Cult of the guru

The featured research on cult of the guru is part of a suite of projects currently underway. They include:

Project title: Educational Leadership research and the cult of the guru

Chief Investigators: A/Prof Scott Eacott (UNSW)

Research assistant(s): TBC

Higher degree researchers: TBC

Funding source(s): pending

Overview: This project builds on an earlier claim that there is a ‘cult of the guru’ in educational leadership. To do so, it combines an appropriation of Hall’s Kardashian index, an analysis of Twitter tagging relations, and relational theory for the purpose of establishing an empirical foundation for ongoing dialogue and debate as to whether there is a ‘cult of the guru’ in educational leadership research. As part of a broader digital turn in knowledge generation, distribution, and consumption, the argument of this paper is that notion research expertise is shifting. Traditional modes of acquiring and sustaining research capital (e.g., publications, citations, research income) have been replaced by social presence, profile building, and the curation of followership. For an applied field, the role of research expertise is of considerable importance. With an increasing number of school leaders turning to social media for their professional learning, the recasting of research expertise to those curating followership, and potentially divorced from research performance, is of timely significance for the ongoing credibility of the field both internally and within the broader academy.

Status: ongoing

Outputs: A number of journal articles and conference papers have been generated from this project, including:

Book chapters

Eacott, S. (2019). How not to be seduced by common-sense. In J.S. Brooks, & A. Heffernan, (Eds.), The school leadership survival guide: what to do when things go wrong, how to learn from mistakes, and why you should prepare for the worst. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Journal articles

Eacott, S. (2018). Ranting, raving, and complaining: reflections on working against the orthodoxy. International Journal of Leadership in Education.

Eacott, S. (2017). School leadership and the cult of the guru: The neo-Taylorism of Hattie. School Leadership & Management, doi:

Conference papers:

Eacott, S. (2018). Educational leadership researchers, (social) scientific credibility, and the Kardashian index. Paper presented the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Sydney, Australia.

Eacott, S. (2018). Twitter tagging cartels, social science Kardashians, and the cult of the guru. Paper presented the Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Sydney, Australia.