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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Market Centred Leadership and School Performance

Dr Lawrence Drysdale, David Gurr.

In Australia, as in many countries, there is an increasing emphasis on providing school choice for students and parents, self-management for government schools, and accountability for improved student outcomes. The context of this paper is the State of Victoria which has perhaps the most devolved government school system. The government system has emphasised self-management within sound accountability framework that uses a combination of self-assessment and external review processes. In addition there is strong competition from a large and diverse non-government schools sector.

The focus of this paper is to report on a new model of school leadership for schools experiencing pressures of school choice, school self-management and high accountability for improved student outcomes. We term this Market Centred Leadership. This model has been developed from several research projects on school leadership and school marketing conducted by the presenters over the past five years

The Market Centred Leadership Model proposes that school leaders should develop skills and approaches that help them understand and focus on the market to provide an improved relationship between the school and its community. In this model there are four areas related to marketing and leadership: philosophy; function; strategy; and, relationships. In the paper each of these sections are explained with evidence for their veracity provided from our research on Victorian government schools. We suggest that these four areas provide a cohesive conceptual framework for school leaders to assess their current leadership and how this interacts with the members of the school community. A more responsive, market centred leadership is shown to lead to a more student focussed and successful learning environment.

Market centred leadership provides a new perspective for viewing school leadership one that is especially useful in educational environments where school choice, school self-management and high accountability for improved student outcomes are emphasised


Dr Lawrence Drysdale  (Australia)
Senior Lecturer
Centre for Organisational Learning and Leadership
Univeristy of Melbourne

Lawrie Drysdale is a senior lecturer in Educational Administration in the Education Faculty at the University of Melbourne. He lectures in organisational behaviour, leadership, human resource management and marketing in education. His research focus is marketing in education and school leadership. Part of Lawrie’s work is conducting school reviews with the Education Departments in Victoria. Currently he is a director on the board of the Australian Principals Centre. He also conducts consultancies and workshop for both local and overseas educational groups

David Gurr

Dr David Gurr is a lecturer in Educational Administration at the University of Melbourne. He has current research interests in school leadership, school accountability, and the application of management information systems to schools and school systems. He has completed major research on school leadership, school charters, and principal perceptions of the Schools of the Future reform. Part of David’s current work involves the coordination of a team of verifiers involved in the Victorian school review process.

Prior to working at the University he worked as a research officer for the Department of Education, prior to this he held a range of teaching and administration positions in secondary schools including faculty and year level coordination. David has worked for three years as a student counsellor, has been registered as a Psychologist in the State of Victoria and is a member of the Australian Psychological Society. He is a member of the committee of the Victorian branch of the Australian Council of Educational Administration and serves as the chair of the publications committee for ACEA nationally. He is the editor of the ACEA publications Hot Topics and Leading and Managing.

  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • School performance

(30 min Conference Paper, English)