Decision-Making Processes and Educational Leadership in Australia

Document Type

Journal Article


The Australian Council for Educational Leaders


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Education




Cunningham, C. (2014). Decision-making processes and educational leadership in Australia. Leading & Managing, 20(1), 11-31. The original article is Available here.


Decision making is a key concept within educational leadership theory. Power is wielded in schools every time a final decision is made because decision making is a privilege of power. This article critiques decision making from an emancipatory orientation and views it as an important topic of study carried out in continual view of our students which role models to them how a community should decide together.

The research case study underpinning this article examined leadership practices in some Western Australian schools using a hybrid decision-making continuum. Experienced school leaders and teachers engaged in studying a Masters in Educational Leadership were asked their thoughts on what would occur in plausible, alternative present and future decision-making scenarios in their schools. The data reveals that a concentration of authority is dominant in the case study participants’ schools’ leadership practices and this finding suggests that current leadership practices are counter to any teaching of our young to become active citizens in a deep, participatory democracy.

Access Rights

subscription content


Article Location