The Place and Role of Distributed Leadership in Functional and Effective South African Schools: Towards School Improvement

RJ Botha (Nico)


A common thread in contemporary research on principal leadership is the ways in which principals take important decisions. These decisions have become increasingly more complex in a system of school-based management. The concept of shared or distributive leadership becomes vital in the process. Distributed leadership implies that leadership is not held by one leader only, but leadership roles are distributed among the rest of the school management team. The idea of leadership as distributed across a group of leaders and situations has proven to be a more useful framework for understanding the realities of schools and how they might be improved. The purpose of this article is to explore how effective distributed leadership contributes to school improvement. The article is based on a qualitative case study in a few South African schools. Ethnographic interviews were conducted with principals from five (n=5) purposefully selected effective or functional schools in a school district in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal to establish the perspectives of participants on the place and role of distributive leadership in school improvement. The five participants described their experiences of the role of distributed leadership in school improvement and how they have focussed their daily routines on the distribution of leadership tasks to ensure improvement. The outcomes of this study show that distributive leadership serves as a significant contributor to school improvement in functional schools and are of importance to all educational managers as they will be able to provide schools with guidelines to increase positive perceptions regarding the role of distributed leadership in school improvement.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p1225

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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