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Discourses of educational leadership the under-explained influence of context

Humphreys, DM (2016) Discourses of educational leadership the under-explained influence of context. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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Abstract

The aim of the this small scale empirical research study was to shed a discursive light on the leadership that was experienced within two primary school settings in the North West of England and the constraints of context that shaped the discourses of leadership within those schools. Contextual factors have been defined as being on three levels: institutional, cultural and governmental. So using this framework as a sorting category for posing situated questions of the participants and Gee’s (1999; 2005; 2011) interconnected one to explore and question the data and the taken-for-granted assumptions, it has been possible to garner an understanding of how these contexts interacted in framing an individual’s understanding of the leadership they were experiencing and implications for their practice.
The research questions which this study addressed were:
What are the contextual factors that shape discourses of educational leadership?
What does the discursive analysis reveal of how stakeholders talk about ways of becoming in the leadership they are experiencing within a socially situated practice?
What are the implications of this analysis for the practice of leadership within school?
The research was influenced by two particular approaches to discourse analysis, a ‘practice approach’ and a ‘critical approach’. As educational practices are communicative events, this study has adopted a critical discourse analysis in making visible the ways that individuals talk about leadership they are experiencing within their settings. Through a Foucauldian lens it was possible to question the basis for the assumptions and norms of educational leadership in school and examine the ways in which individuals within school were both constructed and shaped by that discourse.
This study takes the view that the school as an organizational context for leaders is both complex and under explored as it is in a constant state of flux. Various complexities are acknowledged concerning the contextual nature of leadership; it is complex, context specific, socially constructed, negotiated and hierarchical.

Analysis of 18 in-depth semi-structured interviews and 18 cognitive maps reveals a range of Discourses of contextual factors of leadership such as the Discourse of the pivotal role of the headteacher; Discourse of leadership activity; Discourse of identity-work; Discourse of power relations and Discourse of commodification of education all made visible by the individuals within the school to which they endeavour to belong.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Critical discourse analysis; leadership; education; context
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Liverpool Business School
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 10:33
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2016 10:33
Supervisors: Lawless, Aileen
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4421

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