1. Understanding Leadership Theories
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I hope to demonstrate that the processes of leadership must be seen as part of the dynamics of conflict and of power; that leadership is nothing if not linked to collective purpose; that the effectiveness of leaders must be judged not by their press clippings but by actual social change.
—Burns, 1978, p. 3
There are competing theories and competing practices, and it is our role as administrators, individuals of action, to sort among them … A critical theory is necessary; to encourage us to view events in historical perspective, to doubt the validity of received truth (…), and to continue our search for more adequate solutions to our problems.
—Foster, 1986, p. 13 ← 1 | 2 →
Why Do We Need Yet Another Leadership Theory?
My response to the question of why another primer on educational leadership lies in the quotations with which this chapter opens. Pulitzer Prize–winning scholar James McGregor Burns, in his seminal work simply called Leadership (1978), argued that the impact of leadership should be judged by actual social change. Approximately a decade later, educational leadership scholar William Foster asserted the need for a critical theory of leadership to judge from among the myriad theories to discover “more adequate solutions to our problems.” And there definitely is a myriad of theories.
In the 2010 International Encyclopedia of Education, there are 47 chapters relating to different aspects of educational leadership. Moreover, the 2002 Second International...
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