Teacher leadership and organisational change: a teacher leader's experience in a P-12 school

Doctorate other than PhD

Fisher, Jenny. 2007. Teacher leadership and organisational change: a teacher leader's experience in a P-12 school . Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland.

Teacher leadership and organisational change: a teacher leader's experience in a P-12 school

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorFisher, Jenny
SupervisorAndrews, Dorothy
Albion, Peter
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages349

[Abstract]: Crowther, Hann & McMaster (2001) reported in School Innovation: Pathway to the Knowledge Society that when teacher leaders engage in collective action with the
principal, they can build a school’s capacity to change. This Autoethnographic Case Study builds upon the findings reported by Cuttance (2001). The study uses a qualitative
inquiry approach to study a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project. The qualitative study was conducted in a P-12 school context in 2003 and contains two related microstudies. The study investigates how a teacher leader, occupying a formal role in an organisation, can contribute to the organisation’s capacity to change.

Conducted by a participant observer, the study occurred within a single context, a P-12 school which contained two separate entities, a Primary School and a Secondary School.
In the Secondary School, the self researcher occupied a formal position and performed functional tasks while in the Primary School, she exercised teacher leadership without being formally defined by that role. The task of coordinating an innovation to achieve mandated change was distributed to the self researcher by the principal. The self researcher’s efforts to improve her leadership practices while coordinating the innovation forms the basis of the study.

The self researcher employed Participatory Action Research as a means to gather data and engaged in reflexive leadership practices to pursue socially just and moral ways of
acting in the social world. The organisational context provided the framework for the analysis of the data and various metaphors were employed to analyse the self researcher’s evolving subjectivities. The stance adopted by the self researcher is informed by critical
theory, drawing from postmodern and poststructuralist perspectives, and the research question is answered through a narrative.

This study found that teacher leadership underpinned by the principles of inclusion, participation and voluntarism is not sustainable in functionalist organisations. The study found that functionalist organisations are imprinted with the discourses of dominance and privilege and the distribution of functions by principals reproduces dominance and oppresses the emergence of teacher leadership.

The study found that teacher leadership is emergent not distributed. The study found that when leadership is shared, parallel leadership practices generate organisational-wide leadership and build the collective’s capacity for change. However, the study concludes
that the context is important and for teacher leadership to contribute to an organisation’s capacity to change, the organisation itself has to be reimaged.

Keywordsteacher leadership; organisational change; organizational change
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350710. Organisational behaviour
390403. Educational administration, management and leadership
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