Managing collegiality: The discourse of collegiality in Scottish school leadership

Cavanagh, John Bartholomew (2010) Managing collegiality: The discourse of collegiality in Scottish school leadership. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on the promotion of collegiality as
an impetus for management in Scottish schools. Collegiality is promoted as having the
potential to transform teachers and hence education. This study confronts this ambitious
claim arguing that the concept of collegiality has suffered from a lack of theoretical and
intellectual scrutiny. Collegiality lacks proper understanding as a concept and as a
discourse. Terms associated with it are frequently used in perfunctory ways which are
inattentive to its conceptual sophistication.
This study attends to complications which emerge when we reflect rigorously on what
collegiality means, and how it impacts on various organisations, but in particular school
management. Current attempts at developing a collegiate culture in schools are underexploiting
its potential as a transformative management model. We are not managing to be
collegiate in the most normative of understandings because we are not Managing
collegiality in ways which take account of its conceptual and discursive complexity.
The key research questions are:
From where has the discourse of collegiality come and how has it been promoted?
Whose interest might the discourse of collegiality serve?
The study takes two main approaches in addressing these. It considers collegiality as a
concept, focussing on meaning and implications arising from the application of limited
understandings of the idea in a variety of organisational contexts. It then draws on
continental philosophy to uncover arguments which position collegiality, currently
promoted, as a discourse.
The dissertation locates key sources of the discourse of collegiality and the politics and
practices of its promotion. It explores the interests claimed to be served by collegiality,
contrasts these with the interest more likely to be served, before going on to make
normative claims about a rehabilitated understanding of collegiality. It identifies current
approaches to collegiality more as being technologies for organisational expediency rather
than as conduits of the more attractive and normative understandings which could
contribute creatively to a more democratic and ‘dialogic’ school organisational culture.
In seeking a more creative and potentially transformative conception and practice of
collegiality, the study looks at one particular example of a radical reappraisal and critiques
this, finding it attractive in some senses but at odds with the parameters within which
school managers work. A discussion develops which explores more attractive and
normative understandings and casts these before a backdrop of common approaches to the
professional practice of school management.
The dissertation contributes to a discussion by which popular understandings of
collegiality may be rescued to become more befitting the democratic and socially oriented
facets of a school, rather than as a managerialist technology, impacting on learners,
teachers and the wider constituency of interest in schooling in rather more limited ways.
The study defends normative understandings of collegiality as an organisational impetus
tailored for professional arenas, but in so doing it defends management as a necessity in
organisational contexts characterised by complexity. Collegiality cannot be an alternative
to Management. It is an attractive approach for schools which can be managed if Managed

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Collegiality, McCrone, Scottish School Management, Scottish School Leadership, Leadership, Management, discourse School Management
Subjects: L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Enslin, Professor Penny
Date of Award: 2010
Depositing User: Dr John Bartholomew Cavanagh
Unique ID: glathesis:2010-2254
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:53

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