© 2018

Beyond Leadership

A Relational Approach to Organizational Theory in Education


  • Offers the most comprehensive survey of contemporary dialogue and debate on relational approaches to educational administration and leadership

  • Articulates and justifies a distinctive relational approach for organizational theory in education

  • Includes critical commentaries on the core arguments of the book to highlight the relational approach and its value for the field


Part of the Educational Leadership Theory book series (ELT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. The Relational Turn in Contemporary Thought and Analysis

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Scott Eacott
      Pages 3-23
    3. Scott Eacott
      Pages 25-41
  3. Relational Extensions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 79-79
    2. Scott Eacott
      Pages 81-94
    3. Scott Eacott
      Pages 95-111
    4. Scott Eacott
      Pages 113-128
    5. Scott Eacott
      Pages 129-142
    6. Scott Eacott
      Pages 143-163
  4. Dialogue and Debate

  5. Moving Forward

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 249-249

About this book


This book systematically elaborates Scott Eacott’s “relational” approach to organizational theory in education. Contributing to the relational trend in the social sciences, it first surveys relational scholarship across disciplines before providing a nuanced articulation of the relational research program and key concepts such as organizing activityauctors, and spatio-temporal conditions. It also includes critical commentaries on the program from key figures such as Tony Bush, Megan Crawford, Fenwick English, Helen Gunter, Izhar Oplatka, Augusto Riveros, and Dawn Wallin. As such, the text models an approach to, or social epistemology for building knowledge claims in relation rather than through parallel monologues.

Eacott’s relational approach provides a distinctive, post-Bourdieusian variant of the relational sociological project. Shifting the focus of inquiry from entities (e.g., leaders, organizations) to organizing activity and recognizing how auctors generate – simultaneously emerging from and constitutive of – spatio-temporal conditions unsettles the orthodoxy of organizational theory in educational administration and leadership. By presenting its claims in the context of other approaches, the book stimulates intellectual debate among both relational sociologists and opponents of relational approaches.

Beyond Leadership provides significant insights into the organizing of education. As it does not fit neatly into any one field, but instead blends educational administration and leadership, organizational studies, and relational sociology, among others, it charts new territory and promotes important dialogue and debate.


Educational leadership Educational administration Educational management Relational leadership Relational theories Organisational studies Education research Research methodology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

About the authors

Scott Eacott is a relational theorist, director of the Office of Educational Leadership at the School of Education at the University of New South Wales (Sydney) and an adjunct professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Educational Administration. He has previously held positions at the University of Newcastle (Australia) and the Australian Catholic University. Scott’s work has been widely published, and his research interests and contributions fall into three main areas: i) developing a relational approach to scholarship; ii) educational leadership theory and methodology; and iii) social theory. He is a fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders, former convenor of the Educational Leadership Special Interest Group of the Australian Association for Research in Education, a member of the national advisory board for the Australian Applied Management Colloquium, and he is on the editorial board of many of the field’s leading journals. Scott’s previous book, Educational Leadership Relationally, was awarded the 2015 Australian Council for Educational Leaders’ Hedley Beare Award for the most outstanding piece of educational leadership writing.

Bibliographic information


“This book provides extensive historical foundations for contemporary studies in educational administration. … Thus, the book gives readers a sophisticated analytic lens that includes not only a dominant paradigm but also alternative ones with which to understand scholarship in the field. … it contributes to stimulating our critical and innovative thinking in the field of educational leadership internationally.” (Taeyeon Kim, Journal of Educational Administration and History, August, 2018)