Educational Context of Informal Leadership Learning
The impact of relationships and developmental experiences can be seen to be continued from the parental context into the educational environment, in the form of teachers extending the development process as well as reinforcing children and adolescents’ understanding of the leadership phenomenon.
Bass (1990) identified the above socially constructed development process as being explicit in the system of public schools in producing leaders for the British Empire. However, the focus by Bass understates the cultural continuation of advantaged socioeconomic groups to create and sustain a leadership cadre and instead focuses on the formal development process.
Gronn, for example, links education with ‘family socialization of status, hierarchy and authority norms through intense peer socialization in boarding houses’ (1997: 4). Lapping (1985) describes an instilled class-conscious socialization from family and schooling: ‘They were Plato’s guardians – a caste apart, bred and trained to be superior’ (1985: 811).
This naturalistic development process arguably occurs in school contexts where teachers can be seen as ‘leaders’, establishing societal role model characteristics that embody notions of authority, power, discipline and morality.
The continuation of the development of implicit theories of leadership (Phillips & Lord, 1982) is first started with parents and arguably subsequently developed within the educational arena. There is very little published research on informal leadership learning and development through the education process.
Literature on the parental development phenomenon may be extrapolated to the educational arena where teachers and notable head teachers may act as a surrogate parent that reinforces both ‘implicit theories’ and the ‘romantic’ perspectives of leadership (Pfeifer, 1977b; Calder, 1977; Meindl et al., 1985).