4. In-depth analysis
The previous section outlined identified some key issues and provided an overview of studies concerned with leadership and education. This section reviews in greater depth five works which have been published within the last five years. The writers (all women and all White) come from settings in the United Kingdom (Fuller, 2013; Lumby, 2012; Morley, 2013), the United States of America (Grogan and Shakeshaft, 2011) and the Republic of Ireland (Lynch et al., 2014). Most are focused on schools but one has a specific concern with higher education (Morley, 2013).
4.2 Women as different and better leaders in education
Grogan, M. and Shakeshaft, C. (2011) Women and Educational Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Margaret Grogan and Charol Shakeshaft, from the USA, argue that women are different and better leaders. They contend that women’s qualities, preferences and their approaches to educational leadership differ from traditional heroic notions of leadership, whether the traditional leader is a woman or a man, to embrace a collectivist view of leadership promoting social justice through facilitating the members of the organization in their work.
From their rich data, the authors identify five approaches and claim that ‘enough women draw upon some or all of them to make us comfortable in identifying them as the five most common approaches among women to date’ (p.2). Relational leadership is the first approach that conceives of ‘power with’ others (and shared) rather than ‘power over’ others seeking to control (Hartsock, 1983; Hurty, 1995; Kreisberg, 1992). This idea of power leads to change.
Because many women see themselves in relationships with others instead of in charge of others, relational leadership generates political power. When this kind of leadership is grounded in purpose, relationships build the capacity that can be harnessed to make change. (p.46)
In contrast to the ‘top-down approach’, this approach develops a collegial sense of community enabling positive change and involves a deliberate promotion of diversification because change comes ‘by garnering input from a variety of sources and promoting initiative throughout the organization’ (p.65). However, leaders have both to create and allow time for these diverse groups to collaborate with one another in a constructive and productive way to let this sense of community emerge. In contrast, Hoobler et al. (2014) take a less positive view from a commercial context about the tendency of females to be relational seeing it as leading them to aspire to posts with less power and lower prestige.