An exploration of two female principals’ leadership in mainland China

Zhong, Wanjuan & Ehrich, Lisa C. (2010) An exploration of two female principals’ leadership in mainland China. Journal of Educational Administration, 48(2), pp. 241-260.

View at publisher


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore two dimensions of leadership practices (i.e. teaching and learning and sources of power) used by two exemplary principals in mainland China against a background of education reform and to identify how broader contextual factors have shaped these two dimensions of their leadership.--------- Design/methodology/approach: An exploratory case study was used that drew upon semi-structured interviews, observations and document analysis. Interviews were conducted with two principals, six teachers from each of the two schools and a superintendent who was the supervisor of the two principals.---------- Findings: The findings reveal that there are some common elements in both of the leaders’ practices but also some subtle differences. Both leaders emphasise teaching and learning. One sees herself as curriculum expert; the other delegate teaching responsibilities. While both uses a top down approach, one principal uses an adversarial approach and the other a more facilitative approach.---------- Research limitations/implications: The study used a small sample size. It explored the leaders’ practices in the light of broader contextual factors rather than personal factors or gender-based factors Originality/value – Given the limited empirical research conducted on female principals in mainland China, this qualitative study provides insights into two dimensions of leadership used by two exemplary principals and explains their practices in the light of critical contextual factors such as contemporary and traditional Chinese culture and the school’s organisational context.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

209 since deposited on 29 Jun 2010
23 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 32966
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Principals, Women, Management power, Teaching, Leadership, China
DOI: 10.1108/09578231011027879
ISSN: 1758-7395
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Emerald Group Publishing Ltd
Deposited On: 29 Jun 2010 22:01
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 08:21

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page