UBC Graduate Research

Winning combination or strange brew? : exploring a merged concept of distributed leadership in New Zealand elementary school numeracy reform DeAbreu, Robert J.


Distributed leadership is a relatively recent, promising branch in educational leadership research (Hartley, 2010). Leithwood states that qualitative research, rather than quantitative, allows us to unpack the contextual nuances that make distributed leadership differentially effective (Leithwood, 2001). In looking at the case of distributed leadership in numeracy reform at a school in New Zealand, Higgins and Bonne’s qualitative approach allows them to examine more deeply the root causes of the effectiveness of distributed leadership in this particular context. As part of their findings, they merge Gronn’s concept of the hybrid nature of leadership, the fact that leaders use a mixture of leadership styles and tools (Gronn, 2009), with Leithwood’s four core functions of leadership (Leithwood et al., 2007) to create, I will argue, a cohesive and flexible framework of distributed leadership. This paper will explore the soundness of this merged leadership model and the possibility of its application in other contexts.

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