South African Journal of Education

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Teachers’ reflections on distributive leadership in public primary schools in Soweto

SR Naicker, R Mestry


Schooling has become increasingly complex in purpose and structure and therefore requires appropriate forms of leadership to address this challenge. One current leadership approach that is receiving national and global attention is distributive leadership. A qualitative approach was employed to investigate teachers’ experiences and perceptions of the practice of distributive leadership in public primary schools in Soweto. Soweto is a township in Johannesburg, South Africa, which comprises predominantly black African residents. The findings revealed that leadership in Soweto primary schools is rooted in classical leadership practices and that any potential for the practice of distributive leadership is hindered by autocratic styles of leadership, hierarchical structures, and non-participative decision-making.

Keywords: Activity Theory, collective leadership, decision-making, distributive leadership, hierarchy, leadership styles, power, principals, school climate, teacher leadership
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