Middle leadership in international schools: evidence from Malaysia

Vahid Javadi, Tony Bush, Ashley Ng

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines middle leadership of the heads of English, maths and science departments in four international secondary schools in Malaysia. It focuses on their roles, responsibilities, role relationships, instructional engagement and leadership involvement within the theoretical framework of instructional, distributed and teacher leadership. The study is a qualitative multi-method case study, involving observation, documentary analysis, and semi-structured interviews with 12 heads of department, 36 teachers, and four principals. With respect to the middle leaders’ roles and responsibilities, the findings illustrate cross-school and in-school differential developments, with contextual factors contributing to uneasy role relationships. The results also show that, while broad-based leadership opportunities are limited for the middle leaders and teachers, the most powerful and common feature of all these international schools is the centrality of teaching and learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-499
Number of pages24
JournalSchool Leadership and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Malaysia
  • Middle leadership
  • distributed leadership
  • instructional leadership
  • international schools
  • teacher leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Middle leadership in international schools: evidence from Malaysia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this