Exploring the possibilities of parallel leadership in a private school in Karachi: A case study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


School leadership plays a pivotal role to bring about change and improvement in a school. Generally, leadership is considered the prerogative of principals/head teachers in schools and teacher leaders are treated as subordinates. This study aimed at exploring how the head teacher and teacher leaders can co-exist and work together in parallel as leaders in a private school in Karachi, Pakistan. The central research question that guided the study was: what are the possibilities of parallel leadership in a private school in Karachi? This study was conducted in a private school in Karachi. Case study method, within the qualitative research paradigm, was employed to conduct this study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, document analysis and observations. Since the purpose of the study was to explore the phenomenon of parallel leadership, the head teacher and two teacher leaders (a section head and a subject coordinator) were selected as research participants through purposive sampling. The study has identified factors that may contribute to parallel leadership in a school context. The findings indicate that parallel leadership can be developed through providing teacher leaders with the opportunities to lead by providing them with formal leadership roles and empowering them to exercise their skills and knowledge. The study found that mutual trust and respect between teacher leaders and principal leaders enable teacher leaders to work in parallel with the head teacher. Moreover, the findings revealed that professional development opportunities for teachers in the school, and a supportive environment where both the teacher leaders and the head teacher leader have developed a collaborative culture underpin parallel leadership. The positive attitude of the head teacher and teacher leaders and informal relationship between them can develop and strengthen parallel leadership. The study also found that the teacher leaders' and the head teacher's shared religious values contributed to develop a context appropriate for the promotion of parallel leadership. This study sought acknowledgement as the first of its kind in the context of Pakistan which would contribute to the improvement of schools by identifying how principal leaders and teacher leaders work together in a school to achieve common goals. Moreover, it is also likely to contribute to the development of a healthy working relationship between principal leaders and teacher leaders in schools in general.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library