5.2 Further research
Faith communities and educational organizations can learn from each other’s working practices, structures and models. Yet whilst there is much to be learnt and considered from the educational sector, the Church might be wise to consider carefully how it should conceive and exercise ‘leadership’ and what might be its potential to promote greater equality in its appointments and exercise of power and prestige.
Understanding how head teachers and others in formal positions of responsibility become designated as leaders through the ‘leaderist turn’ illuminates how leadership has developed into ‘a popular descriptor and a dominant social and organisational technology’ (Morley, 2013: 116). Establishing a set of leaders who are differentiated from other members of the staff within a school or educational organization is neither a necessity nor necessarily desirable. Considerable scepticism around the discourses of ‘leaders’ and ‘leadership’ might be exercised not only in the education sector but also by the Church as it asks what should count as ‘real leadership’ and what the appropriate rules of the game are.
These discussions are linked to the question of what counts as education. If paying for teachers is a drain and a burden, then, by implication, what counts as education could be seen to lie in the terminology of ‘investments’, ‘outputs’, and ‘efficiency’, resulting in a ‘carelessness’ (Lynch et al., 2012; Massey, 2013). Such carelessness might appear contradictory to the values found in Christian teaching. It may well be significant that it was in the religious schools that the neoliberal orientation of the ideal ‘citizen’ engaging in competitive survival was countered more often (Lynch et al., 2012).
Some of the concerns raised in the education sector about ‘greedy organizations’ and how these affect women may have particular resonance within the Church, which holds the idea of sacrifice for others in high esteem. Yet this raises the question of what is worthy of sacrificing oneself for.
Further research is needed in identifying challenges and then exploring the enabling, delimiting and frustrating mechanisms and structures in addressing them. This research might involve empirical projects including:
- Taking gender seriously in education contexts and elsewhere.
- Looking at leadership practice in less formal and informal settings.
- Drawing on insights from the intersections between church and schools and between leaders and their religious and spiritual lives.
- Identifying the ‘micro-inequities’ by which discrimination operates.
- Uncovering the complex relationship between agency and structure.
- Tackling assumptions including those that might appear well-intentioned and those ‘safest possible solutions’ that fail to question the suitability of the basic modes of operation of organizations and their existing power relations.
- Exploring awareness by leaders of culture at micro, meso and macro levels.
- Imagining how current leadership development might be reconfigured including seeing thinking deeply about culture is as a leadership skill.
- Investigating issues around the distribution of power and influence, and analysing how far current solutions address the power balance.
- Identifying the extent to which religious schools in Britain are challenging and providing alternatives to neo-liberal discourses of carelessness.
- Asking what a leadership with an expanded lexicon might look like.
 A more detailed explanation of the methodology and the criteria for inclusion of the literature is available in an expanded version of the report.
 Beddington (2009, 2012) makes many similar points for the UK university context of leadership and diversity.
 see Binns and Kerfoot (2011), Helgsen (1990), and Rosener (1990) in generic literature and Coleman and Pounder (2002) for an earlier consideration of this in an education context.