The Potential of Positive Leadership for School Improvement

A Cross-Disciplinary Synthesis


  • Karen Seashore Louis University of Minnesota
  • Joseph F. Murphy



leadership, positive psychology, school improvement


In this paper, we undertake four formative assignments: (1) We introduce the idea of positive school leadership (PSL) based largely on theory and research conducted outside the educational sector and introduce four orientations that anchor PSL; (2) we develop ideas about how asset-grounded concepts of leadership can be incorporated into schooling; (3) we examine how concepts underlying PSL may affect schools, classrooms, teachers, and students; and (4) using narrative research and grounded theory we introduce an overview of empirical evidence linking PSL and valued outcomes. We conclude by discussing the significance of PSL for organizational theory and leadership preparation and professional development.


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Author Biography

Joseph F. Murphy

Joseph F. Murphby is the Frank W. Mayborne Chair of Education and associate dean at the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University


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How to Cite

Louis, K. S., & Murphy, J. F. (2018). The Potential of Positive Leadership for School Improvement: A Cross-Disciplinary Synthesis. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 2(2-3), 165–180.