Grassroots leaders: Reclaiming 'Native Leadership' as content for enhancing formal leadership preparation

English, Fenwick & Ehrich, Lisa C. (2011) Grassroots leaders: Reclaiming 'Native Leadership' as content for enhancing formal leadership preparation. In UCEA Annual Convention 2011, 17-20 Nov 2011, Pittburgh, USA.

View at publisher


It is almost a truism that persons who occupy formal bureaucratic positions in schools may not actually be leaders if they were not role incumbents in a bureaucracy. It is also clear from studies of grassroots leaders that without the qualities of skills of leadership no one would follow them because they have no formal, hierarchical role upon which others were dependent to them. One of the reasons for re-examining the nature of grassroots leaders is to attempt to recapture those tactics or strategies which might be reconceptualized and utilized within more formal settings so that role dependent leadership becomes more effectual and trustworthy than one that is totally dependent on role authority. This reasoning is especially a critical need if there is a desire to work towards more democratic and collaborative working arrangements between leaders and followers, and where more flexible and dynamic relationships promise higher levels of commitment and productivity. Hecksher (1994) speaks of such a reconceptualization as part of a shift from an emphasis on power to one centered on influence. This paper examines the nature of leadership before it was subjected to positivistic science and later behavioural studies. This move follows the advice of Heilbrunn (1996) who trenchantly observed that for leadership studies to grow as a discipline, “it will have to cast a wider net” (p.11). Willis et. Al. (2008) make a similar point when they lament that social scientist have forced favoured understanding bureaucracies rather than grassroots community organizations, yet much can be gained by being aware of the tactics and strategies used by grassroots leaders who depend on influence as opposed to power. This paper, then, aims to do this by posing a tentative model of grassroots leadership and then considering how this model might inform and be used by those responsible for developing school leaders.

Impact and interest:

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:

51 since deposited on 01 Feb 2012
6 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: 48347
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: grassroots leaders, change, conflict, consensus
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Administration Management and Leadership (130304)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 Please consult the authour(s)
Deposited On: 01 Feb 2012 00:52
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2016 23:19

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page