Associate Professor Scott Eacott

Director, Higher Research Degrees


School of Education


+61 2 9385 0704
103 Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Specialist Studies in Education, Educational Administration, Management and Leadership, Social Theory
Tags: Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions

Although A/Prof Eacott has published a number of papers on educational leadership theory and leadership preparation and development, his main research effort has concerned the systematic development of a relational research program. This relatively new theoretical approach for organizational theory in education offers a methodological framework for the study of the social world. It provides a means to frame scholarly inquiry and structure an argument in a thesis, paper, book, or conference paper. Built on a very Bourdieusian craft of scholarship, but without any great loyalty or reverence, the relational approach comprises five relational extensions:

  • The centrality of 'organizing' in the social world creates an ontological complicity in researchers (and others) that makes it difficult to epistemologically break from ordinary language;
  • Rigorous (social) scientific inquiry calls into question the very foundations of popular labels such as 'the organization', 'leadership', 'management', and 'administration';
  • Contemporary spatio-temporal conditions cannot be separated from the ongoing, and inexhaustible, recasting of organizing activity;
  • Foregrounding social relations enables the overcoming of the contemporary, and arguably enduring, analytical dualism of individualism/holism, universal/particular, and structure/agency; and
  • In doing so, there is a productive space - rather than merely critical - space to theorize organizing.

New to the relational research program? An introductory overview can be found in chapter two (PDF) of the new edited collection by Gabriele Lakomski, Scott Eacott, and Colin Evers (2017) Questioning leadership: new directions for educational organizations (London: Routledge). Additionally, this paper provides a useful overview: Eacott, S. (2016). Methodological notes on the study of educational leadership relationally (PDF). Journal of Educational Administration and Foundations, 25(2), 3-14.

The first book length treatment of the relational approach is A/Prof Eacott's Educational leadership relationally (2015, Sense). The most comprehensive overview appears in Beyond leadership: a relational approach to organizational theory in education (2018, Springer). Check out my publications for many other papers and chapters using the relational approach. Ongoing work is currently being articulated in conference papers and empirical projects and will be published shortly.

Using the relational approach in your dissertation, thesis, or a paper? A/Prof Eacott has developed an indicative guideline for structuring your writing. See here (PDF).


Teaching and Supervision

One of A/Prof Eacott's key areas of contribution and research interest is school leadership preparation and development. He has published in the area, has ongoing projects in Australia and overseas (with collaborators), successfully attracted funding through the Emerald African Management Research Award programme and used his scholarly approach to tertiary teaching to secure an AusAID funded project to bring 20 Filipino leaders to Australia for an intensive educational leadership programme. In 2007-2008 A/Prof Eacott was awarded an inaugural Teaching and Learning Fellowship at the University of Newcastle (Australia) to develop an entirely online educational leadership course. He has subsequently held multiple competitive teaching and learning grants while at ACU for innovative educational leadership course and program designs.

Using a variety of approaches in his teaching, A/Prof Eacott's classes are distinctive for their privileging of rigorous and robust discussion and debate of key issues. Unlike traditional lecture or tutorial models, A/Prof Eacott explicitly engages with participants by challenging their ways of thinking and seeking to develop a commitment to public intellectualism. Following Michael Oakeshott, his central belief is that to be educated is to join the conversation of the world.

Course taught include:

  • Organizational theory
  • Effective schools
  • Social and political contexts of education

Honours and prizes

  • 2015 Hedley Beare Award - Most Outstanding Educational Leadership Writing (Australian Council for Educational Leaders)
  • 2014 Emerald Literati Outstanding Paper of the Year (2013)
    International Journal of Educational Management
  • 2013 Book Editor of the Year, Untested Ideas Center (Niagara Falls, NY)
  • 2012 Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (NSW)
  • 2012 Emerald / ALCS African Management Research Award
    2012 Highly Commended, Emerald Literati Outstanding Papers of the Year (2011)
    International Journal of Educational Management
  • 2011-2012 Emerging Research Leaders Programme
    (Sponsored by Deputy Vice Chancellor – Research)
  • 2010 Australian Leadership Award – Fellowship (AusAID)
  • 2009 Highly Commended, Emerald / EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award, Educational Leadership and Strategy (Sponsor Journal of Educational Administration)
  • 2009 Runner-up, 7th Annual Emerging Scholar in Educational Leadership Award
    (Sponsored by International Journal of Leadership in Education)
  • 2007-08 The University of Newcastle Teaching and Learning Fellowship

Engagement and Professional contributions


  • Educational Management, Administration & Leadership (2017-)
  • Educational Leadership Theory book series (Springer, Founding Co-Editor, 2017-)
  • Relational Sociology book series (Palgrave, 2015-)
  • Journal of Applied Social Theory (2015-)
  • Research in Educational Administration and Leadership (Section, Australia/Pacific Editor, 2015-)
  • International Journal of Educational Management (2013-)
  • Leading & Managing (2013-)
  • Journal of Educational Administration and History (2013-, including Book Review Editor 2013-2017)
  • International Journal of Leadership in Education (2013-)
  • Leadership and Policy Quarterly (2012-)
  • Perspectives in Educational Leadership (2011-2014)
  • Journal of Educational Administration and Policy Studies (2009-2015)


  • American Educational Research Association 2010-
  • British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society 2010-2015
  • Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management 2010-2015
  • Australian Association for Educational Research 2008-
  • Australian Council for Educational Leaders 2003-2016

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