Horizontal violence in early childhood education and care: Implications for leadership enactment

Louise Hard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leadership is a contested term in many contexts and means various things to different people. In early childhood education and care (ECEC) it is understood in multilayered terms. This paper draws on a qualitative research study which employed symbolic interactionism as a methodological toal and drew data (rom 26 participants (rom the ECEC field (in particular the birth-to-five sectar). The enactment of leadership in ECEC emerges as heavily influenced by (actors both internal and external to the field. This paper will discuss horizontal violence as one of the significant internal impediments to leadership enactment. The notion of horizontal violence originated in nursing literature and in this paper highlights contradictions between a fingering discourse of niceness and a culture which condones behaviours that marginalise and exclude others. The outcome of this culture is a powerful expectation of compliance which does little to foster or encourage leadership activity. Suggestions are made which focus on an open discussion of this phenomenon within the ECEC field in order to address behaviours which are currently constraining leadership activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Early Childhood
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


Dive into the research topics of 'Horizontal violence in early childhood education and care: Implications for leadership enactment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this