Authority, Power and Distributed Leadership

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A much greater understanding is needed of power in the practice of distributed leadership. This article explores how the concept of social authority might be helpful in achieving this. It suggests that the practice of distributed leadership is characterized by multiple authorities which are constructed in the interactions between people. Rather than there being a uniform hierarchy (relatively flat or otherwise) of formal authority, organizational members may be ‘high’ in some authorities and ‘low’ in others, and people’s positioning in relation to these authorities is dynamic and changeable. The article maps different forms of authorities, provides illustrations from educational institutions, and concludes with implications for educational leadership. A key conclusion is that everyone is involved in the ongoing production of authorities by contributing to who is accepted as or excluded from exercising authority and leadership
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
JournalManagement in Education
Issue number4
Early online date28 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016


  • leadership development
  • power
  • schools
  • social authority
  • teacher leadership
  • Weber


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