2 Studying educational leadership and management
Educational leadership sits within the extensive field of leadership studies, which draws from many disciplinary areas including psychology, sociology, anthropology, organisation studies, business studies and the social sciences. Over time, multiple theories of leadership have been developed, each one retaining influences from the discipline in which it originated. For example, examining the behaviours and traits of individual leaders continues to be an area of study for those drawing on a background of psychology, whereas researchers emerging from a business studies background may focus on how leaders respond to change within and around their organisations. Making sense of the multiple theoretical approaches to leadership is, therefore, challenging. This is further complicated by the commercial and policy literature which advocates particular approaches to leadership and leading which may, or may not, be drawn from empirical research.
Educational leadership is a particular area of study within this broader field of leadership. During the 1980s and 1990s, the education sector, particularly in the UK, began to engage with this range of leadership and management concepts. Additional ideas about educational leadership were developed, for example instructional, pedagogic and teacher leadership.
Leadership remains a contentious area of scholarship, and in the literature, you will find competing and contradictory references to multiple leadership types, theories, styles and models.
The following animation outlines in summary the varying approaches which have been taken to understanding leadership.
As you watch the video, identify the main models of leadership it mentions and how each might be distinguished from the other.
Please note: ‘Unit 4.3’ in the video refers to part of the Open University course not included in this OpenLearn course.