The impact of international, national, and local forces on the enactment of quality leadership preparation programs

Darren Anthony BRYANT, Allan David WALKER, Moo Sung LEE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


As the work of principals has increased in complexity, educational authorities in many countries have mandated licensure programmes as a means to inculcate in aspiring leaders skills related to organizational and instructional leadership. Typically, governments mandate frameworks that establish intended programme outcomes for providers to implements, internships and scholar-practitioners. These trends point towards convergences in leadership preparation. In this chapter, we consider forces that shape enactment of these convergences in different ways in different contexts. We do this by first exploring the literature on traits of quality leadership programmes. On that basis, we select and describe five leadership programmes in Australia, Asia and North America. We then explore how similar standards are enacted differently as systems, respond to forces that we term international imperatives, national goals and local needs. To do so, we draw on the programme data that most aptly explains the respective forces. We conclude the chapter by drawing out implications for leadership development relevant even in systems which do not have mandated preparation programmes. It is fundamental to our argument that, over the last 20 years, the literature has documented a shift in the principalship revealing that the role of school principals has become increasingly complex alongside educational changes that they are expected to lead (Fullan, 2001). Internationally, the complexity of the principalship has become entangled with various forms of accountability policies and practices such as emphases on student achievement on standardized tests (Carnoy and Loeb, 2002), school-based management (Cheng,2009), and learning targets and data use (Lee, Louis, and Anderson, 2012). For many potential leaders, anticipated on-the-job experiences are daunting and dissuasive (MasBeath, 2011). Thus, effective leadership preparation programmes are important to the aspiring principal’s success in leadership. In other words, leadership preparation programmes re cornerstones for successful school leadership. Jurisdictions have looked to leadership preparation as a means to equip potential principals for such challenges by emphasizing instructional and organizational leadership (Bush and Jackson, 2002; Pounder, 2011). Researchers have noted a convergence in design around exvellent programmes, pointing to the potential of an international leadership curriculum *(Bush and Jackson, 2002). A foil to such convergence, however, is local context, which may account for variation across programmes (Leithwood and Levin, 2008). Our main purpose is to examine the impact of context on how excellent leadership preparation programmes are enacted. We do this first by relation the growing consensus around key indicators of quality programmes. We then provide a brief overview of five leadership preparation programmes in Asia, Australia and North America, selected a samples that meet the indicators of quality. Following this, we examine how context impacts on quality programmes by drawing on the selected cases to examine international, national (and/or state or provincial), AND LOVAL INFLUENCES. We select from the five programmes the cases that provide the most apt data for each context, recognizing that examples could be derived from each case. We conclude the chapter by drawing out implications for the design of leadership preparation programmes, aspiring leaders and principals. Copyright © 2013 Darren A. Bryant, Allan Walker and Moosung Lee.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrinciples of school leadership
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)9781446201459, 9781446201442, 1446201449, 1446201457
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Bryant, D. A., Walker, A., & Lee, M. (2013). The impact of international, national, and local forces on the enactment of quality leadership preparation programs. In M. Brundrett (Ed.), Principles of school leadership (2nd ed) (pp. 221-243). London: Sage.


  • Programming
  • Leadership development
  • Instructional leadership
  • Ontario
  • Internships
  • School leadership
  • Singapore


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