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Distributed leadership includes staff: One rural custodian as a case
Journal of School Leadership
  • Gerri M. Maxwell, Texas A&M University
  • James J. Scheurich, Texas A&M University
  • Linda E. Skrla, Texas A&M University
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Distribution of leadership tasks, often described as distributed leadership, has emerged as an innovative concept for describing the deployment of leadership within schools. A distributed leadership perspective suggests that successful school leadership is not simply the charge of the formal leaders (e.g., Gronn, 2000; Ogawa & Bossert, 1995; Scribner, Sawyer, Watson, & Myers, 2007; Smylie, Conley, & Marks, 2002; Spillane, Halverson, & Diamond, 2004); rather, the entire staff of a school, throughout its multilayered network of relationships and interactions, is responsible for school leadership (Crow, Hausman, & Scribner, 2002; Scribner et al., 2007; Spillane et al., 2001). An examination of the leadership literature yielded task orientation (Fleishman, 1953), communication orientation (Gronn, 2000; Spillane, 2006), and trust orientation (Hays Group, 2004; MacBeath, 2005; Oduro, 2004; Smylie, Mayrowetz, Murphy, & Louis, 2007) as key characteristics of leadership. As such, the lead author used this trifold lens as a means of recognizing leadership among support staff—in particular, a rural school custodian. In addition, this qualitative study (Lincoln & Guba, 1985), which utilized snowball sampling (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996), resulted in hour-long interviews of 19 informants whose conversations revealed the leadership impact of one school custodian over his 50-plus-year stint as a custodian and significant school leader. Recommendations for leadership programs include incorporation of further studies of support staff within the current scope of what is considered distributed leadership.
Citation Information
Gerri M. Maxwell, James J. Scheurich and Linda E. Skrla. "Distributed leadership includes staff: One rural custodian as a case" Journal of School Leadership Vol. 19 Iss. 4 (2009) p. 422 - 496 ISSN: 1052-6846
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