This study adopts a structural perspective to explore micro-politics in senior management teams and identify the principals’ inner circle. Based on data from an Israeli random sample of state primary teachers, profiles of trust in principal are identified and used to break down the subgroups of teachers serving in various roles in senior management teams. Odd ratios and two-sample t-tests between percentage analyses revealed that senior management teams are composed from three layers. Two layers form the principals’ inner circle and include the vice-principal as a central political ally and the more political layer of officials (form heads) chosen as part of a reward or cooptation strategy. The third layer (counselors and subject heads) of senior management teams is less political, and these teachers are less likely to be part of the inner circle. The implications for research and practice are discussed, particularly in regard to idealized discourse on distributed leadership.
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