Over the past two decades, the concepts of educational creativity and leadership have attracted tremendous attention throughout East Asia. Driven in large part by isomorphic tendencies within a global organizational environment, the two ideas have also acquired the trappings of institutional myth. Often overlooked in the schools literature, however, are the strong conceptual similarity and interconnection between creativity and leadership. Of particular note in East Asian schools is the intrinsic tension they share between being understood as properties of formal or ascribed status and as natural human characteristics. Based on the prior literature, examples, and analysis, this conceptual paper: (1) examines the “twin concept” nature of creativity and leadership within schools, proposing that they be understood less in terms of formal or ascribed status and more as vectors of natural activity within school organizations; (2) suggests ways in which East Asian school reform movements can take advantage of such activity; and (3) raises questions regarding the meaning of “reform” in East Asian schools.
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