Towards a theory of leadership practice: A distributed perspective

James P. Spillane*, Richard Halverson, John B. Diamond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

535 Scopus citations


School-level conditions and school leadership, in particular, are key issues in efforts to change instruction. While new organizational structures and new leadership roles matter to instructional innovation, what seems most critical is how leadership practice is undertaken. Yet, the practice of school leadership has received limited attention in the research literature. Building on activity theory and theories of distributed cognition, this paper develops a distributed perspective on school leadership as a frame for studying leadership practice, arguing that leadership practice is constituted in the interaction of school leaders, followers, and the situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-34
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Curriculum Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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