The Saskatchewan Principalship Study
Report Five: A Review of the Literature

By Ruth Wright and Pat Renihan

SSTA Research Centre Report #127: 88 pages, $17.

Introduction In this review of literature, an attempt has been made to highlight the leadership phenomenon, and to integrate it with a discussion of those major aspects of the principal's role most vital to effectiveness within the job. In addition to drawing upon the more wide-ranging literature relating to the general role, this literature review has utilized the body of literature which draws from (and addresses itself directly to) the Saskatchewan context. It has also been designed to provide for further discussion of the major issues and concerns identified in the first four sub-reports of the Principalship Study. Beginning with a discussion of the leadership phenomenon, this review examines perspectives on the changing role of the principal, the supervision and professional development of staff, the exercise of instructional leadership, the application of managerial skills, the nurturance of school climate and the development of effective relations with the community.
Principal as Leader
Principal as Instructional Leader
Principal as Change Facilitator
Principal as Supervisor
Principal as Manager
Principal as Politician
Principal as School Climate Developer

Back to: Leadership

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Although the recent thrust on school effectiveness displayed in the literature has provided same compelling and attractive direction for administrators, much of it can not be described as "novel"; in fact, most of it is telling us nothing we have not suspected intuitively for same time. It has, however, drawn together the findings of research and the observations of Seasoned commentators, and provided a comprehensive overview of those factors central to effective schooling.

One factor in particular has been emphasized by many authorities on school effectiveness. That is, school leadership, which is accompanied by the logical corollary that the principal is the critical influence in determining how effective a school shall be.

In this review of literature, an attempt has been made to highlight the leadership phenomenon, and to integrate it with a discussion of those major aspects of the principal's role most vital to effectiveness within the job. In addition to drawing upon the more wide-ranging literature relating to the general role, this literature review has utilized the body of literature which draws from (and addresses itself directly to) the Saskatchewan context. It has also been designed to provide for further discussion of the major issues and concerns identified in the first four sub-reports of the Principalship Study. Beginning with a discussion of the leadership phenomenon, this review examines perspectives on the changing role of the principal, the supervision and professional development of staff, the exercise of instructional leadership, the application of managerial skills, the nurturance of school climate and the development of effective relations with the community.

Table of Contents


One of the mast frequently discussed aspects of the principalship is leadership. Much of what is known about leadership is the result of its study in non-educational organizations as well as in educational settings. The following discussion presents a brief overview of the approaches to the study of leadership, tenets of some theories associated with the leadership phenomenon, and same findings related to the role of the principal as leader.


Three basic approaches are used in the study of leadership (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974) . The first of these is a psychological approach which views the leader as a person with a distinctive personality structure and which assumes that what a person will do in a job can be predicted from individual biological and psychological characteristics. Researchers adopting this approach seek to identify those characteristics which others view as crucial in a leader or alternately to analyze the lives of great leaders to determine what traits they had. This type of research presents as its final product the specific characteristics felt desirable far use in the identification of leaders. The major problem with the approach has been that contradictory characteristics seem to emerge. Research conducted by Stogdill (1948) in his early writings about leadership is a good representation of this approach. Although the approach appears simplistic, it has not been deserted completely. People still describe the "typical principal" or the "typical department head" in terms of physical and psychological factors.

The second approach to leadership, a sociological one, represents an effort to move from the analysis of traits to the examination of the roles and relationships experienced by individuals in leadership positions. Hemphill (1949) identified many factors including size of the group, homogeneity of group members, group intimacy, and group cohesion as being important as well as the leader's position, opportunity to participate, satisfaction, and dependence upon the group. Hemphill determined that effective leaders are most often those in groups which feel cohesive (viscidity) and in which there is a great deal of satisfaction among group members (hedonic tone).

The third approach to the study of leadership is a behavioral one. This involves the analysis of behavior for both psychological and sociological factors. These studies are based on a premise that both individual and situational variables are crucial determinants of behavior.

