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Successful Principal Leadership:: Prerequisites, Processes and Outcomes
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. (Struktur, kultur, ledarskap- förutsättningar för framgångsrika skolor? )
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis' main theme is successful principal leadership in secondary schools within the Swedish education system. Successful principal leadership is examined from three perspectives: What are the processes of a successful principal? Do the leadership processes relate to successful academic and social outcomes of schools? What are the prerequisites for successful principal leadership? The Frame Factor Model and the three concepts of prerequisites, processes and outcomes constitute an overarching framework. The prerequisites are categorized as internal prerequisites (the particular characteristics of individual principals) and external prerequisites operating within the Swedish educational environment. The successful principal processes are viewed as pedagogical leadership processes, on one hand as providing prerequisites for teaching and learning and, on the other hand as leading the core processes of teaching and learning. The definitions build on the empirical data, on the Swedish national curriculum and demands for pedagogical leadership, and on international findings on what successful principals do. The outcomes of successful principal leadership are here defined as the academic and the social outcomes of schools. The research undertaken is part of the research project 'Structure, Culture, Leadership - Prerequisites for Successful Schools?' The empirical data for this thesis are gathered in twenty-six Swedish secondary schools whereof five are regarded successful schools based on both academic and social outcomes. The findings, reported on in four articles, derive from interviews and questionnaires to principals and teachers. The principals in the main identify prerequisites of importance that are within their own realm of influence, such as themselves, teachers and school district level. They consider a limited area of responsibility and support from district level specialists as providing possibilities for their success. The principals accept the national governance of schools and principals via the national curriculum. The principals in the five successful schools however take a higher degree of responsibility for setting direction towards national goals, for processes inside schools and for school outcomes than do principals in less successful schools.They as pedagogical leaders attend to a higher degree both to providing prerequisites for teaching and learning and to leading the core processes of teaching and learning than do principals in less successful schools. In schools with a successful implementation of social goals, which shows as successful social outcomes, the principals, according to teachers, overall take responsibility for their national objectives and obligations to a higher degree than principals in schools with a less successful implementation of social goals. The implementation of social goals is of importance not only from an outcome perspective but also from a process perspective. It requires collaborative interpretation which can promote principal-staff professional relations and ultimately student learning. The identified overall differences between principals' leadership processes and processes in the twenty-six schools raise questions around consequences for equivalence in education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet , 2009. , 76 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 91
Keyword [en]
success, principal, successful school, frame factor model, prerequisite, process, outcome, pedagogical leadership, equivalence
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-21668ISBN: 978-91-7264-728-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-21668DiVA: diva2:211453
Public defence
2009-05-08, Hörsal D, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Struktur, kultur, ledarskap- förutsättningar för framgångsrika skolor?
Available from: 2009-04-17 Created: 2009-04-15 Last updated: 2009-04-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Success as equivalence: The Swedish case
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Success as equivalence: The Swedish case
2008 (English)In: Nordisk Pedagogik, ISSN 0901-8050, E-ISSN 1504-2995, Vol. 28, no 3, 204-218 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article aims to conceptualize and investigate perceptions of success in two public schools in one school district. Are there similarities and differences in perceptions? And if so, what are they? Principals and teachers were interviewed and their responses were analyzed according to a national governing perspective and the concept of equivalence in particular. The findings show strong consensus within schools, but a remarkable distinction between schools. The main similarity between schools concerns success as good academic grades. The main difference concerns structure, culture and leadership. Critical questions are raised: How different can processes inside schools be, and still be considered successful as long as good academic results are produced? How differently can schools be led, and principals still be considered successful?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: Universitetsförlaget, 2008
Keyword
education, principal, school, success, equivalence, Sweden
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-21654 (URN)
Projects
Struktur, kultur, ledarskap- förutsättningar för framgångsrika skolor?
Available from: 2009-04-15 Created: 2009-04-15 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. Keys to successful leadership: High support for capable and versatile principals
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Keys to successful leadership: High support for capable and versatile principals
2010 (English)In: The Educational Forum, ISSN 0013-1725, Vol. 74, no 2, 90-103 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What are the prerequisites for principals' success within a decentralized and deregulated Swedish policy environment characterized by democratic equity values and neo-liberal practices? Twenty-four secondary school principals identified internal and external factors that promote and/or inhibit principals' success. The discussion concerns whether the current crossfire of demands produces superficiality and threats to democracy due to the working conditions described by the principals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA: Kappa Delta Phi, International Honor society in education, 2010
Keyword
leadership, principal, success, prerequisite, external factors, internal factors
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-21659 (URN)
Projects
Struktur, kultur, ledarskap- förutsättningar för framgångsrika skolor?
Available from: 2009-04-15 Created: 2009-04-15 Last updated: 2012-03-07Bibliographically approved
3. Principal leadership, national responsibilities and successful school outcomes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Principal leadership, national responsibilities and successful school outcomes
2009 (English)In: International Studies in Educational Administration, ISSN 1324-1702, E-ISSN 1839-2768, Vol. 37, no 3, 37-52 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study builds on research undertaken for the Swedish research project "Structure, Culture, Leadership - prerequisites for successful schools?" As mandated by the national curriculum, the criteria of a successful school are that it produces good academic and social outcomes. Twenty-four secondary schools were chosen. Five were identified as successful (strong academic, strong social). The purpose here is to draw a link between a) school success in terms of both outcomes and b) the degree to which the school principal adheres to goals set out in the curriculum. In response to a questionnaire, teachers in the twenty-four schools assessed to what extent their principals fulfil national responsibilities. The conclusion drawn is that the principals in the five successful schools carried out the responsibilities to a greater degree than principals in less successful schools. The findings are discussed within the context of national policy implementation in the Swedish decentralized educational system.

Keyword
success, principal, secondary school, national responsibility, implementation, decentralized educational system
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-21661 (URN)
Projects
Struktur, kultur, ledarskap- förutsättningar för framgångsrika skolor?
Available from: 2009-04-15 Created: 2009-04-15 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
4. Strategies, accountability and democratic values: a successful principal in a Swedish school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategies, accountability and democratic values: a successful principal in a Swedish school
2009 (English)In: Values and Ethics in Educational Administration, ISSN 1703-5759, Vol. 7, no 4, 1-8 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

 Previous research has indicated that principals who are successful engage in multiple practices to meet the needs of changing educational settings. For example, the "International Successful School Principal Project" (ISSPP) identified a core set of basic leadership.  This article presents research that identifies the leadership strategies of a successful principal in Sweden and examines those against the ISSPP's leadership practices. It should be noted that, while these practices have value in almost all educational contexts, they may have to be adapted to local circumstances. The identified strategies are analyzed first from the perspective of Swedish principals being held accountable for both financial matters and for teachers/student performances. Then the strategies are analyzed against the obligation of Swedish principals to instil democratic values and provide democratic leadership. And finally, the essential question of this study is: Do the leadership strategies of our successful principal reflect the values of democracy as the basis of Swedish education and leadership?

Keyword
Success, principal, leadership, democratic, values, accountability, Sweden
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-21665 (URN)
Projects
Struktur, kultur, ledarskap- förutsättningar för framgångsrika skolor?
Available from: 2009-04-15 Created: 2009-04-15 Last updated: 2011-06-22Bibliographically approved

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