Boundary spanning leadership in families of schools in a school system

Wakeham, Margaret (2016) Boundary spanning leadership in families of schools in a school system. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Multiple types of boundaries affect how members of school systems interact and influence one another. The study of boundary spanning leadership is emerging as a new strand of literature in education (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011) related to the evolution of organizational and leadership models that distribute leadership, recognize and value diversity, respect identities, and honour multiple perspectives (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011; Ernst & Chrobot-Mason, 2011; Harris, 2009; Hogg, 2009; Hogg, van Kippenberg & Rast III, 2012; Robertson, 2009; Sheppard, Brown & Dibbon, 2009). In my study, I explore the lived experiences of five central office leaders and eight principals in two families of schools in one urban school system. The eight schools accommodate children of elementary school age who represent an eclectic mix of socio-economic and socio-cultural backgrounds. I treat the school district as the overarching case, the two families of schools as sub-cases, and the eight schools as additional sub-cases in my multi-case study. Based on individual open-ended interviews with the thirteen educational leaders I develop themes related to their boundary spanning leadership practices. I also use the annual district and school reports to provide contextual information for the cases. As well, I report on the perceptions of teachers of their own schools as registered by the School Climate and Organizational Citizenship Index survey (DiPaola, & Tschannen-Moran, 2001; Tschannen-Moran, Parish, & DiPaola, 2006). My study suggests that central office leaders and school principals employ boundary spanning leadership practices on a daily basis to make meaning, administer initiatives, create conditions for collaboration, and transform policies and events. Central office leaders and principals interact directly and indirectly with each other, with teachers and the public across multiple boundaries to share information, coordinate plans, develop relationships and improve schools. With increased centralization of governance, school systems need boundary spanning leaders more than ever to lead and sustain systemic improvement and innovation. My study of the boundary spanning leadership practices of central office leaders and principals adds to our knowledge of leadership and organizational learning in school systems.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 12430
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 219-233).
Keywords: Boundary-spanning, Leadership, Collaboration, School system, Diversity
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: September 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Educational leadership; School management and organization; School principals

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