How National Context Indirectly Influences Instructional Leadership Implementation: The Case of Israel

Haim Shaked, Pascale Benoliel, Philip Hallinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Instructional leadership has been identified as a key responsibility of principals who achieve promising results for school improvement. This study investigated how the national context has influenced the adoption of instructional leadership as a defining role responsibility for Israeli principals. Research Methods: Participants in this qualitative study consisted of a diverse sample of 46 Israeli principals, broadly representative of the larger body of school principals in Israel. Data were collected through both interviews and focus groups. Data analysis proceeded in a four-stage process that involved condensing, coding, categorizing, and theorizing from the interview data. Findings: Findings identified three sociocultural norms that shaped principal adoption of instructional leadership in their role set: low power distance, clan culture, and incomplete identification of principals (and teachers) with their schools’ academic missions. These contextual cohering forces led principals to resist new, formally defined policy expectations of their role as instructional leaders. Implications: This study’s findings reinforce arguments that propose national context as an underserved theoretical lens for understanding differences in principals’ practices across different societies. The findings suggest that despite increasing global acceptance of instructional leadership, its implementation in practice is inevitably shaped by the institutional policies and cultural values of different societies. Even when a “generic” model of instructional or transformational leadership is adopted by policy makers, there will be a process of mutual adaptation during implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-469
Number of pages33
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • foreign countries
  • instructional leadership
  • national context
  • power distance
  • school principals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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