Online from: 1987
Subject Area: Education
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|Title:||Successful school leadership in Sweden and the US: Contexts of social responsibility and individualism|
|Author(s):||Betty Merchant, (Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA), Helene Ärlestig, (Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden), Encarnacion Garza, (Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA), Olof Johansson, (Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden), Elizabeth Murakami-Ramalho, (Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA), Monika Törnsén, (Centre for Principal Development, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)|
|Citation:||Betty Merchant, Helene Ärlestig, Encarnacion Garza, Olof Johansson, Elizabeth Murakami-Ramalho, Monika Törnsén, (2012) "Successful school leadership in Sweden and the US: Contexts of social responsibility and individualism", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 26 Iss: 5, pp.428 - 441|
|Keywords:||Comparative education, Diversity, Inclusive schools, International education, Leadership, School leadership, Social responsibility, Sweden, United States of America|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/09513541211240228 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – The purpose of this cross-cultural study of schools in Sweden and Texas is to examine the cultural contexts of schools in both settings, and the leadership role of principals in creating and sustaining inclusive schools for diverse populations.
Design/methodology/approach – The data were drawn from two studies; the first involving school visits, classroom observations, and interviews conducted in researcher exchanges between both countries. The second source of data comes from the authors’ participation in a multi-national longitudinal study, the International Successful School Principals’ Project (ISSPP). A common survey instrument, individual interviews, school visits and observations provide the data for this study.
Findings – The seven themes that emerged were manifested in ways that reflected the differing philosophies of each country: engagement and pride, high expectations, student autonomy, early student learning and development, teamwork, diversity and integration, and international focus on academic rankings. It is concluded that the creation of inclusive schools in a diverse context requires that principals maintain a focus on academic accountability while also working consciously to address social and civic issues.
Research limitations/implications – Current migration and immigration patterns create a need for research, like this study, that examines how the social philosophies of different countries might support or hinder the success of various efforts to develop leadership for inclusive schools with diverse populations.
Originality/value – Examining the leadership of inclusive schools within two countries that differ substantially in their relative emphases on individualism and socialism provides valuable insights into how national philosophies are reflected in the ways school systems respond to diversity.