Working as early childhood centre directors and deputies – perspectives from Australia, Finland and Norway

Leena Halttunen, Margaret Sims, Manjula Waniganayake, Fay Hadley, Karin Hognestad, Johanna Elmiina Heikka

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Abstract

This research is based in early childhood centres in Australia, Finland and Norway, considered the leadership work of centre Directors and Deputy Directors. Theoretically, this study is situated within the global landscape of neoliberalism that Sims (2017) describes as forcing the reshaping of early childhood policy in numerous OECD countries. Essentially qualitative in design, this exploratory study uses data gathered via a short background survey questionnaire, content analysis of job description statements, and a follow up interview with each participant. Findings indicate that there are differences within and across the three countries in the way these jobs are structured. It appears that the expectations of each role and how participants engage in leadership are framed by their centre contexts. In Australia, leaders of centres achieving an excellent quality rating tend to focus on relationship work when making leadership decisions. In Finland, Directors and Deputy Directors are expected to collaborate as partners when overseeing the work of 2-3 centres and other services. In Norway, there has been a redistribution of work where Deputy Directors have a co-responsibility in leadership enactment. When taken together, these findings illuminate new insights on how Directors experience leadership when Deputies are part of the leadership team in early childhood settings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLeadership in early education in times of change
Subtitle of host publicationresearch from five continents
EditorsPetra Strehmel, Johanna Heikka, Eeva Hujala, Jillian Rodd, Manjula Waniganayake
Place of PublicationOpladen
PublisherVerlag Barbara Budrich
Chapter18
Pages231-252
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783847412243
ISBN (Print)9783847421993
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameResearch monograph (International Leadership Research Forum Early Education)
Number3

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Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Cite this

Halttunen, L., Sims, M., Waniganayake, M., Hadley, F., Hognestad, K., & Heikka, J. E. (2019). Working as early childhood centre directors and deputies – perspectives from Australia, Finland and Norway. In P. Strehmel, J. Heikka, E. Hujala, J. Rodd, & M. Waniganayake (Eds.), Leadership in early education in times of change: research from five continents (pp. 231-252). (Research monograph (International Leadership Research Forum Early Education); No. 3). Opladen: Verlag Barbara Budrich.