What makes good even better? Excellent EC leadership

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore sense-making of early childhood (EC) leaders in EC services rated as exceeding/excellent in Australian accreditation. Design/methodology/approach: An interpretivist ontology and social constructivist epistemology informs the study. The conceptual framework uses the concept of sense-making to explore how leaders make sense of the policy frameworks and use these to shape practice. Findings: Previous research identified that many leaders focussed on ensuring staff complied with new policy requirements. In contrast, this study found that these leaders paid more attention to relationships with staff and less to directing compliance. Practical implications: The paper posits high quality service delivery is possible when leaders (in the words of a participant) look after their staff. Originality/value: In Australia, neoliberal discourses have profoundly impacted on recent reforms in the EC sector. Previous research identified the ambiguities inherent in the Australian EC leadership role as leaders and staff grappled with new understandings and practices, and the uncertainties around lines of authority and influence. This paper is the first to explore the understandings of those leaders whose services are assessed to be operating at the highest level of quality.

LanguageEnglish
Pages573-586
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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childhood
leadership
leader
staff
Early childhood
accreditation
epistemology
ontology
uncertainty
reform
Staff
discourse
methodology
Values
Sensemaking

Cite this

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abstract = "Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore sense-making of early childhood (EC) leaders in EC services rated as exceeding/excellent in Australian accreditation. Design/methodology/approach: An interpretivist ontology and social constructivist epistemology informs the study. The conceptual framework uses the concept of sense-making to explore how leaders make sense of the policy frameworks and use these to shape practice. Findings: Previous research identified that many leaders focussed on ensuring staff complied with new policy requirements. In contrast, this study found that these leaders paid more attention to relationships with staff and less to directing compliance. Practical implications: The paper posits high quality service delivery is possible when leaders (in the words of a participant) look after their staff. Originality/value: In Australia, neoliberal discourses have profoundly impacted on recent reforms in the EC sector. Previous research identified the ambiguities inherent in the Australian EC leadership role as leaders and staff grappled with new understandings and practices, and the uncertainties around lines of authority and influence. This paper is the first to explore the understandings of those leaders whose services are assessed to be operating at the highest level of quality.",
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What makes good even better? Excellent EC leadership. / Sims, Margaret; Waniganayake, Manjula; Hadley, Fay.

In: International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2019, p. 573-586.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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