Emergence of Creativity in Educational Leadership

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    Effective leaders in the 21st Century will drive change and address the myriad of tensions through applying creativity and innovation along with supporting individuals and teams to integrate this approach in their practice, particularly in relation to problem-solving and progressing a system (Basadur, 2004; Hennessey and Amabile, 2009). While in education, creativity is featured in many curriculum documents to enhance student learning; consideration must be given to whether this is readily extended to those leading public sector learning environments. The aim of this study is to explore creativity and innovation in educational leadership, with a focus on Scotland’s primary headteachers. The author outlines some of the findings and discussion points which have emerged from a structured literature review carried out as the first stage of a Ph.D. Research from across the UK, and internationally, continuously demonstrates the significance of educational leadership with regards to school improvement and effectiveness (Leithwood and Jantzi, 1999; Stoll, MacBeath and Mortimore, 2001; Leithwood and Day, 2008; Scottish Government, 2011; Watt et al., 2014; OECD, 2015). However, it is also apparent that Scotland’s headteachers have been experiencing incessant pressure where educational reform initiatives and accountability places unrelenting demands on the school heads. It has been recognised that excessive workloads are ‘at the heart’ of Scottish headteachers ability to cope with the demands of the role and the level of accountability (MacBeath, O’Brien and Gronn, 2012: 422). Furthermore, as there is no certainty for the future, particularly in light of external demands and changes, Donaldson (Scottish Government, 2011) highlights the notion that promoted school staff will ‘have to be flexible, bold and creative if they are to continue to serve young people well’ (p.16). Underpinning this discussion is the work of Uhl-Bien et al. (2007). Their framework offers the concept of Complexity Leadership Theory which considers leadership within complex adaptive systems. Uhl-Bien at al. highlight the dynamic relationship between creativity and bureaucracy through the entangled concepts of three leadership roles: adaptive, administrative and enabling in knowledge-producing environments (2007). From the literature review, it has been concluded that creativity is perceived as a necessary feature of leadership across many sectors, and although there is a lip service surrounding this within Scottish educational leadership policy documents, this does not seem to be played out in the literature with regards to empirical research. In addition, initial findings suggest that if policy-makers are acknowledging creativity and innovation as a requirement in educational leadership, then the culture of the sector needs to embrace key concepts surrounding these two themes. Further, Complexity Leadership Theory provides a useful framework in which to study the space which enables creativity to take place within the realms of bureaucracy. This research aligns well within the SIG of Educational Leadership. References Basadur, M (2004) ‘Leading others to think innovatively together: creative leadership’, The Leadership Quarterly, 15, pp.103-121. Hennessey, B.A. and Amabile, T.M. (2009) Creativity. The Annual Review of Psychology. Available at: http://psych.annualreviews.org (Accessed: 10 February 2015). Leithwood, K. and Day, C. (2008) ‘The impact of school leadership on pupil outcomes’, School Leadership and Management, 28 (1) pp. 1-4. Leithwood, K. and Jantzi, D. (1999) ‘Transformational school leadership effects: a replication’, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 10(4), p. 451-479. MacBeath, J; O’Brien, J and Gronn, P. 2012 ‘Drowning or waving? Coping strategies among Scottish head teachers, School Leadership & Management, 32(5), pp. 421-437. OECD. (2015) Improving schools in Scotland: An OECD perspective. OECD: Paris. Scottish Government (2011) Teaching Scotland’s Future: Report of a review of teacher education in Scotland. Available at: http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/337626/0110852.pdf (Accessed: 14 January 2015). Stoll, L., MacBeath, J. and Mortimore, P. (2001) ‘Beyond 2000: where next for effectiveness and improvement’, in MacBeath, J. and Mortimore, P. (eds.) Improving School Effectiveness. Berkshire: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill Education. Uhl-Bien, M., Marion, R. and McKelvey, B. (2007) ‘Complexity leadership theory: shifting leadership from the industrial age to the knowledge era’, The Leadership Quarterly, 18(4), pp. 298-318. Watt, G., Bloomer, K., Christie, I., Finlayson, C. and Jaquet, S. (2014) Evaluation of Routes to Headship. Blake Stevenson. Available at: www.gov.scot/Resource/0044/00445790.pdf (Accessed: 27 November 2016).
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2018
    Event2018 British Educational Research Association Annual Conference - University of Newcastle, Newcastle
    Duration: 11 Sept 201813 Sept 2018


    Conference2018 British Educational Research Association Annual Conference
    Abbreviated titleBERA CONFERENCE 2018
    Internet address


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