A systematic review of research on educational leadership in hong kong, 1995-2014

Elson Szeto, Theodore Tai Hoi Lee, Philip Hallinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide a research synthesis of substantive findings drawnfrom studies of educational leadership and management in Hong Kong between 1995 and 2014.The goal of the research synthesis was to identify and elaborate on key trends identified by scholarswho studied educational leadership in Hong Kong over the past two decades. The synthesis drew uponon relevant articles published in eight “core international journals” specializing in educational leadershipand management.Design/methodology/approach – The study first identifies a clearly delimited body of relevantliterature comprised of empirical, non-empirical and review/synthesis types of studies in a total of 161published research articles from the eight journals. Information concerning the nature of the studies aswell as substantive findings was extracted from each of the articles. The findings were then initiallycoded in preparation for data analysis. Synthesis of substantive findings was accomplished bycross-article comparative mapping aimed at identifying key themes in the literature. Findings withinfour of the most robust themes were then synthesized and reported.Findings – The synthesis highlights the challenges faced in Hong Kong’s efforts to reshape itseducation in a multi-faceted quest for quality education in the twenty-first century. A variety ofinter-related issues emerged as policymakers and education administrators sought to implement a fullplate of imported globally recognized education reforms. Analysis of the research from this periodyielded four robust themes: “leadership development,” “leadership for learning,” “organizationalchange,” “multi-level performance focus.” The findings also further highlight the impact of “educationpolicy borrowing” on system-level efforts to revamp the structural conditions in which school leadersoperate and reshape managerial, as well as teaching and learning processes in schools.Research limitations/implications - Although the scope of the sources included in the review arehighly representative of the “Hong Kong literature” of the past two decades, the authors note that itwas not an “exhaustive” review of all potential sources.Originality/value – Prior research by Hallinger and Bryant (2013b) had identified Hong Kong ashaving produced the largest volume of literature in educational leadership and management in Asia.This paper represents the first systematic review of research findings that emerged in the recenteducational leadership literature produced in Hong Kong. Therefore, although the authors make noclaims of generalizability to other parts of Asia or even to China as a whole, the paper offers insightinto how global trends have reshaped the practice of educational leadership in one East Asian society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-553
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Administration
  • Culture techniques
  • Developing countries
  • Educational administration
  • Leadership
  • Leadership development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'A systematic review of research on educational leadership in hong kong, 1995-2014'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this