Distributed Leadership: according to the evidence

Alma Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



– This paper aims to provide an overview of the literature concerning distributed leadership and organisational change. The main purpose of the paper is to consider the empirical evidence that highlights a relationship between distributed leadership and organisational outcomes.

Design/methodological approach

– The paper draws on several fields of enquiry, including organisational change, school effectiveness, school improvement and leadership. It systematically analyses the evidence in each field and presents a synthesis of key findings.


– The evidence shows first, that there is a relationship between distributed leadership and organisational change, second, that there is evidence to suggest that this relationship is positive and third, that different patterns of distribution affect organisational outcomes.


– The significance and originality of this paper lies in the fact that it: takes a normative position on distributed leadership and is chiefly concerned with the question of organisational impact; demonstrates the importance and necessity of further research about the way in which distributed leadership influences organisational outcomes; and acknowledges the methodological challenges in conducting research on distributed leadership but argues that such research will make a significant contribution to knowledge and theory generation in the leadership field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172 – 188
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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