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Literature Review: School Leadership

In this chapter the literature for the research on the role of school leadership in the process of formation of future leaders is reviewed. The chapter consists of four main parts, two of which have subcategories. It starts with the overview, the purpose of the review, followed by theoretical background of the research and the literature review itself. Functional, comparative and categorization strategies are used to research the problem. The information is taken from scholarly sources, more specifically the articles and books written by the contemporary leaders and educators who work in this sphere.

The Role of School Leadership to Prepare Students to be Future Leaders

The current review has several goals. First, it demonstrates the importance of the discussed issue in the modern discourse. Second, it gives credits to the authors who have researched this issue previously. Third, it helps summarize the important findings on this subject and create a more vivid understanding of the issue at hand.

Theoretical Background

Problem

The current research investigates into the problem of leadership. The contemporary world is constantly changing and the existing ways of working in this sphere do not meet the requirements of the reality (Campbell, 2013). Various scholars emphasize this issue and assume that there is an urgent need to change the methods of teaching the future leaders. It is possible to claim that school education represents the optimal means of formation of the new leadership elite, because it gives a possibility to choose the most talented students in this sphere and start working with them when they are still open for learning new approaches (Gill, 2011, pp. 62-63).

Participants

The current study is qualitative and features information from 4 scholarly sources directly. Indirectly the quantitative data taken from the mentioned sources is used. Thus, Gill (2011, pp. 4-5) writes his research on the basis of 367 interviews of managers from 38 organizations that work in the manufacturing industry. Campbell (2013) investigates into the leadership problems in various layers and aspects of the society, including the religious sphere, the community level, the sector of business and commerce, and the governmental field.

Methodology

In this research several methods are used. The first applied method is the functional one. This approach describes the results of the research so that they can be compared afterwards.

The main method is comparative. Though, it is possible to say that every investigation is comparative in its nature. Qualitative data analysis approach is used to describe differences and similarities of the viewpoints of different scholars and researchers on the problem of leadership and its importance on the stage of education. Qualitative analysis of the facts is an indispensable part of searching for information for thematic descriptions and overview.

The collected data is fractured and contextualized to increase understanding and allow making certain conclusions. Categorical strategies are used to divide the collected information about the educational leadership into subcategories. A framework for analysis proposed by English (2011, pp. 158-160) is used to compare the leadership level and efficiency by using an inductive approach. The researcher emphasizes that it is crucial to understand the problem of leadership in general and have a serious theoretical background in order to be able to work with individuals with the view to develop an undisputed leader.

Results and Conclusions

The research allows categorize the existing trends in leadership. It is possible to assume that there is no specific plan about the ways of how to educate future leaders, despite the existence of all existing theoretical recommendations and practical examples of an effective leadership. The literature review indicates the gap in the knowledge about this subject, which might become a major topic and motivation for further research.

Literature Review

As it was mentioned earlier, the work faces the problem of a competent leadership. Certain scholars believe that this problem might be eliminated if the leaders are to be prepared from school years, because they might perceive the new order of the modern world better than adults. The current review aims at investigating and testing the ideas that different researchers have concerning the theory behind leadership and its practice. This information provides an opportunity for further research of this subject.

The articles can be classified according to the research paradigm. English (2011) and Gill (2011) pay equal attention to the theoretical and practical issues of leadership. These authors claim that the knowledge of the historical development of leadership might be useful in understanding the mechanisms that make leadership effective in certain circumstances. Campbell (2013) as well as Cordeiro and Cunningham (2012) concentrate on the empirical data with regards to leadership. They claim that the leadership development needs to be in pace with the progress, and so the practical examples from multiple perspectives are more important in the formation of an effective leader than historical flashbacks and theoretical background.

Campbell (2013) provides a detailed analysis of the current situation in global business environment and the challenges the leaders face. Terrorist menace, political instability, economical difficulties are among the issues that determine contemporary business climate, to which a leader needs to adapt (Campbell, 2013). The author constructs a theoretical framework, that allows improve the weak points of leaders in the process of their formation. Campbell introduces the notion of the global leader (Campbell, 2013). He studies the influence of culture and ideology on leaders, compares the experiences of different countries in this sphere and emphasizes the importance of cooperation regardless the cultural background, because political freedom, economic stability and human rights are universal. The researcher supposes that it can be achieved after a decrease of cultural tension between partners (Campbell, 2013).

English (2011) provides an overview of theoretical and practical studies about educational leadership. Among the most important issues that are discussed in his book are the standards for the leaders’ education, the paradoxes of the current educational system, the ways to adapt to rapidly changing environment and solve conflicts (English, 2011, p. 37). He also scrutinizes the historical development of leadership and claims that the descriptions of the previous strong and weak dimensions of this subject might be helpful for forming future leaders who want to understand the mechanisms of leadership (English, 2011, pp. 62-64). However, English is skeptical with respect to the diachronic approach he proposes. The scholar understands that the reality has changed significantly due to the rise of technology and the overall globalization, that is why he suggests that the readers should analyze the past experience with caution (English, 2011, pp. 71-73).

Cordeiro and Cunningham (2012) present guidelines concerning effective leadership that work in a revolutionary, challenging and constantly developing environment. The researchers provide the readers with the theoretical and practical review of the administration process in different situations (Cordeiro & Cunningham, 2012, pp. 29-31). The presence of numerous perspectives is an advantage of the book. The structure of the research is logical. It consists of three parts. The first part contains the descriptions of common practices and standards in the educational administration field. It also features the guidelines of evaluation of the leadership performance and further creation of the personal leadership style, which is important in the learning process. The second part inspects the role of a leader in the system of education. The authors write about the student-teacher and student-student relations. The third part of the book researches the main function of the leader in an educational institution, among which are stewardship responsibilities, as well as financial and legal ones (Cordeiro & Cunningham, 2012, pp. 89-92).

Gill (2011) provides a practical research focused on the effectiveness of different types of leadership. The empirical data is supported by the theoretical background. The author aims at proving the existence of the major theoretical problems by practical examples, which makes the research a vivid illustration of the situation regarding the leadership. He determines three types of leadership styles: a laisser-faire, a transactional, and a transformational one, which can be applied to hierarchical levels in organizations (Gill, 2011, p. 16). Gill tries to create a universal framework that might allow develop effective leadership across all possible levels of the company’s hierarchy. He states that every level has its own peculiarities, and for this reason an effective leader should take those differences into consideration. The researcher claims that transformational leadership, which is the one that adopts to every level of hierarchy, is the optimal one. Both practical and theoretical insights into current work supports the idea that an ability to change according to circumstances is the key characteristic of effective leadership (Gill, 2011, p. 38-40).

All researchers have similar position concerning the importance of the capability of an effective leader to be flexible and adapt to time, situation, and circumstances. They outline various guidelines regarding the ways to adapt to constant changes, that differ substantially in their viewpoints. Gill (2011) analyzes leadership from the perspective of coping with different hierarchical levels. Cordeiro and Cunningham (2012) differentiate leadership styles by main functions. English (2011) concentrates on the historical examples and Campbell (2013) writes about the importance of understanding cultural differences in communication.

The literature review shows that there is a gap in the knowledge of this area. The researchers do not pay much attention to the process of forming the leaders, and prefer to concentrate on theory of leadership and practical examples instead. Though, it is not enough for the complete and effective education of leaders that is supposed to start already at a school level. A possibility to create a structured educational plan that might be useful in the formation of leaders among students is an urgent subject for further investigation.