Instructional leadership in a centralized and competitive educational system: a qualitative meta-synthesis of research from Turkey

Sedat Gümüş, Philip Hallinger, Ramazan Cansoy, Mehmet Şükrü Bellibaş

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study sought to provide an understanding of what a culturally contextualized model of instructional leadership looks like in Turkey, and how this differs from models disseminated in the USA. Design/methodology/approach: This study employed qualitative meta-synthesis to systematically review the full set of 22 qualitative studies of instructional leadership in Turkey. A systematic synthesis strategy was applied to code the findings from each study to develop broad themes that describe key domains of principal instructional leadership practice. Findings: The results showed that instructional leadership of school principals in Turkey is composed of four main dimensions and ten subdimensions. The main dimensions include: (1) emphasis on national goals and competition, (2) maintaining the learning environment, (3) motivating and enabling teachers, and (4) monitoring program alignment and test results. Research limitations/implications: While broad dimensions of instructional leadership described in the international literature are relevant in Turkey, some practices used to enact those dimensions appear poorly aligned with the institutional–cultural context of Turkish schools. Thus, findings from this study support the assertion that the specific practices used to measure, assess and practice instructional leadership must be adapted to the context of a specific society. Originality/value: This paper contributes to international efforts to develop a globally validated knowledge base in educational leadership and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-720
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2021


  • Culturally-relevant leadership
  • Instructional leadership
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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