Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 1789

Full Length Research Paper

Finnish principals: Leadership training and views on distributed leadership

Tapio Juhani Lahtero
  • Tapio Juhani Lahtero
  • Training Schools, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
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Raisa Susanna Ahtiainen
  • Raisa Susanna Ahtiainen
  • Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
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Niina Lång
  • Niina Lång
  • Education Department, City of Vantaa, Finland.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 17 October 2018
  •  Accepted: 03 May 2019
  •  Published: 23 May 2019


This study looks at the views of Finnish comprehensive school principals on distributed leadership and presents discussion on the leadership training required by principals and looks at it in relation to the views of principals. In Finland the qualification requirements for principals are based on their experience as teachers, and studies in educational administration. In general, studies in leadership are not mandatory. In terms of distributed leadership, one relevant question is the way distribution happens. Is it based on delegation of tasks or does it happen in interaction between teachers and principal? The data were principals’ responses to an electronic survey (n=71). The respondents represented 71 schools around Finland. The results showed that principals viewed distributed leadership differently depending on the type of question. In the Likert-scale questions they (n=71) emphasised distributed leadership as an interaction between principal and teachers and their situations, whereas in open-ended answers (n=44) the delegation had a bigger role. In terms of training background, the results indicate that principals (n=13) having university studies in educational leadership and administration emphasised more distributed leadership as an interaction than principals having other types of training. This paper poses questions concerning the content and structure of educational leadership training. Further, this study implies that there is a growing need to examine educational leadership in terms of training, and views concerning leadership structures and practices in schools.


Key words: Distributed leadership, educational leadership, leadership training, principal.