Mrs Karen Anderson staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84451

Karen Anderson

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

My career in education began with teaching Geography, Economics, Accounting and Social Studies in secondary schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. I gained educational leadership knowledge and experience as a Head of Department, Dean, Deputy Principal and Co-Principal alongside my postgraduate study for the Master of Educational Administration Degree. I joined Massey University in 2000 as a Senior Lecturer in Secondary Teacher Education and also worked with the Centre of Educational Development as a secondary school leadership advisor and principal appraiser. Following this I was appointed Relationship Manager in a Ministry of Education contract for the assessment and development of experienced principals, the Principals Development Planning Centre. My role was to support principals to develop and implement their personal leadership development plans. While studying towards a Law Degree I was appointed Deputy CEO of Continuing Legal Education with the New Zealand Law Society. Returning to Massey University as the leader of our postgraduate programmes in Educational Administration and Leadership has enabled me to pursue my research interests in school leadership, educational evaluation, human resource management and  change management. Fundamental to these research interests is a commitment to leadership for social justice and equity and the role of educational leaders in creating opportunities and success for all learners.

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Contact details

  • Ph: + (06) 356 9099 etxn 84451
    Location: 2.06, Collinson Village
    Campus: Turitea Campus

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Research Interests

 My research is focussed on educational leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand school contexts, in particular secondary school principal practice. My Masters research was on the impact of the Education Review Office Accountability Review on secondary principals’ work.  My PhD research is focussed on identifying and explaining everyday secondary principal practice especially those aspects of leadership practice that are taken for granted and not easily accessed. My research works with Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice (1972) as a theoretical framework for investigating and analysing everyday secondary principal practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

 My interest in educational leadership is strongly influenced by my own leadership journey in both the secondary and tertiary sectors . In my current role as the leader of our postgraduate qualifications in Educational Administration and Leadership my research interest is the leadership of learning and the role of educational leaders in creating, implementing and sustaining learning opportunities for leaders, managers, teachers and students. While my doctoral research is focused on secondary school principal practice I also research and write about the influence of personalised leadership development, educational evaluation, human resource management and policy contexts on the leadership of teaching and learning.

I am committed to ensuring that my on-going research, professional leadership, teaching and writing contribute to new knowledge and understandings about educational leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Research interests:

New Zealand secondary school principal work

Educational leadership - aspiring, beginning, middle, senior and experienced leaders in all sectors

School leadership 

Pierre Bourdieu


21st Century Citizenship

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Education (130000): Education Assessment and Evaluation (130303): Education Systems (130100): Educational Administration, Management and Leadership (130304): Other Education (139900): Secondary Education (130106): Specialist Studies in Education (130300)


  • educational leadership
  • school leadership
  • leading teaching and learning
  • secondary school principals
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • leadership practice

Research Outputs


Anderson, KF. (2016). Bourdieu's distinction between rules and strategies and secondary principal practice: A review of selected literature. Educational Management Administration & Leadership. 44(4), 688-705
[Journal article]Authored by: Anderson, K.


Anderson, KF. (2015, August). Obedience to the rules - of course (not)?. Presented at National Association of Secondary Deputy and Assistant Principals 2015. SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Anderson, K.
Anderson, KF. (2013, July). Educational leadership in New Zealand secondary schools: using Bourdieu's theorising on rules and strategies to explore the extent to which our school leaders are rule-governed and/or rule breakers and how do we know?. Presented at Massey University Institute of Education Research Series Seminars.. Massey University.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Anderson, K.
Anderson, KF. (2013, November). Principals as Educational Leaders: Kiwi Leadership for Principals.. Presented at Educational Leadership & Management Masters Programme. Sampoerna School of Education, Jakarta, Indonesia..
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Anderson, K.
Anderson, KF. (2012, August). How can financial management practices support the achievement of organisational goals- 'back to basics'. Presented at Association of Teen Parent Educators New Zealand Conference 2012 (ATPENZ). Masterton, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Anderson, K.
Anderson, KF. (2012, November). Learning to use Bourdieu's outline of a theory of practice to investigate secondary school educational leadership today: The rules of discipline and the sense of discipline. Presented at Bourdieu Hui. Hamilton, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Anderson, K.
Anderson, KF. (2012, May). Financial management in trying times. Presented at Solo Charge / Rural Principals Conference. Palmerston North, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Anderson, K.
Anderson, KF. (2012, February). Budgeting and finance. Presented at Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour Workshop for Cluster Managers and Principals. Massey University Albany Campus, Auckland.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Anderson, K.
Anderson, K., & Weir, K. (2012, April). Struggling to make sense of leadership. Presented at New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Conference: Educational leadership for creative learning and caring communities. April 11-13, 2012. Tauranga, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Anderson, K.


Anderson, K., & Court, MR. (2012). [Review of the book Women in leadership: contextual dynamics and boundaries by Karin Klenke]. (pp. 286 - 288). Emerald Group Publishing Ltd
[Other]Authored by: Anderson, K.

Consultancy and Languages


  • 2002- present - Consultant
    Contractor for the Appraisal of Secondary School Principals
  • 2002-present - Centre for Educational Development (CED)
    Board of Trustees Training - Finance
  • September 2014 - New Zealand Teachers Council
    Panel to Review the Institute of Education Master of Teaching and Learning
  • 2002 - current - Principal Appointments
    External Consultant for Secondary Principal appointments
  • 2012 - New Zealand Teachers Council
    Panel to Review: Institute of Education, Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary).

Supervision and Teaching


Programme Leader for Educational Administration and Leadership

Master of Educational Administration and Leadership:

Thesis co-supervision

2012 Gerard Aitken. Managing Moral Dilemmas: What Influences Secondary School Middle Leaders?

2013 Yolande Franke. An Investigation into Senior Leaders' Perceptions and Experiences of their Roles and Responsibilities and Appraisal Processes in their Primary Schools.

Special Topic Supervision:

2013  An Investigation of the Recruitment and Selection Processes for Teachers in Papua New Guinea.

2013  An Investigation into the Career Pathways for Teacher Aides.

2014  An Investigation into the Roles and Responsibilities of Head's of Department in New Zealand Secondary Schools.

Courses Coordinated

  • 254.774 Evaluation of Educational Organisations

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