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Distributed Leadership and bureaucracy

Distributed Leadership and bureaucracy
Distributed Leadership and bureaucracy
This article considers distributed leadership in the context of the extensive literature on post-bureaucratic organisations. It suggests that both distributed leadership and bureaucracy are ideal types. It outlines the development of bureaucracy as an organisational form, challenges the often-stereotypical criticisms that have damned the theory and questions the withdrawal of the field of educational leadership from constructive engagement. It explores the notion that bureaucracy is conceived as a means of shaping and containing power in a way that is sophisticated and has developed considerably since Weber’s original idea. The article also outlines the development of distributed leadership and critiques the assertion that it offers a means of redistributing power, arguing that there is little evidence that this happens in any reliable way. It suggests that such reliance is often based on a limited zero-sum concept of power and a sanitised view of staff and organisations. It concludes that bureaucracy offers a more realistic and deeper engagement with issues of power, and that its rejection, except as a butt of criticism, deliberately ignores an enduring and important aspect of leading organisations. It concludes that educational leaders need to engage positively with bureaucracy if they are to transform education.
1741-1432
5-19
Lumby, Jacky
83299e7c-1819-47aa-8971-76f4a7a62bb5
Lumby, Jacky
83299e7c-1819-47aa-8971-76f4a7a62bb5

Lumby, Jacky (2019) Distributed Leadership and bureaucracy. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 47 (1), 5-19. (doi:10.1177/1741143217711190).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article considers distributed leadership in the context of the extensive literature on post-bureaucratic organisations. It suggests that both distributed leadership and bureaucracy are ideal types. It outlines the development of bureaucracy as an organisational form, challenges the often-stereotypical criticisms that have damned the theory and questions the withdrawal of the field of educational leadership from constructive engagement. It explores the notion that bureaucracy is conceived as a means of shaping and containing power in a way that is sophisticated and has developed considerably since Weber’s original idea. The article also outlines the development of distributed leadership and critiques the assertion that it offers a means of redistributing power, arguing that there is little evidence that this happens in any reliable way. It suggests that such reliance is often based on a limited zero-sum concept of power and a sanitised view of staff and organisations. It concludes that bureaucracy offers a more realistic and deeper engagement with issues of power, and that its rejection, except as a butt of criticism, deliberately ignores an enduring and important aspect of leading organisations. It concludes that educational leaders need to engage positively with bureaucracy if they are to transform education.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 1 June 2017
Published date: 1 January 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427723
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427723
ISSN: 1741-1432
PURE UUID: 257acfa3-a187-49e2-b42d-4c6826af36ee

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 25 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 25 Jan 2019 17:30

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