Utilizing this approach, researchers have attempted to describe leadership in terms of many phenomena concurrently. The behavioral approach to leadership has resulted in numerous models of leadership many of which have focused on two distinct dimensions of the situation in which the leader is found - consideration for others demonstrated by the leader and the concern the leader has for the accomplishment of the task of the organization. Over time, these factors have been considered in relation to the maturity of the organization (Rersey & Blanchard, 1977), managerial effectiveness (Reddin, 1970), and situational favorableness (Fiedler, 1967). Same writers suggest that the behavioral approach to leadership has really incorporated two distinct phases, an early one represented by Hersey and Blanchard and an emergent one represented by Fiedler which should be entitled a situational (contingency) approach (Silver, 1983). Bass (1981) on the other hand, suggests that there are eleven broad classifications of theories about leadership.

A review of leadership theory provides ample evidence to support the contention that there is considerable confusion about the nature and function of leaders. In fact there seems to be little agreement on the basic definition of the word "leadership" and what "leadership effectiveness" actually is. Jago suggests a typology of leadership perspectives which summarizes the various leadership theories. Jago implies that situational theories are those which best represent the phenomenon "leadership". He describes the current perspectives of leadership as formative. Bass (1981) suggests that all leadership theories can be described in terms of three leader focuses: the task, the follower, or a combination of task, follower, and organizational environment. Some attempts of synthesis have been made, however. McCall and Lambardo (1978) conclude that there are four tenets of leadership which are consistent throughout the theories:

1. Leadership effectiveness can not be predicted from personality traits.

2. Follower satisfaction and leader consideration are correlated.

3. No single leadership style is effective in all situations.

4. Leaders play an important role by structuring the expectations of their followers.


Studies of the leadership of principals have paralleled the studies of leadership in other areas. Many recant studies have addressed the trait aspects of principal leadership by means of demographic analyses (Byrne, Hines a McCleary, 1978, is one example). Findings of these studies suggest that most principals in the United States are white, male, between the ages of 45 and 54 and have a masters' degree (Rutherford, Hord, Huling & Hall, 1983).

Other studies of the leadership role of the principal have considered both traits and behavior revealing the contextual nature of the principal's job. McPherson (1982) suggests that the effective leadership style for a principal is one in which authority must be exercised as fully as possible by a law-profile administrator who recognizes constraint. Scharf (1978) describes a facilitative role for the principal, allowing each teacher to reach an optimal level of efficiency.

Barth (1979) identifies the leadership role of a principal as idiosyncratic. He adds that it involves the working of individualization in the treatment of others, prioritizing problems, being patient, reducing fear, taking risks and pursuing both interdependence and dependence. This is essentially what Johnson (1980) describes as team building. Johnson, however, focuses on the utilization of public relations activities and inservice as the means of accomplishing effective leadership.

The contextual nature of leadership effectiveness is apparent from studies which compare elementary with secondary principals. Greenfield (1982) identifies studies which describe trait and behavioral differences in these groups. Differences in the behaviors of male and female principals considered to be effective leaders are reported by Johnson (1978). Awender (1978) provides support for the contention that Ontario principals perceive their actual and ideal roles differently than they are perceived by teachers and by superintendents.

In an effort to determine the nature of leader behavior, other studies have attempted to describe the activities at which principals spend their time. Blumberg and Greenfield (1980) found that most of a principal's time is spent doing routine activities including problem solving, orienting, and. building concerns. These findings are reflective of those of a study of the principalship conducted by Nolcott in 1973. Wolcott found that sixty-five percent of a principal's day is spent interacting directly with people.


To this point, the role of the principal as chief administrator at the school level and as the official leader of a school has been recognized. But what do or should principals do? Examining what has been written about principals, it is apparent that there is little consistency among jurisdictions about the exact role and that there is, considerable concern relative to the need to clarify this role so that it might be possible to train people to assume the principalship position. An analysis of major descriptors for more than 350 articles, papers, research reports, theses, and dissertations related to the principalship published between 1975 and 1983 indicates several recurring themes. The following list summarizes these in order of priority based on the frequency of the topic addressed. Examination of this list indicates clearly that the major topic of discussion in this field is the role:

Role(in general)

Community relations

Principal effectiveness

Role behavior

Principal-teacher relationships

Change agent


Administrative training

Administrative team relationships

Principals in schools as social organizations

Roles of principals as perceived by others

Time and other constraints

Changing role

Decision making

Job satisfaction


School and external environment

Budget cuts

Women in administration




Job complexity

School size


Kellams (1979) suggests that the role of the principal in North American schools is an evolving one. From an analysis of articles written about the principalship in the NASSP Bulletin from January

1949 to December 1978, he identified several major thrusts. These are summarized in Figure I.

