How might better network theories support school leadership research?

M. Hadfield, M. Jopling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores how recent research in education has applied different aspects of ‘network’ theory to the study of school leadership. Constructs from different network theories are often used because of their perceived potential to clarify two perennial issues in leadership research. The first is the relative importance of formal and informal leadership structures. The second is the extent to which leadership is an individual or a social phenomenon. Network theories have the potential to help leadership researchers tackle these and other issues by identifying how leaders manipulate, and are affected by, a broad range of networks and their structural characteristics. In this article, we argue that by adopting a more structural-pluralist approach to the aspects of network theory used within leadership research a more expansive notion of Leaders' agency can be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-121
Number of pages13
JournalSchool Leadership and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2012


  • leadership
  • networks
  • agency


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