School Leaders and Leadership: A Longitudinal Life History

  • Ciaran Sugrue
Part of the Studies in Educational Leadership book series (SIEL, volume 20)


This chapter provides background, context and theoretical framing for the longitudinal life history of school leaders and leadership documented in this book. It paints a background picture of the educational system in which the study is embedded with particular reference to the requirements specified to attain the office of principal. Additionally, while grounded in this systemic milieu, it takes a broad-brush approach to the manner in which leadership literature has evolved over time, situated and shaped by the emergence and increasing influence of neo-liberal ideology during the period under scrutiny in later chapters. The stance adopted throughout this first-half of the chapter is one that also provides a rationale and justification for taking a life history approach to leadership. The second section, while building on the first, addresses the issue of life history, its credentials and its methodological potential to contribute differently and distinctly to leadership literature while espousing a change over time perspective. The chapter concludes with a succinct account of data analysis and the creation of themes that are individually dealt with in subsequent chapters and collectively paint a composite picture of school leaders and leadership over time. Thereafter, the participants in the study are introduced to the reader as a means of contextualising subsequent chapters, orienting the reader and adding to the rationale for the approach adopted as a distinct contribution to leadership literature.


Life History Corporal Punishment Life Story Leadership Practice Narrative Identity 
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.


  1. Allen, N., & Kayes, D. C. (2011). Leader development in dynamic and Hasardous environments: Company comander learning through combat. In A. McKee & M. Eraut (Eds.), Learning trajectories, innovation and identity for professional development (pp. 93–111). Dodrecht/London/New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Alvesson, M., & Skölberg, K. (2000). Reflexive methodology. New vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, G. L. (2009). Advocacy leadership toward a post-reform Agenda in education. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Antikinen, A., Houtsonen, J., Kauppila, J., & Hutotelin, H. (1996). Living in a learning society: Life histories, identities and education. London: The Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  5. Appiah, K. A. (2007). The ethics of identity. Princeton/London: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Ball, S. J. (2007). Education plc: Understanding private sector participation in public sector education. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Ball, S. (2008a). The Legacy of ERA, Privatization and Policy Ratchet. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 36(2), 185–199.Google Scholar
  8. Ball, S. (2008b). Performativity, privatisation, professionals and the state. In B. Cunningham (Ed.), Exploring professionalism (pp. 50–72). London: Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  9. Ball, S. (2012). Global Education Inc. New policy networks and the neo-liberal imaginary. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Ball, S., & Goodson, I. F. (1985). Teachers’ lives and careers. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  11. Barnett, R. (2011). Towards an ecological professionalism. In C. Sugrue & T. Dyrdal Solbrekke (Eds.), Professional responsibility: New horizons of praxis (pp. 29–41). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Bauman, Z. (2000/2006). Liquid modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bauman, Z. (2001). Community seeking safety in an insecure world. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  14. Beck, U. (2000). What is globalization? Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  15. Beiner, G. (2007). Remembering the year of the French Irish folk history and social memory. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  16. Bennis, W. G., & Thomas, R. J. (2002). Geeks & Geezers how era, values, and defining moments shape leaders. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  17. Boon, M. (2007). The African way the power of interactive leadership (3rd ed.). Cape Town: Zebra Press.Google Scholar
  18. Buckingham, M., & Coffman, C. (2005). First break all the rules what the World’s greatest managers do differently. London: Pocket Books.Google Scholar
  19. Casey, K. (1993). I answer with my life life histories of women teachers working for social change. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Coles, R. (2000). Lives of moral leadership men and women who have made a difference. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  21. Coolahan, J. (1981). A history of Irish education. Dublin: IPA.Google Scholar
  22. Copland, M. A. (2001). The myth of the superprincipal. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(7), 528–533.Google Scholar
  23. Couldry, N. (2010/2012). Why voice matters culture and politics after NeoLiberalism. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Darling-Hammond, L. (2003). Keeping good teachers why it matters, what leaders can do. Educational Leadership, 60, 6–13.Google Scholar
  25. Deal, T. E., & Peterson, K. D. (2009). Shaping school culture pitfalls, paradoxes, & promises (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  26. Department of Education. (1965). The rules for national schools. Dublin: Government Publications.Google Scholar
  27. Department of Education. (1971). Primary school curriculum (Parts I & II). Dublin: Government Publications Office.Google Scholar
  28. Department of Education. (1973). Circular 16/73 responsibilities and duties of principal teachers and teachers in charge of primary schools. Dublin: DoE.Google Scholar
  29. Dimmock, C. (1996). Dilemmas for school leaders and administrators in restructuring. In K. Leithwood, J. Chapman, D. Corson, P. Hallinger, & A. Hart (Eds.), International handbook of educational leadership and administration (Vol. 2, pp. 135–170). Dordrecht/Boston/London: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  30. Drea, E., & O’Brien, J. (2002). Defining the role of the primary principal in Ireland (a report by Hay group management consultants, prepared for and on behalf of Irish primary principals’ network, IPPN). Dublin: HayGroup.Google Scholar
