This dissertation builds on and contributes to work in the field of entrepreneurial leadership in the educational environment. Entrepreneurial leadership is a distinctive type of leadership behaviour dealing with challenges and crises in an organisation. It focuses on entrepreneurial customs such as being a visionary thinker, innovativeness, motivation, risk-taking and being pro-active.
Although several studies have examined entrepreneurial leadership in schools, limited research exists on the impact of the school principal’s entrepreneurial leadership and management practice and the performance of the school.
The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the role that entrepreneurial leadership practices play in the leadership and management practices of high performing schools as best practice study. It aims to highlight those practices in the leadership and management of a school principal which may contribute positively to the quality of education in South Africa.
The data for this qualitative study were collected through open-ended, semi-structured interviews with the principals of the top 10 high performing schools in Gauteng based on their Grade 12 academic results in 2015 and 2016. A deductive case study design was considered as most suited for this research as it aimed to gaining better insight and understanding of the leadership practices of the school principals of high performing schools in real-life context. For this study, content analysis was employed. The sources of raw data were the transcripts of the individual semi-structured interviews conducted with the principals in high performing schools. The research results indicated that all principals participating in the study showed attributes of applying entrepreneurial leadership practices and incidentally used entrepreneurial leadership skills fruitfully in leading and managing the schools.
The dissertation draws strongly on the work of Pihie, Bagheri and Asimiran. They are some of the first researchers who focused on entrepreneurial leadership practice and school innovativeness which empower educational leaders to meet the diverse needs of learners as well as the ever-changing demands of the school environment.