A topology of three-wave models of strategic leadership in education

Yin Cheong CHENG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


The diversity in contemporary conceptualisations of strategy and strategic leadership in education reflects the increasing complexity and uncertainty in the relationship between the changing context and leadership. This paper aims to propose a typology of three-wave models for conceptualising and analysing the diversities in strategic leadership. Based on different models and their related paradigms in education and reforms, strategic leadership can be classified as internal strategic leadership, interface strategic leadership and future strategic leadership. In different models, strategic leadership in education is characterised by different assumptions of education environment, types of education reforms and movements, positioning of education institution, nature of learning, conception of effectiveness, nature of competition and demand for sustainability. Correspondingly, key features of strategy, leadership role, and strategic concerns of leadership are completely different across these three models. Copyright © 2010 Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration & Management (CCEAM).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-54
JournalInternational Studies in Educational Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Cheng, Y. C. (2010). A topology of three-wave models of strategic leadership in education. International Studies in Educational Administration, 38(1), 35-54.


  • Educational leadership
  • Strategic planning
  • School environment
  • Educational change
  • School improvement programs
  • Information and communication technology


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