  31. Erben, M. (Ed.). (1998). Biography and education: A reader. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  32. Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  33. Fullan, M. (2003). Change forces with a vengeance. New York/London: Routledge/Falmer.Google Scholar
  34. Furedi, F. (2002). Culture of fear. London/New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  35. Furlong, J. (2013). Education – An anatomy of the discipline rescuing the university project? Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Gerhardt, S. (2011). The selfish society how we all forgot to love one another and made money instead. London/New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  37. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Giddens, A. (1999). The third way: The renewal of social democracy. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  39. Giddens, A. (2002). Runaway world how globalization is reshaping our lives. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  40. Gladwell, M. (2001). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. London: Abacus.Google Scholar
  41. Goodson, I. F. (Ed.). (1992). Studying teachers’ lives. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  42. Goodson, I. F., & Sikes, P. (Eds.). (2001). Life history research in educational settings. Buckingham/Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Goodson, I. F., & Walker, R. (Eds.). (1991). Biography, identity and schooling: Episodes in educational research. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  44. Gray, J. (1990). The quality of schooling frameworks for judgement. British Journal of Educational Studies, 38(3), 204–223.Google Scholar
  45. Gronn, P. (2009). Hybrid leadership. In K. Leithwood, B. Mascall, & T. Strauss (Eds.), Distributed leadership according to the evidence (pp. 17–40). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Gross Stein, J. (2001). The cult of efficiency. Toronto: Anansi Press.Google Scholar
  47. Hargreaves, A. (1994). Changing teachers, changing times. London: Cassell.Google Scholar
  48. Hargreaves, A. (2003). Teaching in the knowledge society. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Hargreaves, A., & Fink, D. (2005). Sustainable leadership. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  50. Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional capital transforming teaching in every school. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Hargreaves, A., & Goodson, I. F. (1996). Teachers’ professional lives: Aspirations and actualities. In I. F. Goodson & A. Hargreaves (Eds.), Teachers’ professional lives (pp. 1–27). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  52. Hargreaves, A., & Goodson, I. F. (2006). Educational change over time: The sustainability and nonsustainability of three decades of secondary school change and continuity. Educational Administration Quarterly, 42(1), 3–41.Google Scholar
  53. Hargreaves, A., & Shirley, D. (2009). The fourth way the inspiring future for educational change. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.Google Scholar
  54. Harris, A. (2008). Distributed school leadership developing tomorrow’s leaders. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Harvey, D. (2003). The new imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Harvey, D. (2011). The enigma of capital and the crises of capitalism. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  57. Henke, R. R., Chen, X., & Geis, S. (2000). Progress through the teacher pipeline: 1992–93 college graduate and elementary/secondary school teaching as of 1997. Statistical analysis report. Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Statistics.Google Scholar
  58. Homer-Dixon, T. (2001). The ingenuity gap. Toronto: Vintage Canada.Google Scholar
  59. Hood, C. (1991). A public management for all seasons. Public Administration, 69(Spring), 3–19.Google Scholar
  60. Iacocca, L., (with Catherine Whitney). (2008). Where have all the leaders gone? New York/London/Toronto/Sydney: Scribner.Google Scholar
  61. INTO. (1991). The role of the principal teacher: A review. Dublin: INTO.Google Scholar
  62. Kohn, M. (2008). Trust self-interest and the common good. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Ladd, H. F. (2007). Teacher labor markets in developed countries. Excellence in the Classroom, 17(1), 201–217.Google Scholar
  64. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1981). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  65. Lasky, S. (2012). Warehousing the schoolhouse: Impact on Teachers’ work and lives? In C. Day (Ed.), Routledge international handbook on teacher and school development (pp. 73–83). Abingdon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  66. Lawn, M., & Grek, S. (2012). Europeanizing education governing a new policy space. Oxford: Symposium Books.Google Scholar
  67. Lazzarato, M. (2011). The making of the indebted man (J. D. Jordan, Trans.). Los Angeles: Semiotext(e).Google Scholar
  68. Leithwood, K., Jantzi, D., & Steinbach, R. (1999). Changing leadership for changing times. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Leithwood, K., Mascall, B., & Strauss, T. (2009a). New perspectives on an old idea. In K. Leithwood, B. Mascall, & T. Strauss (Eds.), Distributed leadership according to the evidence (pp. 1–14). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  70. Leithwood, K., Mascall, B., & Strauss, T. (Eds.). (2009b). Distributed leadership according to the evidence. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  71. Lieberman, A. (2008). How do teachers learn to lead? In C. Sugrue (Ed.), The future of educational change (pp. 204–218). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  72. Lieberman, A., & Miller, L. (2004). Teacher leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  73. Lortie, D. (1975). Schoolteacher: A sociological study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  74. McAdams, D. P. (1995). What do we know when we know a person? Journal of Personality, 63(3), 365–396.Google Scholar
  75. McAdams, D. P. (2006). The redemptive self: Generativity and the stories Americans live by. Research in Human Development, 2&3, 81–100.Google Scholar
  76. McAdams, D. P. (2008). Personal narratives and the life story. In J. Robins & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (3rd ed., pp. 242–262). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  77. McAdams, D. P., Albaugh, M., Farber, E., Daniels, J., Logan, R. L., & Olson, B. (2008). Family metaphors and moral intuitions: How conservatives and liberals narrate their lives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(4), 978–990.Google Scholar
