
various tools and structures” (pg 143). He also points out
problems with studies that focus on the “what of leadership –
structures, functions, routines, and roles – rather than the how
of school leadership – the daily performance of leadership
routines, functions, and structures” (pg 143). In the article,
he defines how leadership is spread out “over an interactive web
of people and situations” (pg. 144). He maintains, “From a
distributed perspective, leadership is a system of practice
comprised of a collection of interacting components: leaders,
followers, and situation” (pg. 150). He continues, “These
interacting components must be understood together because the
system is more than the sum of the component parts and
Spillane, J. P., Halverson, R., & Diamond, J. B. (2001).
Investigating school leadership practice: a distributed
perspective. Educational Researcher, April, 23-27.
The authors begin with a distributive leadership theory
from a “cognitive” perspective which has “social origins”. They
maintain, “Cognition is distributed though the environments’
material and cultural artifacts and throughout other people in
collaborate efforts to complete complex tasks” (pg. 23). Their
study focuses on the leader as a “unit of analysis” rather than
individuals as leaders, and how leadership practice and tasks
are “distributed among both positional and informal leaders”.
They give examples from the elementary schools they studied
where the enactment of interdependent tasks, in and out of the
classroom, “lead to the evolution of a leadership practice that
is potentially more than the sum of each individual’s practice”
Is there a relationship between distributed leadership and
Leithwood, K., & Jantzi, D., (1999). The relative effects of
Principal and teacher sources of leadership on student
engagement with school. Educational Administration
Quarterly, 35 (December) 679 – 706.
Leithwood and Jantzi inquire about the effects of principal
and teacher sources of leadership on student engagement and
school conditions. They also identify similarities and
differences of schools in regards to how leadership is
The authors assert that findings in other studies done on
the relationships of principals on student achievement have been
inconclusive. The authors continue, “Studies that include
mediating and/or moderating variables in their designs tend to
report significant relationships” (pg. 681). Leithwood and
Jantzi identify mediating variables for their study as purposes
and goals – collectively setting the direction for a school,
planning –collectively establishing and accomplishing
challenging yet attainable goals that are motivational to an
organization, organizational culture – the shared norms, values,
beliefs and assumptions of an organization, structure and
organization – the “nature of relationships established among
people and groups in a school and between the school and its
external constituents” (pg. 683), and information collections
and decision making – how information is collected to for
decision making and which members are involved in decisions.
Student engagement is used as a dependent variable in the study
because of its link to student performance (pg. 685).
A 5-point Likert survey was administered to all K-9
teachers (n=2,465) regarding school conditions and leadership.
A second likert scale was administered to students on engagement
and family educational culture (n=9,941 responses). Path
analysis was used to assess the relationships among separate
variables. Principal leadership had a small effect (.15) on
student participation and a significant effect with school
conditions (.66). Correlation coefficients for teacher
leadership on participation were insignificant (.14), but were
significant on school conditions (.52).
Regression analysis was used to estimate the strength of
relationships between the five mediating school conditions and
teacher and principal leadership. Principal leadership had
modest effects on culture (.26) and structure and organization
(.27). Teacher leadership had weak effects on all school
conditions (.05 to .10).
The authors note that the findings may be disappointing to
those advocating for more teacher leadership in schools. Given
the findings, they question the motivation for educators to
merge the concept of leadership with the teaching profession.
They note that the concept of teaching has been established and
is honored. They also question whether the merging of these two
distinct roles could devalue “the status of the teacher” and do
a disservice “to the concept of leadership” (pg. 700). They
conclude, “If everyone is a leader, does not the concept lose
all value as a legitimate distinction among social and
organizational practices?” (pg. 701).
Leithwood, K., & Mascall, B., (2008). Collective leadership
effects on student achievement. Educational Administrative
Quarterly, 44 (4), 529 – 561.
Leithwood and Mascall explore the impact of shared
leadership on teacher variables and student achievement, the
direct influence of different collective leadership sources, and
different patterns of collective leadership as related to
Stratified random sampling was used to select teachers from
9 states, 45 districts and 180 schools. 2,570 teachers
responded to a survey measuring collective leadership. The
survey also measured three teacher performance variables:
teacher capacity, teacher motivation, and teacher work settings
and conditions. Student math and reading data were collected
over 3 years from state web sites to measure student
Causal relationships among collective leadership, teacher
capacity, teacher motivation and teacher work setting and
conditions were measured using Pearson Production Correlation
Coefficients and LISREL Structural Equations Modeling.
There were correlations among all teacher performance
variables and collective leadership. A strong correlation was
evident between collective leadership and work settings – r=
.58. Teacher motivation and collective leadership was also
significant at r=.55. All variables, except for teacher
capacity, were significantly related to student performance.
Collective leadership on student performance was significant –
r=.34. LISREL path analysis, indicate indirect effects of
collective leadership on student achievement indicate r=.24.
Maeyer, Sven D.,Rymenans, R., Van Petegem, P., van den Bergh, H,
& Rijaarsda, G., (2007). Educational leadership and pupil
achievement: the choice of a valid conceptual model to test
effects in school effectiveness research. School
Effectiveness and School Improvement, 18 (2) 125 – 145.
