Switching Cognitive Gears: School Leaders’ Cognitive Complexity

Rima’a Da’as*, Chen Schechter, Mowafaq Qadach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The role of school leaders is particularly complex in today’s “era of accountability,” which involves high standards for student achievement alongside frequently changing educational systems. Research in the business field has found leader’s cognitive complexity to be a predictor of leader and organizational effectiveness whereas the notion of school leader’s cognitive complexity remains undeveloped in the educational leadership and management field. Hence, the purpose of this article is to suggest a framework for school leaders’ cognitive complexity, as well as to suggest possible avenues for future conceptualization of, and research into this issue. Two empirical illustrations, based on the suggested framework for school leaders’ cognitive complexity, are described. This novel cognitive complexity framework may help school leaders develop processes, strategies, and structures that will enable them to react effectively in uncertain and dynamic environments.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)181-203
Number of pages23
JournalNASSP Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 SAGE Publications.


  • differentiation complexity
  • integration complexity
  • school leaders’ cognitive complexity


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