  78. McLaughlin, M. W., & Talbert, J. (2006). Building school-based teacher learning communities professional strategies to improve student achievement. New York/London: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  79. Moller, J. (2004). Lederidentiteter i skolen. Posisjonering, forhandlinger og tilhørighet/. (Leadership identities in school. Positioning, negotiations and belonging). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.Google Scholar
  80. Munro, P. (1998). Subject to fiction: Women teachers’ life history narratives and the cultural politics of resistance. Buckingham/Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  81. Nussbaum, M., & Sen, A. (1992). The quality of life. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  82. Ó Buachalla, S. (1988). Education policy in twentieth century Ireland. Dublin: Wolfhound Press.Google Scholar
  83. OECD. (1991). Reviews of national education policies for education: Ireland. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  84. OECD. (2005). Teachers matter attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  85. OECD. (2008). Ireland towards an integrated public service. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  86. Offer, A. (2007). The challenge of affluence self-control and well-being in the United States and Britain since 1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  87. Parke, C. N. (2002). Biography writing lives. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  88. Pont, B., Nusche, D., & Moorman, H. (2008). Improving school leadership: Volume 1: Policy and practice. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  89. Power, M. (1999). The audity society rituals of verification. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  90. Reynolds, C. (Ed.). (2002). Women and school leadership international perspectives. Albany: SUNY.Google Scholar
  91. Rich, A. (2005). Think tanks, public policy and the politics of expertise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  92. Sen, A. (1999). Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  93. Sen, A. (2006). Identity and violence the illusion of destiny. London: Penguim Books.Google Scholar
  94. Sen, A. (2009). The idea of justice. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  95. Sergiovanni, T. (2005). Strengthening the heartbead leading and learning together in schools. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  96. Spillane, J. (2006). Distributed leadership. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  97. Spillane, J., & Diamond, J. B. (Eds.). (2007). Distributed leadership in practice. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.Google Scholar
  98. Spillane, J., Camburn, E. M., & Pareja, A. S. (2009). School principals at work a distributed perspective. In K. Leithwood, B. Mascall, & T. Strauss (Eds.), Distributed leadership according to the evidence (pp. 87–110). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  99. Stiglitz, J. (2002). Globalization and its discontents. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  100. Stiglitz, J. (2003). The roaring nineties seeds of destruction. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  101. Stiglitz, J. (2006). Making globalization work. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  102. Stone, D. (2002). Policy Paradox. The art of political decision making (Revised Edition). New York/London: W. W. Norton and Company.Google Scholar
  103. Sugrue, C. (1997). Complexities of teaching: Child-centred perspectives. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  104. Sugrue, C. (2003). Irish primary principals’ professional learning: Problems and possibilities. Oideas, 50, 8–39.Google Scholar
  105. Sugrue, C. (2005). Passionate principalship: Learning from the life histories of school leaders. London: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
  106. Sugrue, C. (2008). The plate tectonics of educational change in Ireland: Consequences for research quality, policy and practice? In C. Sugrue (Ed.), The future of educational change: International perspectives (pp. 35–47). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  107. Sugrue, C. (2009). From heroes and heroines to Hermaphrodites: Emancipation or emasculation of school leaders and leadership? School Leadership and Management, 29(4), 361–372.Google Scholar
  108. Surwiecki, J. (2005). The wisdom of crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few. London: Abacus.Google Scholar
  109. Taylor, C. (1989/1992). Sources of the self the making of modern identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  110. Teddlie, C., & Reynolds, D. (Eds.). (2000). The international handbook of school effectiveness research. London: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
  111. Tripp, D. (1993). Critical incidents in teaching: Developing professional judgement. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  112. Weiner, L. (2012). The future of our schools teachers unions and social justice. Chicago: Haymarket Books.Google Scholar
  113. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  114. Whitty, G. (2008). Twenty years of progress? English education policy 1988 to the present. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 36(2), 165–184.Google Scholar
  115. Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2009). The spirit level why more equal societies almost always do better. London/New York: Allen Lane an imprint of Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  116. Woods, P. (1993a). Critical events in teaching and learning. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  117. Woods, P. (1993b). Critical events in education. British Journal of Sociology, 14(4), 355–373.Google Scholar
  118. Yeats, W. B. (2000). The collected poems of W. B. Yeats (New ed.). London: Wordsworth Editions Ltd.Google Scholar
  119. Young, J. E. (1989). The biography of a memorial icon: Nathan Rapaport’s Warsaw Ghetto memorial. Representations, 26, 69–106.Google Scholar
  120. Zimbardo, P. (2007). The Lucifer effect how good people turn evil. New York: Random House.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ciaran Sugrue
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity College DublinBelfield, DublinIreland

Personalised recommendations