Principals’ Reflections on Effectively Managing Their Schools: Cooperative Leadership and Its Role in Schools


Despite widespread and long-standing commitment to the notion of leadership across the teaching profession, it is unusual for the theory and practice of leadership to be taught as a subject in education. This study examined what factors the participants believed influenced their school management approach and how they defined their current leadership styles. This paper offers theoretically informed models of leadership which encompasses different purposes (assessment of self and the school system). Finding out the leadership styles of the principals helps them find ways to understand complex educational issues. Available literature points to the realization that there have been few studies that explore principals’ perceptions of the factors underpinning their successes and achievements. A qualitative research project was undertaken in Cyprus by using in-depth interviews. Data were collected from interviews. Journal entries were also analyzed for the benefit of the study. Microanalysis was used to analyze the data and cross case analysis was used to look for similarities and differences between the cases. Analysis was informed by movement between theoretical dimensions and emerging themes from participants’ discussions of their leadership experiences. This research has shown that the participants had similar goals with regard to their school management yet implemented it in different ways. This study illustrates implications for future research on the factors influencing school management.

Share and Cite:

Çağanağa, Ç. (2015) Principals’ Reflections on Effectively Managing Their Schools: Cooperative Leadership and Its Role in Schools. Open Access Library Journal, 2, 1-9. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1101962.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Senge, P.M. (1990) The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization. Doubleday, New York.
[2] Garcia-Morales, V.J., Llorens-Montes, F.J. and Verdu-Jover, A.J. (2007) Influence of Personal Mastery on Organizational Performance through Organizational Learning and İ;nnovation in Large Firms and SMEs. Technovation, 27, 547-568.
[3] Bui, H. and Baruch, Y. (2010) Creating Learning Organizations in Higher Education: Applying a Systems Perspective. The Learning Organization, 17, 228-242.
[4] Blackman, D. and Henderson, S. (2005) Why Learning Organizations Do Not Transform. The Learning Organization, 12, 42-56.
[5] Hersey, P., Blanchard, K.H. and Johnson, D.E. (2001) Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resources. 8th Edition, PrenticeHall, Inc., Upper Saddle River.
[6] Cashman, K. (1998) Leadership from the Inside out: Becoming a Leader for Life. Leadersource, Minneapolis.
[7] Fritz, R. (1999) The Path of Least Resistance for Manager: Designing Organizations to Succeed. Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.
[8] Anderson, D. and Ackerman Anderson, L.A. (2001) Beyond Change Management. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
[9] Huber, N. (1998) Leading from within: Developing Personal Direction. Krieger, Malabar.
[10] Hutchens, D. (2000) The Lemming Dilemma: Living with Purpose, Leading with Vision. Pegasus Communications, Waltham.
[11] Secretan, L. (2006) One: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership. The Secretan Centre, Toronto.
[12] Gardner, W. and Avolio, B. (2005) Can You See the Real Me? A Self-Based Model of Authentic Leader and Follower Development. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 343-372.
[13] Schö;n, D.A. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Basic Books, New York.
[14] Loughran, J.J. (2002) Effective Reflective Practice: In Search of Meaning in Learning about Teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53, 33-43.
[15] Higgins, D. (2011) Why Reflect? Recognising the Link between Learning and Reflection. Reflective Practice, 12, 583-584.
[16] Richardson, V. (1994) Conducting Research on Practice. Educational Researcher, 23, 5-10.
[17] Weiss, E.M. and Weiss, S.G. (2001) Beginning Teacher Induction (Report No. EDO-SP-1999-3). ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED436487, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Washington DC.
