Author Identifier

Gillian Kirk

ORCID: 0000-0002-6386-9016

Lennie Barblett

ORCID: 0000-0003-0510-2244

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

The Australian Educational Researcher




School of Education


Edith Cowan University - Open Access Support Scheme 2021

Department of Education Western Australia


Kirk, G., & Barblett, L. (2021). Implementing the national quality standard in schools: Leadership that motivates improvement initiatives through psychological ownership. The Australian Educational Researcher. Advance online publication.


From 2016, all Western Australian schools were mandated to implement the National Quality Standard (NQS) in Kindergarten through to Year 2. Over the first year of implementation, this mandate had varying degrees of success in adoption. This study examined four schools which were identified as having implemented the NQS. A qualitative methodology was employed to examine those factors that supported implementation. A key finding was the integral role played by distributed leadership in adopting new initiatives. Using Activity Theory to conceptualise the data, it was found that psychological ownership was a key factor in enabling distributed leadership. Ownership was enabled when community differences were acknowledged, and time was given for the NQS tool to be reassessed and reconfigured as one’s own. Once staff had psychological ownership, they were more likely to support implementation of the NQS. This study has implications for leaders and those implementing the NQS or other initiatives in schools.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.