8 Concepts, theories and models
So far we have introduced a range of ideas that can help you to ask questions about different theories of leadership and management. The next step is to apply and use these, and to develop some of the academic skills that will support you in thinking critically about complex ideas in educational research, and in your own practice.
Both theories and models are built up of concepts. The concept of the ‘leader’ in the educational research literature often contrasts the ‘power of one’ (Harris, 2003, p. 14) with the concept of ‘leadership’ in other more collegiate, shared or distributed models. In setting up this dichotomy, issues about recommendations for practice, democracy in organisational structures and how power and authority are connected to leadership all move the discussion from the theoretical to the practical. Thinking about how this may be applied to practice has political and moral implications.
John Storey, working in the field of business studies, suggests an alternative way of conceptualising the field of leadership. He describes a ‘leadership constellation’ (Storey, 2010, p. 20) which draws out the enduring themes and concerns of leadership research across the various theories. Storey argues that context, perceived leadership need, behavioural requirements and capabilities, and development methods are the four interrelated critical factors for considering the adequacy of any leadership theory.