The authors present a reanalysis of data from a previous
study on the effects of integrated leadership on student
performance done by Maeyer (2004), using four conceptual models:
Model 1 assumes a direct effect from integrated leadership
on student performance.
Model 2 assumes an indirect effect from integrated
leadership on student performance.
Model 3 assumes both indirect and direct effects from
integrated leadership on student performance.
Model 4 assumes direct and indirect effects, and assumes a
direct effect from school context factors on integrated
leadership and academic climate.
Using path analysis to test the models, the authors
maintain that model 4 is the best fit for possible conclusions
regarding integrated leadership on student performance. By
using model 4 and adding the antecedents (IQ, SES, linguistics
ethnic, gender) effects to the analysis, the authors learn that
“integrated leadership has only an indirect effect through
academic climate, on pupils’ reading proficiency” (pg. 141).
They conclude that by adding school context factors, their
conclusions are “closer to the complex reality of education”
Marks, H. M., & Printy, S. M., (2003). Principal leadership and
school performance: an interaction of transformational and
instructional leadership. Educational Administrative
Quarterly, 39 (3), 370 – 397.
Marks and Printy study teacher and principal leadership
relations in 24 nationally selected restructured schools, and
its impact on instruction and student achievement.
Shared instructional leadership theory is inclusive,
allowing teachers to share decisions (and accountability) with
the principal regarding instruction and reform efforts.
Although the principal remains the educational leader in the
school in this model, teachers who have expertise or personal
information, may “exercise leadership collaboratively with the
principal” (pg. 374). Teachers inquire together regarding
instructional problems, and work together as “communities of
learners” (pg. 374). Principals promote teacher reflection on
instructional practices, and support them through professional
development opportunities. Transformational leadership theory
provides “direction and aims at innovating within the
organization, while empowering and supporting teachers as
partners in decision making” (pg. 371). Its goal is to improve
organizational performance via collective capacity.
Research questions for this study focused on the
relationship between transformational leadership and shared
instructional leadership on teaching and student performance.
One hundred and forty four teachers were rated three times
on instruction by multiple observers. Over 5000 artifacts of
social studies and math student work were scored by trained
professionals according to standards of authentic achievement.
Shared instructional leadership and transformational leadership,
as independent variables, were constructed through teacher and
principal interviews, and observations in the field.
Nine out of the twenty-four schools scored low on both
instructional and transformational leadership. Six schools
demonstrated high transformational leadership. Seven schools
scored high in both transformational and shared instructional
Low leadership schools averaged -.67 SD on instruction and
-.83 SD on achievement. High leadership schools averaged .85 SD
on instruction and .85 SD on achievement. Using multilevel
analysis to control variables, high leadership schools were .6
SD higher than low leadership schools on instruction and .6 SD
higher on achievement.
The findings indicate that an integrated approach to
leadership results in higher levels of achievement and
instruction. The authors conclude, “When the principal elicits
high levels of commitment from teachers and works interactively
with teachers in a shared instructional leadership capacity,
schools have the benefits of integrated leadership; they are
organizations that learn and perform at high levels” (pg. 393).
Maxcy, B. D., & Nguyen, T. S. (2006). The politics of
distributing leadership. Educational Policy, 20(1), 163 –
Maxcy and Nguyen examine the “heroic leadership
portrayals”, the politics and impact of distributed leadership
and its “implications for democratic school governance” in two
Texas schools (Chavez Elementary and Pecan Springs Elementary)
(pg. 163). Chavez Elementary used Firestone and Heller’s (FH)
model of redistributed leadership. FH structures leadership
around “essential functions so that efforts might be more
productively guided and directed, structured and supported” (pg.
168) FH does not confine leadership to a person in a formal
role, such as the principal, but enacted leadership “by members
throughout the organization” (pg. 168). The authors maintain
that the FH principle was not enacted fully at Chavez because
teacher work was controlled by political pressures to perform.
Chavez, in essence, was steered at a distance. Chavez ES earned
an exemplary rating in 2002.
Pecan Elementary School was selected for this study because
of its recent need to expand the VLC (Vietnamese Language)
program, and because the distribution of leadership within the
school community was “crucial to its expansion” (176). Pecan
redistributed leadership using Spillane, Halverson and Diamond’s
(SHD) model of leadership. The SHD model shifts the focus from
behaviors of individuals in formal roles to interdependence
among leaders, followers and situations” (pg. 173). Teachers,
parents and administrators were able to successfully sustain,
improve and expand the VLC program through interdependent
leadership practices, even with high political and
administrative demands. The program was deemed successful
according to a variety of measures. In fact, the high number of
self imposed performance measures used in the program,
facilitated reciprocal accountability that transcended
curricular and standardized tests. These added measures also
helped legitimize the program. The authors maintain that the
leadership by the VLC leaders reflected a “distribution more
sophisticated and complex” than Firestone or Spillane’s models.
Pounder, D. G., Ogawa, R. T., Adams, E. A., (1995). Leadership
as an organization-wide phenomena: its impact on school
performance. Educational Administration Quarterly, 31 (4),
564 – 588.
