Leader succession research presents intriguing evidence that leader succession affects school performance. Organizational socialization provides equally tantalizing evidence that leaders are shaped in their organizations. Socialization illuminates processes through which the outcomes of succession can be improved by successors and their superiors. The dynamic interactions among social and personal factors examined by socialization theories, however, are underemphasized by traditional succession frameworks. This omission leaves important gaps in knowledge about leader succession processes and outcomes. A synthesis of traditional succession and socialization research frameworks provides an enriched view of leader succession that can be applied to the study of principal succession, role change, and reform in schools. The literature in organizational socialization and professional socialization applicable to this synthesis is reviewed and compared with earlier succession reviews. Research issues raised by the socialization perspective are discussed.
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