Principal leadership in China: An initial review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the literature on Chinese principalship written in English and Chinese between 1998 and 2008. The first sections discuss the rationale for the research, the review process, and the state of education research in mainland China. The review findings are presented as a set of core patterns and contributory subpatterns, which flow from either the empirical or non-empirical literature. Two core patterns are identified from the non-empirical pieces – prescriptions and commentaries. Prescriptions focus on telling principals what they need to do to be successful, especially in the present reform environment. Commentaries focus on the key concerns and problems confronting principals. Three core patterns can be discerned from the empirical pieces – imported frameworks, indigenous investigations, and contextual influences. The final section offers a number of conclusions that look within and across the core patterns and pose questions to guide further research. Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-399
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


Walker, A., Hu, R., & Qian, H. (2012). Principal leadership in China: An initial review. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 23(4), 369-399.


  • Principal leadership
  • China
  • Literature review
  • Leadership studies in China
  • International comparative leadership studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Principal leadership in China: An initial review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.