Cardiff Metropolitan University
Distributed leadership taking a retrospective and contemporary view of the evidence base.pdf (1.71 MB)
Download file

Distributed leadership: taking a retrospective and contemporary view of the evidence base

Download (1.71 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2022-10-27, 13:51 authored by Alma Harris, Michelle Jones, Nashwa Ismail

 Distributed leadership is one of the most influential and well-discussed ideas to emerge in thefield of educationalleadership. Prompted by the foundational and seminalwork of Spillane et al. (2001) the idea of shared or‘stretched’leadership that incorporates both formal andinformal leaders, has been of interest to researchers, policy-makers practitioners and educational reformers around theglobe. Distributed leadership has captured the attention ofmany international researchers and as this article will show,has been the focus of a great deal of empirical enquiry.This article looks at the two decades of research thatfollowed  the  pivotal  Spillane  et  al.  (2001)  article  ondistributed leadership. Firstly, it takes a retrospective viewby drawing upon selected literature from 2001 to 2011mapping out the mainfindings based on this empiricalterrain.  Secondly,  it  offers  a  contemporary  view  byexploring  recently  selected  literature  on  distributedleadership from 2011 to 2021. The article does not claim tobe a systematic review of the literature but rather, offerssome insights into selected evidence over two decades.The article considers how far distributed leadership remainsa relevant concept for those working within thefield ofeducational leadership. 


Published in

School Leadership & Management


Taylor & Francis


  • VoR (Version of Record)


Harris, A., Jones, M. and Ismail, N. (2022) 'Distributed leadership: taking a retrospective and contemporary view of the evidence base', School Leadership & Management, pp.1-19.

Print ISSN


Electronic ISSN


Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy

Cardiff Met Authors

Alma Harris

Copyright Holder

  • © The Authors


  • en