ERIC Number: ED203476
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr-10
Principals Discuss Their Roles: An Observational Study.
Rogers, Kathryn S.
What principals are taught about their roles differs markedly from how they actually perceive and experience their roles. To discover the principals' views, comments made in discussion groups by 44 principals in a large urban Midwest school system over a four-month period were analyzed. Their descriptions of their roles and desired role changes were compared with empirical and normative role descriptions found in administrative textbooks, professional publications, and research literature. The principals perceived themselves as relatively powerless "middle managers" rather than leaders, caught between community and higher administration pressures, and functioning mainly to coordinate their staff, administer regulations, and solve immediate problems. Their desires included more control within their schools, larger staffs, and more personal growth and rewards. These experiences contrast strongly with normative role emphases on educational leadership, curriculum development, and student guidance, and also differ from empirical descriptions of principals' solidarity with teachers and desire for greater instructional leadership. The tension between what principals are taught and what they experience may lead to role conflict and stress, and may require reorientation of principals' training. (RW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 7-11, 1980).