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Emotional coherence in educational leadership : the importance of the personal in interpreting and sustaining primary school headship

This thesis examines how primary headteachers experience, and talk about, emotion and meaning in their daily interactions, and sets out to understand further how the affective impacts on their leadership. It presents a reflective journey into the affective world of the primary headteacher, concentrating on the personal side of headship. It argues that primary headship is reliant on the personal emotional quality of the headteacher, and at the same time a quality of the social relationships in the school. By using an iterative process, the research argues that emotion and leadership are closely tied together, and this is of crucial importance in creating, modifying and sustaining both the headteacher and the emotional coherence of the whole school. The research draws on the headteachers’ own reflections on emotions as well as the influence of their life history, school context and emotional epiphanies. The affective is examined firstly by exploring the literature outside the educational leadership and management field that deals with emotion. This leads to an examination of the metaphor of emotional textures. Then, using qualitative methodology, this metaphor is used to discuss and draw upon on a small-scale study of primary headteachers to discuss the reality in the mind of the participants. Observation is then used as an analytical tool to develop understanding of the need for emotional coherence in primary school headship. The concept of a personal leadership narrative is developed to show not only that an individual’s complexity is not adequately served by competency approaches to emotion, but also that primary school headship is a complex synergy of emotion and leadership. Finally, the implications of the findings for adding to leadership theory and practice are discussed.
Date January 2006
CreatorsCrawford, Megan Paterson
PublisherUniversity College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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