Leadership emergence and development: Organizations shaping leading in early childhood education

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Early childhood education (ECE) effects positive outcomes for children, but outcomes depend upon the quality of the program with which children engage. Program quality is positively influenced by effective leadership; yet we do not fully understand how effective leadership emerges and develops within ECE sites. This lack of knowledge potentially compromises the development of effective leadership and, subsequently, a child’s right to high-quality ECE. This paper, therefore,contributes to the field of research on ECE leadership development by describing a qualitative Australian study that investigated leadership cultivation. The mini-ethnographic case study examined the emergence and development of leadership in three high-quality, diversely governed ECE settings. Findings of the study suggest the practice of leading is foundational for positional leadership roles and is enabled by the practice architectures of an organization. Practice architectures comprise cultural-discursive, material-economic and social-political arrangements.Arrangements, found within organizations, included cultures of trust, use of professional knowledge and language, collaborative development of philosophy, democratic allocation of resources,sharing of power and openness to activism, disruption and creativity. Such arrangements play an important role in the emergence and development of leading and therefore offer organizations alternative ways to consider leadership cultivation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-693
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2022


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