Focusing on the practice of distributed leadership

Educational Administration Quarterly
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TALIS 2013

Focusing on the practice of distributed leadership

The international evidence from the 2013 TALIS


Purpose: This study is primarily interested in the operational evidence of distributed leadership using large-scale and multicountry data. Specifically, this study investigates (a) how three position-based human units-the principal, the management team, and teachers-could lead nine school leadership functions together and (b) how the country and school contextual factors are related to the leadership distribution mechanism, which examines the associations among variables across national boundaries including 32 countries.

Research Design: This study conducted a secondary data analysis using the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey. The researcher first constructed the latent variables to quantify the extent to which the three groups led the nine leadership functions. Then a resampling approach with balanced repeated replication weights was used to disclose the extent to which each group led each of the 17 leadership tasks. Finally, a structural equation model helped reveal the existing associations among contextual factors and distributed leadership operation.

Findings: First, distributed leadership was reported by principals to exist in 25 countries, and there were seven distributed leadership patterns discovered among 32 countries included in the sample, though two patterns were revealed to have little leadership distribution. Second, this study found that the principal, the management team, and teachers led varied leadership functions. Finally, both country and school contextual factors were associated with how leadership was distributed.

Conclusions: This study, using large-scale and international data, has added new evidence with a particular interest in the effects of contextual influence on distributed leadership practices.