The enactment of distributed leadership in secondary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Greg Sharland
  • Kate Thornton
Keywords: Distributed leadership


School leaders have a significant impact on student outcomes (Grissom et al., 2021; Leithwood et al., 2020); however, there has been a shift from viewing school leadership as the actions of an individual, to seeing leadership as a collaborative endeavour, including in New Zealand (Youngs, 2020). The traditional heroic model of leadership is making way for a new leadership paradigm which considers leadership as the actions of many rather than the few (Spillane 2005) and promotes the construct of distributed leadership. This research study, using an interpretive qualitative design, focused on the experiences of secondary school principals in their attempts to distribute leadership. Moreover, the study aimed to connect principal’s interpretations of distributed leadership with their practice of the construct. The findings highlight the challenges in defining and enacting distributed leadership. Nine recommendations for principals who are considering distributed leadership as a tool for effectively distributing leadership and improving student outcomes are presented. These are designed to provide principals with a starting point when considering distributed leadership and to stimulate further discussion on the topic.


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How to Cite
Sharland, G., & Thornton, K. (2024). The enactment of distributed leadership in secondary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. Teachers’ Work, 21(1), 91-103.