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An Entrepreneurial Attitude: Implications for Leadership in Schools
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2013 (English)In: Creativity and innovation in educational research: ECER 2013, September 10-13, Istanbul, Turkey, 2013, 2013Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Concerning heads of preschool and principals leadership, the entrepreneurial approach is relatively unproblematised, although research have shown classroom leadership to be important for pupils learning and for what characterizes successful schools (Ellmin, 2011; Höög & Johansson, 2011). I have chosen the term ‘entrepreneurship’ since its considerable space in existing curriculum and what it means to lead a school towards an entrepreneurial attitude.

An entrepreneur is characterized as an individual who take risks, has a creative and innovative attitude, one who sees opportunities rather than obstructions, and coordinates through networks (Leffler, 2006). What then, are the capabilities of heads of preschool and principals in the present enquiry that has significance on a leadership that will promote entrepreneurship?

As a phenomenon and concept entrepreneurship has existed for almost two decades on a policy level. Already 1989 the OECD presented the report “Towards an ’enterprising’ culture – a challenge for education and training”. The report expressed a strong concern for the unemployment among youth that paralleled the need for change in schools work and working tradition. Entrepreneurial abilities were considered necessary not only for the labor market, but also a changed need for the society in general. The need of individuals that can take responsibility, initiative, and show creativity was highlighted. It was mostly a question of trying to utilize the young generations’ capacity, and to develop their enterprising competencies (OECD, 1989). In the Education Act (2010:800), the concept of knowledge is given a broad meaning, which is mirrored in the curricula (Skolverket, 2011a, 2011b). A clear change in these was that teaching was supposed to focus on development of abilities and skills that would contribute to an attitude in pupils promoting entrepreneurship. This includes among other aspects, that school shall stimulate the pupils’ creativity and curiosity, as well as the will to explore individual ideas and solve problems. What does this implicate for the leadership in school?

Concerning entrepreneurship, leadership in school is often considered equal to leadership in the business world. Is it possible to make this comparison, and what is there to learn for school in this comparison on aspects of leadership development? In the analysis of the enquiry the four leadership roles described by Ichak Adizes (1997) are tested; the Producer (P), the Administrator (A), the Entrepreneur (E), and the Integrator (I). In discussing their interrelationships within the results of the enquiry, the significance of the different leadership roles of the heads of preschool and principals may be visualized.

The aim of the present paper is thus to problematize entrepreneurship as a concept and phenomenon in the school context, and to discuss what leadership roles, according to Adizes, that could be considered successful in implementing entrepreneurship. What roles does the successful school leader display? What expectations and requirements can we establish according to the results? The results may give a reference to what heads of preschool and principals need to express in order to successfully develop their activity towards entrepreneurship.



This study is a part of research project: National Policy meets Local Implementations Structures, funded by the Swedish research council. The study is based on national and local policy documents and a survey of school-leaders, and it’s limited to heads of preschool and principals in public as well as in independent and compulsory schools. The questionnaire focuses on the relation between national policy and local implementation strategies.  There are also interview materials that will be used.



The producers’ (P) role appears clearly in the analysis.  The heads of the preschool and principals have high personal demands to balance the budget and develop their work towards higher achievement.  At the same time the results show that the administrator (A) role varies. Managing others is also included in this role and the heads of preschool and principals indicate with an average of 84.4 % that their work affects the work of teachers positively. While the administrator complies with the decision of others, it is the entrepreneurs’ (E) task to accomplish their own. The heads of the preschool and principals experience that they can operate  independently and make their own decision about the schools’ internal organization (77 %) and the direction of the educational work at their units (80,1%).  However, to take risks and break the pattern is not prominent for these leaders, only 5.6 % indicates this. Finally the integrator (I) shows that 77.4 % of the heads of the preschool and principals integrate upwards towards managers and 68, 1 % integrates aside through informal networks. All in all, the analysis shows that PAI is prominent while E has a smaller and more withdrawn role.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
entrepreneurial attitude, leadership, roles, curriculum
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-115180OAI: diva2:899006
European Conference for Educational Research (ECER)
Available from: 2016-01-30 Created: 2016-01-30 Last updated: 2016-02-01

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