Distributive leadership in public schools: Experiences and perceptions of teachers in the Soweto region

  • SR Naicker
  • R Mestry
Keywords: distributive leadership, collective leadership, participative leadership styles, teacher leadership, teams, professional development, school climate


In current times, the increasing demands of principalship and the complexities facing schools have led to the emergence of distributive forms of leadership in schools. The dissatisfaction with traditional models has resulted in a paradigm shift where leadership focus on the position of individuals in the hierarchy has been rejected in favour of collective leadership practices. In an era of democracy, distributive leadership continues to attract attention as a relevant model for the twenty-first century school. Using a mixed methods approach, we investigated teacher experiences and perceptions of the practice of distributive leadership in South African public primary schools in the Soweto region. Soweto is a township in South Africa steeped in political history associated with the struggle against apartheid (pre-1994) and which, to date, comprises predominantly black residents. Findings from the qualitative phase of the research revealed that distributive leadership had not taken root in schools in Soweto. However, the quantitative findings showed the early stages of a movement towards distributive leadership.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0258-2236