Leadership for Democracy

  • Lejf Moos
  • Börkur Hansen
  • Göran Björk
  • Olof Johansson
Part of the Studies in Educational Leadership book series (SIEL, volume 19)


Two perspectives inform the discussion in this chapter. The first is the cultural, societal background of the Nordic countries. In general, the Danish, Icelandic, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish societies have a history of participatory and deliberative democracy with a strong focus on equity. Education systems were expected to further nation-building (producing democratically minded and competent citizens) in a school for all (one comprehensive school system with no streaming). There are differences between the countries in the balances between state and local governance, but these differences do not overrule the general societal and cultural tendency. This underlying foundation for society and culture is seen as the foundation on which citizens as well as professionals form their thinking and actions.

The second perspective is the contemporary political tendency towards neo-liberal competitive state politics with a focus on new public management tools and technologies like principal-agent models, managerial logics and outcomes focus. Education is in this regime expected to focus on basic skills, competition, excellence and employability.

In the everyday of school leadership, both tendencies are active in guiding thinking and action. School leaders endeavour to act according to the inherited values, while adapting to managerial demands. Contemporary governance logics make it possible to utilise room for manoeuvre, as the decentralisation of operations and tasks is accompanied by mechanisms for monitoring and control, some of which open up for translation of external expectations, for negotiating the meaning of demands, so they make sense internally in a given school. They make room for deliberations and thus for developing internal culture and discourses.


Education System School Leader Competitive State Social Technology Comprehensive School 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lejf Moos
    • 1
  • Börkur Hansen
    • 2
  • Göran Björk
    • 3
  • Olof Johansson
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Education (DPU)Aarhus UniversityCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.School of EducationUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  3. 3.Department of General EducationÅbo Academi UniversityÅboFinland
  4. 4.Centre for Principal DevelopmentUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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