The complexity and contradictions of Finnish superintendents’ work

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Ian Hardy, Petri Salo
Publisher: Emerald
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Journal of Educational Administration
Journal acronym: JEA
eISSN: 0957-8234


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the governance of educational reform, as an interpretive
process – “interpretive governance” – through a case study of five superintendents living in a predominantly
Swedish-speaking region in Finland.

Design/methodology/approach – To foreground superintendents’ perspectives on reforms as
simultaneously reflective and constitutive of governance processes, the research applies and extends
Rhodes’ (2012) notions of “network governance,” “meta-governance” and “interpretive governance.”
Interpretive governance, an underresearched area, is construed as particularly important for developing
better insights into how school reform is understood by key actors involved in its enactment.

Findings – The research identifies what are described as three “deliberative” dimensions of interpretive
governance; these modes of governance are elaborated as “dialogic,” “directive” and “defensive” in nature.
Originality/value – The study reveals senior educators’ interpretations of governance as multifaceted, and
argues that these complex modes of deliberation need to be taken into account to better understand how
school development is understood and enacted in municipal and school settings.


Educational reform, Governance, School development

Last updated on 2020-07-08 at 06:12