Appointing Senior Managers in Education: homosociability, local logics and authenticity in the selection process
Grummell, Bernie and Devine, Dympna and Lynch, Kathleen (2009) Appointing Senior Managers in Education: homosociability, local logics and authenticity in the selection process. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 37 (3). pp. 329-349. ISSN 1741-1432
While there is extensive research on educational leadership and management, the selection of leaders has received comparatively little attention. This article examines how educational leadership is constructed through the selection process in the context of a qualitative study of Irish education. It highlights the tensions that can exist for selection board assessors as they try to balance increasing performativity and new managerialist demands with the traditional ethical and moral dimensions of educational leadership. Key concepts of `local logics' and `homosociability' frame the analysis as it is shown how assessors often select `safe' candidates according to familiar qualities. This normalization is problematic when educational leadership is faced with intense organizational and socio-cultural change. It is also problematic in gender terms, especially in higher education, where the prevailing leadership model is a masculine one. Differences between education sectors are evident, with the primary and second levels translating criteria to the local logics of the institution and emphasizing the personal qualities of candidates. The higher education sectors were more formalized in their application process, highlighting their own local logics of strategic and professional management criteria.
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