Superintendent Leadership in Hierarchy and Network

  • Jan Merok PaulsenEmail author
  • Elisabet Nihlfors
  • Ulf Brinkkjær
  • Mika Risku
Part of the Educational Governance Research book series (EGTU, volume 2)


School superintendents are coupled hierarchically with the top apex of municipality organization through their membership of leadership teams and through personal ties to the top municipal manager, which provides opportunities to take part in strategic decision-making processes beyond the educational sector. Superintendents are also vertically linked to their school leaders through strong and dense network ties. Along the horizontal axis superintendents are active network players with peers, for example through superintendent associations or more frequently mentioned through personal ties to superintendent colleagues. Superintendents are linked to school boards through strong formal ties. In this chapter, the formation and utilization of network ties within the hierarchy by superintendents is analyzed in concert with horizontal network with peers. School board networking within hierarchy and with the political power center of the municipality is analyzed. Finally, the use that school leaders make of the network in relation to superintendents is discussed.


Governance hierarchy Social network Network structure Network engagement Organizational trust 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Merok Paulsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elisabet Nihlfors
    • 2
  • Ulf Brinkkjær
    • 3
  • Mika Risku
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Teacher Education and International StudiesOslo and Akershus University College of Applied ScienceOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of EducationUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of EducationAarhus UniversityCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Institute of Educational LeadershipUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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