Leading collaborative innovation in schools

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


Educational innovations often tend to fail, mainly because teachers and school principals do not feel involved or are not allowed to have a say. Angela de Jong's dissertation shows the importance of school principals and teachers leading 'collaborative innovation' together. Collaborative innovation requires a collaborative, distributed approach involving both horizontal and vertical working relationships in a school. Her research shows that teams with more distributed leadership have a more collaborative 'spirit' to improve education. Team members move beyond formal (leadership) roles, and work more collectively on school-wide educational improvement from intrinsic motivation. De Jong further shows that school principals seek a balance in steering and providing space. She distinguished three leadership patterns: Team Player, Key Player, Facilitator. Team players in particular are important for more collaborative innovation in a school. They balance between providing professional space to teachers (who look beyond their own classroom) and steering for strategy, frameworks, boundaries, and vision. This research took place in schools working with the program of Foundation leerKRACHT, a program implemented by more than a thousand schools (primary, secondary, and vocational education). The study recommends, towards school principals and teachers, and also towards trainers, policymakers, and school board members, to reflect more explicitly on their roles in collaborative innovation and talk about those roles.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • van Tartwijk, Jan, Primary supervisor
  • Noordegraaf, Mirko, Supervisor
  • de Kleijn, Renske Antonia Maria, Co-supervisor, External person
  • Lockhorst, D., Co-supervisor
Award date2 Nov 2022
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Print ISBNs9789464584646
Electronic ISBNs9789464584643
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2022


  • collaborative innovation
  • leadership
  • distributed leadership
  • schools
  • school principals
  • teachers


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