Learning for Leadership
How do participants in the National Leadership Education for School Principals conceptualize school leadership, and how has their participation in the program affected them as leaders? These are the questions analyzed in this article, based on data from a student cohort comprising 63 students. We have analyzed one of their portfolio texts and their responses to an electronic open-question survey. Findings are discussed in the light of school leadership theories, Mintzberg's (2009) triangular theory of leadership and a graded concept of theory (Ertsås & Irgens, 2016). Participants conceptualize school leadership as a complex practice exercised by knowledgeable role models, whose leadership is focused and transparent, rooted in common core values, sound working relations, bent on improving student learning. A variety of elements in the program have contributed to developing participant concepts of leadership. The fusion of strong theory and practical experience seems to have played a predominant role. Our findings contrast criticisms of management education programs in the international literature. Our analyses are based on participant self-reports, which restricts the scope of our conclusions. There is a need for further research on the links between leaders’ espoused conceptualizations of leadership and their actual leadership practice.
Published version. Source at https://www.journals.uio.no/index.php/adno/article/view/3930