Authentic Leadership in English Education: What do college teachers tell us?

David Stoten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on an investigation into the perceived prevalence of authentic leadership behaviours in Sixth Form College (SFC) Principals. This research compares four different models of institutional leadership and considers which are viewed by teachers as the more common in daily practice. In doing so, the research will also touch upon the relevance of values in contemporary educational leadership.

Design/methodology/approach – The research methodology adopted a mixed methods approach that elicited the views of teachers using a structured questionnaire approach together with coconstructed conversations with participants. The research involved 53 teachers from five SFCs spread
across England.

Findings – The findings generated from this research exercise suggest that college Principals exhibit transactional behaviours far more often than those actions associated with either transformational, distributed or authentic leadership models. This outcome may be explained in terms of the pressures acting on SFCs in an increasingly competitive and uneven education market. In short, Principals act pragmatically and instrumentally to achieve their short-term goals.

Originality/value – This work follows on from previous research into servant leadership in the SFC sector. This is a sector of the English education system that attracts little coverage in the academic literature as research tends to be undertaken in the much larger schools or General Further Education sectors. Given this context, the paper represents an useful starting point for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-522
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


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