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Title: The institutionalization of distributed leadership: A ‘Catch-22’ in English public services
Authors: Currie, Graeme
Lockett, Andy
Suhomlinova, Olga
First Published: 23-Sep-2009
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
Citation: Human Relations, 2009, 62 (11), pp. 1735-1761
Abstract: Distributed leadership is promoted as being well suited to public service organizations because of their multiple goals, less pronounced managerial authority and presence of powerful professional groups. Drawing on qualitative evidence we analyse the complex process of the institutionalization of distributed leadership in English schools. Our analysis suggests that competing institutional forces simultaneously foster and stymie the adoption of distributed leadership. Consequently, the school principals find themselves in a classic Catch-22 situation, which they resolve by enacting a weak form of distributed leadership. Ironically, the implementation of distributed leadership is the most difficult in the schools located in socially deprived areas, that is, the very context where policy-makers expect distributed leadership to make the most impact. Moving beyond our specific case, we argue that distributed leadership, and leadership more generally, cannot be divorced from its institutional context and that the relative influence of divergent institutional forces depends upon the immediate organizational environment.
ISSN: 0018-7267
Type: Article
Description: Full text of this item is not currently available on the LRA. The final published version is available at, Doi: 10.1177/0018726709346378.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Management

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