School Principals as Agents of the Russian Education Reform

  • Anatoly Kasprzhak HSE University
  • Nikolay Filinov HSE University
  • Rustam Bayburin HSE University
  • Natalia Isaeva HSE University
  • Nadezhda Bysik HSE University
Keywords: transformational leadership, school principals, school leadership, decision-making styles, reformist potential of the education system


The paper revolves around the results of a research on school principal decision-making styles conducted in eight regions of the Russian Federation (one per federal district) in 2014, using the methodological approach by Alan J. Rowe. The study aimed to assess the reformist potential of Russian school principals. We believe that this potential is determined in the present context by the leadership style which suggests cooperation with teachers in decision-making processes and delegating them responsibilities under conditions of uncertainty and high cognitively complex tasks. Using the two-factor leadership model proposed by Bernard M. Bass, we suggest that either transformational or transactional leadership style may be efficient depending on school situation. Consequently, two types of leaders may be the most efficient in terms of school reformation: (1) principals with the conceptual decision-making style as dominant and the analy tical one as backup— they are ready to make changes and are likely already implementing them; (2) principals with the analytical leadership style as dominant and the conceptual one as backup—they are potentially prepared to adapt under changing conditions or if required to change by external influences. Assessment of the reformist potential among the existing school principal staff in Russia shows only 12% of school principals in eight regions apply the conceptual decision-making style having a backup analytical style—it’s them who can be classified as transformational leaders. Only 11% will implement changes efficiently under a specific context—those are transactional leaders who are likely to change their leadership style for transformational one.


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How to Cite
Kasprzhak, Anatoly, Nikolay Filinov, Rustam Bayburin, Natalia Isaeva, and Nadezhda Bysik. 2015. “School Principals As Agents of the Russian Education Reform”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 3 (September), 122-43.