‘So that I can more or less get them to do things they really don’t want to’. Capturing the ‘Situated Complexities’ of the Secondary School Head of Department

John O’Neill


In this paper, I identify the major features of secondary school subject
departments as complex, socially constructed workgroups. I then examine how
interview data might productively be used to depict and explore more realistically
what I call these ‘situated complexities’, the idiosyncratic patterns of constraint and
opportunity within which individuals conduct their work. Finally, some
implications and possibilities of this form of analysis for the professional
development of those with curriculum leadership responsibilities are considered.

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