[18] Blaesi, S. and Wilson, M. (2010) The Mirror Reflects Both Ways: Action Influences Perception of Others. Brain & Cognition, 72, 306-309.
[19] Foucault, M. (1982) The Subject and Power. Critical Inquiry, 8, 777-795.
[20] Giddens, A. (1976) New Rules of Sociological Method. Hutchinson, London.
[21] Habermas, J. (1978) Knowledge and Human Interests. 2nd Edition, Heinemann, London.
[22] Barnett, R. (1994) The Limits of Competence, Knowledge, Higher Education and Society. SRHE and The Open University Press, Buckingham.
[23] Elmore, R. (2000) Building a New Structure for School Leadership. The Albert Shanker Institute, Washington DC.
[24] Lambert, L. (1998) Building Leadership Capacity in Schools. ASCD, Alexandria.
[25] Lambert, L., Walker, D., Zimmerman, D., Cooper, J., Lambert, M., Gardner, M. and Ford-Slack, P.J. (1995) The constructivist leader. Teachers College Press, New York.
[26] Olson, L. (2000) Principals Try New Styles as Instructional Leaders. Education Week, 20.
[27] Poplin, M. (1994) The Restructuring Movement and Voices from the Inside: Compatibilities and İncompatibilities. Seminar Conducted at the Meeting of the Association of California School Administrators, Palm Springs.
[28] Spillane, J., Halverson, R. and Diamond, J. (2001) Investigating School Leadership Practice: A Distributed Perspective (Research News and Comment). Educational Researcher, 30, 23-28.
[29] Hishamudin, H. (2010) Learning Organisation Elements as Determinants of Organisational Performance of Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) in Singapore. International NGO Journal, 5, 117-128.
[30] Patton, M.Q. (2003) Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks.
[31] Khan, S. and Van Wynsberghe, R. (2008) Cultivating the Under-Mined: Knowledge Mobilization through Cross-Case Analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9, 1-21.
[32] Davies, D. and Dodd, J. (2002) Qualitative Research and the Question of Rigor. Qualitative Health Research, 12, 279-289.
[33] Stenbacka, C. (2001) Qualitative Research Requires Quality Concepts of Its Own. Management Decision, 39, 551-555.
[34] Denzin, N.K. (1994) The Art and Politics of İnterpretation. In: Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S., Eds., Handbook of Qualitative Research, Sage, Thousand Oaks, 500-515.
[35] Strauss, A. and Corbin, J. (1990) Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. 2nd Edition, Sage, Newbury Park.
[36] Mouton, J. (2001) How to Succeed in Your Master’s and Doctoral Studies: A South African Guide and Resource Book. Van Schaik, Pretoria.
[37] Dana, N.F. (2009) Leading with Passion and Knowledge: The Principal as Action Researcher. Corwin & American Association of School Administrators, Thousand Oaks.
[38] Hart, A.W. (1990) Effective Administration through Reflective Practice. Education and Urban Society, 22, 153-169.
[39] Leithwood, K.A., Jantzi, D. and Steinbach, R. (1999) Changing Leadership for Changing Times. Open University Press, Buckingham.
[40] Raelin, J.A. and Coghlan, D. (2006) Developing Managers as Learners and Researchers: Using Action Learning and Action Research. Journal of Management Education, 30, 670-689.
[41] Short, P.M. and Rinehart, J.S. (1993) Reflection as a Means of Developing Expertise. Educational Administration Quarterly, 29, 501-521.
[42] York-Barr, J., Sommers, W.A., Ghere, G.S. and Monthie, J. (2006) Reflective Practice to Improve Schools: An Action Guide for Educators. Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks.
[43] Osterman, K.F. and Kottkamp, R.B. (2004) Reflective Practice for Educators: Professional Development to İmprove Student Learning. Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks.
[44] Day, C. (1993) Reflection: A Necessary but Not Sufficient Condition for Professional Development. British Educational Research Journal, 19, 83-93.
[45] Robinson, V., Hohepa, M. and Lloyd, C. (2010) School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why. Ministry of Education, Wellington.
[46] Pont, B., Nusche, D. and Hopkins, D. (2008) Improving School Leadership: Volume 2: Case Studies on System Leadership. OECD, Paris.
[47] Vail, P. (1996) Learning as a Way of Being: Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
[48] Pont, B., Nusche, D. and Hopkins, D. (2008) Improving School Leadership, Volume 2: Case Studies on System Leadership. OECD publishing, Paris.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.