Fads, fashions, and gurus in school leadership: Interrelations between gurus and followers

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaperForskningpeer review

9 Downloads (Pure)


There are many and varying expectations of today’s school leaders (Robinson, 2015; Courtney & Gunter, 2015). In the latest reform of the Danish primary school (Folkeskole), one can find expressions stating that the school leader must: ‘perform’, ‘compose’, ‘involve’, ‘decide’ ‘offer’, ‘initiate’, ‘evaluate’, ‘permit’, etc. (Undervisningsministeriet, 2018). As such, the school leader has become responsible/made accountable of the individual school’s performance and general well-being. In this paper, we will attempt to study and understand some of the current expectations of school leaders. We will adopt theoretical perspectives (e.g. Malinowski, 1948; Durkheim, 2001; Douglas, 1973), which can ‘make the familiar unfamiliar’, that is, enable a new (old) understanding of school leadership. Also, we will draw on previous research which has applied some of these mainly anthropological perspectives in the broader field of leadership, studying managerial fads & fashions and so-called guru leadership (e.g. Abrahamson, 1991; Collins, 2005; Groß et al., 2015). We will take point of departure in two of the current fads of school leadership: Student centered leadership (Robinson, 2015) and professional learning communities (Albrechtsen, 2016). We will attempt to study what can be called the assumed interrelations between leaders and lead in connection to these ‘phenomena’: How leaders are expected to lead their ‘crowd’, but also how the ‘crowd’ constitutes its leaders – as gurus, magicians, heroes, etc. We believe a case study of these two fads of school leadership may tell a broader story of how school leadership is currently constituted in relation to omnipresent hopes and expectations – and vice versa.
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2019


  • school leadership
  • Guruer
  • FADS
  • professional learning communities