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Educational Leadership, Change, and the Politics of Resistance

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Educational leadership; Micropolitics; Organizational change; Resistance


Educational leaders are pivotal players in change and reform activities. However, despite the proliferation of literature on change management, most major change efforts disappoint. As Grey (2005, p. 97) argues, “[t]he most striking thing about change is that it almost always fails.” Obstacles, setbacks, and resistance are the norm.

To begin, it is important to distinguish between first- and second-order change processes (Watzlawick et al. 1974). First-order change concerns modifying or adjusting existing practice to improve effectiveness without consequential alterations to the educational institution or its work. Second-order change, however, involves systematic organizational restructuring and renewal, incurring fundamental or radical departures from usual practice. Educational institutions easily manage most first-order change initiatives which occur frequently, but second-order change...


  • Educational Institution
  • Professional Learning
  • Change Resistance
  • Educational Leader
  • Change Initiative

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Correspondence to Karen Starr .

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Starr, K. (2015). Educational Leadership, Change, and the Politics of Resistance. In: Peters, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Springer, Singapore.

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