Distributed Leadership in Middle Management: a comparative study of the educational and private sectors

Bufalino, Giambattista (2019) Distributed Leadership in Middle Management: a comparative study of the educational and private sectors. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

Distributed Leadership in Middle Management: a comparative study of the educational and private sectors
Bufalino,Giambattista - Education.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


The aim of this comparative and interdisciplinary research project was to investigate Distributed Leadership (DL) in Middle Management (MM) in the public and private sectors in Malta. This is apposite as Maltese contemporary education reforms are creating decentralised school systems and distributed leadership within Colleges. Similarly, in the private business sector, particularly in newer industries such as iGaming, new organisational models are being tried including leadership at lower levels. In addition, DL is currently viewed as the dominant format for both schools and commercial enterprises.

Whereas leading theorists construe DL predominantly as a frame of analysis, other scholars take a more practical or applied view. In both cases, there was little agreement on the meaning of the term, and very few empirical studies of DL in action.

With the aim of contributing a new theoretical framework, this research adopted the structure-agency analytical approach (Archer, 2003) in which structure and agency can be analyzed individually but not comprehended separately: organizational members (middle managers, in this study) who take an active part in DL act as agents within the organizational structure, who respond to, utilize and shape structural resources, cultural and social relations in organizations. The whole research comprised two phases (Study 1 and Study 2) and it employed an iterative sequential mixed method approach. More specifically, the aims of the first qualitative phase (documentary study, Study 1) were to explore the structural elements of DL in Middle management and to develop a framework for the empirical investigation of the agentic dimension (Study 2). Instead, using surveys and interviews, Study 2 adopted an explanatory sequential mixed method approach in order to investigate DL forms of configuration in both sectors and, in particular, how different levels of middle management involvement in leadership distribution are affected by and/or affect organizational and individual dimensions in both sectors.

So far, Malta has little research on this in either the education, or in the business sectors so this project, by seeking data from both sectors, adds to local studies and to international comparative management studies research on DL, MM and effects of differing organizational cultures. In addition, cross- sector comparisons in MM offered unique possibilities for combining analyses of variations within dependent and independent variables, improving the foundation for new theoretical developments about the DL construct and its operalization.

Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:44222
Deposited On:04 Mar 2021 17:17

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