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Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


This paper focuses on educational decision-making in a Chinese context, but starts from a critique of distributed leadership educational theory as an instrumentalist and Western device of analysis. It is based upon a 2012 research project which reports on the academic insights of 51 Chinese school leaders who were also students studying “Masters of Educational Leadership” at an Australian university. The project explored these Chinese school leaders’ perceptions of decision-making in education settings. It considered who would make decisions and how those decisions would be made in various hypothetical education scenarios. A unique feature of this research is the significant number of female school leaders from China who were in the participant cohort, so this study offers a rare insight into their thinking. Overall, this research offers an important first step in broadening out the theoretical discussions on leadership decision-making into a non-Western education environment. It also shows how educational research in the 21st century is shifting away from Western—only analysis and instead broadening out to explore what the unique and important trends are in an Asian nation that is a global powerhouse.


decision-making, leadership, Chinese education organisations

Cite this paper

Journal of US-China Public Administration, September 2014, Vol. 11, No. 9, 773-789


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