The complexity and contradictions of Finnish superintendents’ work

Ian Hardy, Petri Salo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the governance of educational reform, as an interpretiveprocess – “interpretive governance” – through a case study of five superintendents living in a predominantlySwedish-speaking region in Finland.Design/methodology/approach – To foreground superintendents’ perspectives on reforms assimultaneously reflective and constitutive of governance processes, the research applies and extendsRhodes’ (2012) notions of “network governance,” “meta-governance” and “interpretive governance.”Interpretive governance, an underresearched area, is construed as particularly important for developingbetter 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 interpretivegovernance; 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, andargues that these complex modes of deliberation need to be taken into account to better understand howschool development is understood and enacted in municipal and school settings. 

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Governance
  • Educational reform
  • School development

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