Pounder, Ogawa and Adams examine relationships between
leadership exercised by principals, teachers and others, with
the 4 functions of effective organizations (adaptation, goal
achievement, integration, latency), and school effectiveness
measures (perceptions of effectiveness, student achievement
based on an SAT adjusted average over three years, student
absenteeism, and staff turnover rates).
A total of fifty-seven middle and elementary schools were
selected for the study. Stratified random sampling was used to
select over one thousand interview participants from the
schools. Seventy eight percent were teachers. Other
respondents included principals, secretaries and community
Path analysis results indicated that overall leadership was
related to two leadership functions – goal achievement (.25) and
latency (.40) – which were associated with four measures of
school effectiveness – student achievement, staff turn-over,
student absenteeism, and perceived effectiveness. Results are
consistent with “the theoretical framework, which suggests that
organizational leadership, affects organizational performance by
shaping the organization of work and by building commitment”
Leadership exerted by parents had a significant affect on
absenteeism (-.48) and student achievement (.39). Leadership
exerted by principals and teacher groups positively affected
latency and commitment, which affected perceived effectiveness
and turnover. Leadership by principals and teachers together
did not affect student absenteeism and achievement.
The authors were surprised by their analyses of individuals
exerting leadership as related to outcome measures. The
leadership exerted by secretaries had a negative relationship (-
.27) to student achievement. Principal leadership was not
directly associated with student achievement (-0.02). Finally,
the leadership of individual teachers was not related to
organizational functions or school performance.
Robinson, V. M., & Lloyd, C. A., Rowe, K. J. (2008). The impact
of leadership on student outcomes: an analysis of the
differential effects of leadership types. Educational
Administration Quarterly, 44 (5), 635 – 674.
Robinson, Lloyd and Rowe conducted two meta-analyses of 27
published studies between 1978 and 2006 to determine the impact
of instructional leadership theory, transformation leadership
theory, and leadership practices, on student outcomes. Fifteen
of the studies focused on the principal as the source of
The first study analyzed the impact of instructional and
transformational leadership theories on student outcomes.
Transformational leadership had a weak impact on student
outcomes (5 studies, 13 effects, ES = 0.11) whereas
instructional leadership had moderate impact (12 studies, 188
effects, ES = 0.42). Other types of leadership had an impact of
0.30 on student outcomes (5 studies, 50 effects). Two of the 5
“other types of leadership” were from a distributed perspective.
Integrated leadership - teacher and principal influence on
instruction – resulted in an ES of 0.56 (Marks and Printy,
2003). Social network theory - principal and teacher included
in network – resulted in an ES of 0.41 (Friedkin and Slater,
The second study analyzed the impact of 5 leadership
dimensions on student outcomes. The five dimensions are:
establishing goals; strategic resourcing; planning, coordinating
and evaluating teaching and the curriculum; promoting and
participating in teacher learning and development; and ensuring
and orderly and supportive environment. Dimension 3, planning,
coordination and evaluating teaching and the curriculum, based
on 80 indicators across 9 studies, had a moderate impact (ES
=0.41) on student outcomes. The authors note that in the
higher performing schools studied, leaders engaged teachers in
“collegial” discussions regarding teaching and student
achievement, leaders had “direct oversight” over the
instructional programs, and “leaders and staff worked together
to review and improve teaching – an idea captured by that of
shared instructional leadership” (pg. 662).
The authors note that their findings are similar to Robert
Marzano’s findings on overall leadership effects (0.40);
findings which were based on “unpublished evidence” (pg. 665).
They caution that out of 70 studies included in Marzano’s meta-
analysis, only 10 used published evidence.
Timperley, H. (2005). Distributed leadership: developing theory
from practice. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 37(4), 395 -
Timperley reconceptualizes leadership in “terms of
activities and interactions that are distributed” (pg. 395).
Timperley conducted a four year empirical study of seven New
Zealand elementary schools undertaking school improvement
initiatives and participating in early literacy professional
development. The study focused on how leadership was
distributed, and its differential effects on promoting school
improvement. The leadership qualities for Timperley’s study in
relation to differential effectiveness include: distribution of
leadership activities, social distribution of task enactment –
how leadership is enacted when it is distributed (a focal point
in this study) and the place of artifacts in distributed
leadership –where distributed leadership makes a difference in
schools. The data from the study was based on observations of
team meetings where distributed leadership was promoted
(principals, literacy coaches, and teachers), interviews and
student achievement data.
Variances were identified regarding how the leaders in each
school conducted their meetings and whether they used data
analysis as a focal point, or programs – the curriculum used as
a means for improvement. Results in student achievement varied
depending how leadership was enacted. Schools that distributed
leadership with a focus on teaching and learning, had higher
student achievement than schools distributing leadership with a
focus on curriculum.
Timperley (2005) suggests, “That increasing the
distribution of leadership is only desirable if the quality of
the leadership activities contributes to assisting teachers to
provide more effective instruction to their students”. These
shared leadership “qualities” varied from school to school
resulting in differences in achievement.