ERIC Number: ED282308
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Mar
Reference Count: 0
How Women Principals Respond to Conflict: A Qualitative Study.
Women frequently encounter stereotypes concerning their conflict management skills when seeking administrative positions. So far, the literature has focused on conflict management models involving male subjects and male researchers. As women's representation in educational administration increases, traditional viewpoints and theories concerning women need to be reevaluated. This study explores women principals' specific strategies of conflict management by using a qualitative "multiple realities" methodology. Particular respondents were included for their skill at handling conflict. Findings are based on in-depth, open-ended interviews and observations of six elementary and secondary school women principals. The data reveal two types of conflict experienced by these principals: conflict thrust upon them and conflict initiated by them. In both cases, the principals' actions are guided by the desire to preserve interpersonal relationships. When conflict comes from without, the principals try to diffuse it through empathizing, asking questions and accommodating, using humor, giving the other person a "way out," and listening. When the women principals initiate conflict, they use a stimulation strategy promoting escalation toward a specific goal--usually to encourage positive experience, such as generating new ideas and dispelling apathy. Observed conversations and principals' responses are included throughout the paper. (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Washington, DC, April 20-24, 1987).