Date of Submission



The leadership and governance of Edmund Rice schools is in a period of transition brought about by the transferral of the administration of over 48 schools from the Christian Brothers to the lay administered Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA). This transition has generated differences of opinion concerning the authentic identity of Edmund Rice education. The issue of the contesting perspectives of what constitutes authenticity of the Edmund Rice charism, and how the perception of the charism is institutionalised in Edmund Rice schools, is the research problem for this thesis. The purpose of the research is to explore how Identity Leaders perceive and institutionalise the Edmund Rice charism. The Identity Leader is the staff member in an Edmund Rice school appointed by the principal to give life and witness to the distinct mission and identity of their school. This dynamic is dependent upon their ability to demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to, the Edmund Rice charism. In order to explore this, the following questions focus the conduct of the research. What do Identity Leaders perceive are the essential characteristics of the Edmund Rice charism? How do Identity Leaders institutionalise the Edmund Rice charism in their school? The research adopts a constructionist epistemology. An interpretive theoretical perspective is utilised, adopting the social theory of symbolic interactionism. A case study methodology is appropriate for the research as it explores a particular phenomenon within a bounded context. The data-gathering strategies of questionnaire and semi-structured interview are employed for the research.


School of Educational Leadership

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


286 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education