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"När katten är borta...": En studie kring pedagogiskt ledarskap på distans
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
2013 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


Title: When the cat is away… A study of pedagogical leadership at a distance

Level: Final assignment for Degree of Master of science (one year) in Educational Management

Author: Evelyn Joelsson

Supervisor: Ulla Sebrant

Date: 2013 may

Leadership is a subject that has been discussed for many generations. Today’s leadership is something completely different than what has been practiced before, in the more hierarchical companies, when leadership was something you were born to do and the workers had no choice but to follow. In the globalised world that we live in today there are demands of a different kind than before and physical distance between leaders and their followers gets more and more common. Communication is the focus and the catchwords are patency, trust and availability. In our information society it is important to have an open dialog and to aim for continuous development. Often this is built with close and supportive leadership. My question is; how can you be a close and supportive leader when you are physically somewhere else?

To find the answer to my questions I began with studying some previous work that has been done in this area, Maria Nordengren & Bengt Olsen (2006) among others. I interviewed ten people who all have some kind of experience with working at a distance and the professional leadership from afar. Two of them were leaders, four were employees that worked at a distance from the leader and four were employees working physically close to the leader. I asked them about communication, trust, patency and availability and found out that educational leadership is possible at a distance but also at a price. If you are a leader placed at a distance from your employees you need to be clearer in your communication than the leader close at hand and give the right information at the right time. Trust is very important as well as the physical meetings they have twice a year. Availability is important and many claimed that it was working satisfactory. The physical contact proved to be irreplaceable even if there are many technical tools available in today’s businesses. Employees at a physical distance from their leaders automatically need to take more decisions on their own and learn to take initiative faster than the ones who can just walk over to the leader and ask.

For future research I suggest that you could look at the different kinds of distance between leaders and their followers, not just de physical, and maybe also the gender aspect of leadership at a distance. One could conduct a comparative study between different kinds of companies and see if IT-businesses differ from producing- or service companies. The communication strategies that were used was something I found interesting and is probably something you can look more into, for example when you use what tool for communication.

I think my thesis has contributed to the understanding of the complexity of leadership at a physical distance and what it takes to be an educational leader in a scattered company today concerning communication, patency, trust and availability.

Keywords: leadership, educational leadership, leadership at a distance, communication, distance, development opportunity, trust, patency and availability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 66 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier, 2013vt00503
Keyword [en]
Keywords: leadership, educational leadership, leadership at a distance, communication, distance, development opportunity, trust, patency and availability.
National Category
Law and Society
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-201186OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-201186DiVA: diva2:626377
Subject / course
Pedagogiskt ledarskap
Educational program
Masterprogram i pedagogiskt ledarskap
Available from: 2013-06-10 Created: 2013-06-07 Last updated: 2013-06-10Bibliographically approved

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