Conceptual and methodological issues in studying school leadership effects as a reciprocal process

Philip Hallinger, Ronald H. Heck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past 3 decades, a substantial body of scholarship has examined the effects of school leadership on student learning. Most of this research has framed leadership as an independent variable, or driver for change, in relation to school effectiveness and school improvement. Yet, scholars have observed that leadership is also influenced by features of the organizational setting in which it is enacted. This leads us to conclude that predominant approaches to studying school leadership effects provide an incomplete picture of the processes and paths by which leadership contributes to school learning. This paper examines the potential offered by conceptualizations of leadership as a reciprocal, or mutualinfluence, process to the study of leadership for learning. We explore a variety of conceptual and related methodological issues that confront researchers who wish to employ this potentially rich but challenging approach to understanding how school leadership contributes to student learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-173
Number of pages25
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Change
  • Leadership
  • Reciprocal
  • School improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Conceptual and methodological issues in studying school leadership effects as a reciprocal process'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this