Morrison, Marlene and Lumby, Jacky
Is leadership observable? Qualitative orientations to leadership for diversity. A case from FE
Ethnography & Education, 4, (1), . (doi:10.1080/17457820802703515).
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Currently, ethnographic interest in leadership is relatively sparse. This paper's focus derives from research about integrating diversity in leadership, and how some leaders are included and excluded from organisational influence in Further Education. Specific interest is in methodological opportunities to research leadership as observed behaviours in sensitive contexts of diversity. Three issues are foregrounded. Firstly, it is argued that notwithstanding the importance of interviews and biographies, research without observation underestimates the significance of whether what leaders do in relation to diversity is what they say they do. A second issue lies in considering whether data collected over seven months during intensive two-day case site visits, might legitimately be labelled ethnography. Thirdly, the ethical issues in defining and researching the diverse characteristics of actual and potential leaders are considered. Conclusions confirm a need to research leadership ethnographically not least to prevent critical perspectives about leadership, diversity and equality being air-brushed from studies of educational administration.
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