An affective paradigm for educational leadership theory and practice: connecting affect, actions, power and influence

Chris James, Megan Crawford, Izhar Oplatka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
321 Downloads (Pure)


In the last 20 years, various authors have drawn attention to the affective aspects of educational institutions, teaching and educational leadership, see for example, Hargreaves (1998a, 1998b Hargreaves, A. (1998a). The emotional practice of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14(8), 835–854.10.1016/S0742-051X(98)00025-0 Hargreaves, A. (1998b). The emotions of teaching and educational change. In A. Hargreaves, A. Lieberman, M. Fullan, & D. Hopkins (Eds.), The international handbook of educational change (pp. 558–575). London: Kluwer Academic. ), James (1999, 2010 James, C. R. (1999). Institutional transformation and educational management. In T. Bush, L. Bell, R. Bolam, R. Glatter, & P. Ribbins (Eds.), Educational management, redefining theory, policy and practice (pp. 142–154). London: Paul Chapman Publishing/Sage. James, C. R. (2010). The psychodynamics of educational change. In A. Hargreaves & D. Hopkins (Eds.), The international handbook of educational change (pp. 47–64). London: Sage. ), James, Connolly, Dunning, and Elliott (2006 James, C. R., Connolly, M., Dunning, G., & Elliott, T. (2006). How very effective primary schools work. London: Sage. [Google Scholar]), Dunning, James, and Jones (2005 Dunning, G., James, C. R., & Jones, N. (2005). Splitting and projection at work in schools. Journal of Educational Administration, 43(3), 244–259.10.1108/09578230510594787[Crossref], [Google Scholar]), Beatty (2000 Beatty, B. R. (2000). The emotions of educational leadership: Breaking the silence. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 3, 331–357.10.1080/136031200750035969[Taylor & Francis Online], [Google Scholar]), Zembylas (2005 Zembylas, M. (2005). Teaching with emotion: A postmodern enactment. Greenwich, CT: Information Age. [Google Scholar]), Crawford (2007, 2009 Crawford, M. (2007). Rationality and emotion in primary school leadership: An exploration of key themes. Educational Review, 59(1), 287–298. Crawford, M. (2009). Getting to the heart of educational leadership. London: Sage. ), Oplatka (2011, 2017 Oplatka, I. (2011). The dynamic nature of emotions in educational leadership: Lessons from the career stories of Israeli late-career principals. In C. Day & J. Chi-Kin Lee (Eds.), New understanding of teacher’s work (pp. 187–203). Dordrecht: Springer.10.1007/978-94-007-0545-6 Oplatka, I. (2017). Empathy regulation among Israeli school principals: Expression and suppression of major emotions in educational leadership. Journal of School Leadership, 27(1), 94–118. ), Samier and Schmidt (2009 Samier, E. & Schmidt, M. (Eds.). (2009). Emotional dimensions of educational administration and leadership. New York, NY: Routledge.[Crossref], [Google Scholar]), and Berkovich and Eyal (2015 Berkovich, I., & Eyal, O. (2015). Educational leaders and emotions: An international review of empirical evidence 1992-2012. Review of Educational Research, 85(1), 129–167.10.3102/0034654314550046[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). This body of work is substantial, but even so, the various forms of affect – feelings, moods and emotions – have yet to be accorded the significance they warrant in understandings of educational leadership, the process of influencing others in educational institutions (Bush, 2008 Bush, T. (2008). From management to leadership: Semantic or meaningful change? Educational, Management, Administration and Leadership, 36(2), 271–288.10.1177/1741143207087777[Crossref], [Google Scholar]; Connolly, James, & Fertig, 2017 Connolly, M., James, C. R., & Fertig, M. (2017). The difference between educational management and educational leadership and the importance of educational responsibility Educational Management Administration and Leadership. doi:10.1177/1741143217745880[Crossref], [Google Scholar]; Cuban, 1988 Cuban, L. (1988). The managerial imperative and the practice of leadership in schools. New York: State University of New York Press. [Google Scholar]). Without that recognition, understandings of leadership theory and practice will only ever be partial and will be limited in nature and scope. Hence, our intentions in this article: to connect affects, actions, power and influence, thereby establishing the central place of affects in educational leadership theory and practice; and to develop an affective paradigm for educational leadership theory and practice. To achieve those intentions, we have analysed relevant sources and synthesised substantive concepts to develop a theoretical framework and a coherent argument. We have also drawn upon our experience as teachers/leaders in diverse educational settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-628
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Leadership in Education
Issue number5
Early online date5 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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