From Kellams' writing it is apparent that the actual tasks in which principals are being involved are increasing and that with the increase came demands for skills which are applicable in many situations. Erickson and Reller (1979) concluded that

The principalship continues to be one of the most durable and critical positions in the administration of American schools. Although there are variations in the size and location of schools and school systems, differences in the personalities and experiential backgrounds of principals, and variation in the socio-economic circumstances of children, youth and parents served, the building principal remains the administrator mast closely associated with the daily operations of the school, with the implementation of curriculum, and with its association with the community. (22)

Many studies have attempted to describe exactly what it is that the principal does in being such a key person. Findings of same of these studies are repeated in the section which follows.


A chronological sequence will be utilized in the organization of this section. Studies are not described in detail and their findings are presented with a minimum of detail. The reference for each study is found in the bibliography of this report if more information is desired.

Host of the literature reported has been written since 1975.

Same earlier sources do, however, appear relevant in the consideration of tasks of the principal. Reynolds and Reynalds (1967) in assessing the characteristics of innovative principals identified eight distinctive roles:

- establishing school climate

- working with subordinates

- developing goad interpersonal relationships with and among staff

- influencing adoption of innovations by staff

- generating innovations

- reacting to and with superordinates

- making decisions

- communicating support for innovations.

They concluded that a district desiring change in schools should seek a principal from outside the jurisdiction who is cosmopolitan in orientation. Cosmopolitan principals are those who find their major friendships and satisfactions from sources external to the school. They also described the influence of budgetary restraints on principal's tendency to be innovative. The expected relationship supported is that law expenditures inhibit innovation. Egnatoff (1968) reported a longitudinal study of the changing status of Saskatchewan school principals. His findings indicate a significant discrepancy among the views of the principal as held by teacher and school board chairpersons. He concluded that the discrepancies in view of role create considerable role conflict for principals. A significant change in role reported by Egnatoff was the concern with "...problems related to supervision of instruction, curriculum changes, personnel selection and utilization" (p. 400). Gould (1972) demonstrated the need to consider the tasks of a principal from two perspectives. The formal view of the role is that which is often written in the principal's contract. The informal view must also be considered and it is this view held by students, teachers and the principal which is often in conflict because of the lack of consensus.

Singleton (1974) noted "A principal is what a principal does, and what he does is determined by the constraints operating upon him". He described several specific tasks of building principals in Ontario over which the principal exercises direct control:

- hiring, tenure and dismissal of staff

- class size and organization

- role description of staff

- internal organization of the school

- instructional supply

- innovation

- programs

- internal budgeting related to program, instruction, and operation

This view of the building principal is a positive one which demonstrates that the person in the principalship position may, indeed, have power and authority within the school. Singleton recognized that there are many constraints on principal control in these areas but concluded that they are still within the principal's control domain. Geons and Lange in the same year, described the supervision of teachers for the purposes of tenure and improvement as the most crucial area of principal control.

Ryan and Coaper (1975) described the principal as occupying several positions. These are:

- official leader

- helper

- initiator

- crisis manager

- facilitator

- reward dispenser

- judge

- buffer among parents, students and teachers

- "sacrificial lamb".

The inclusion of the "sacrificial lamb" category appears to be in response to the sense of being a pawn for superordinates to manipulate. Although the perception is a common one, Ryan and Cooper present little evidence to justify their cynicism. Brown (1977) identified the size of the school as a major factor in the determination of the tasks of a principal. He concluded that the sex of the principal had little or nothing to do with the expectations far the position, and confirmed Gould's (1977) conclusion that these expectations held were very different among students, teachers and principals themselves.

Lipham (1977), a major theorist in the management of educational change, examined the role of the principal in change efforts involving an innovation from outside the school. He concluded that the principal is a significant internal change agent and a crucial linkage agent for the school. The ability of a principal to help bring about change in schools is improved and strengthened by increasing contacts with educational systems and people external to the school. In describing the tasks of principals, Zechman (1977) identified ten specific roles:

- recruitment and selection of personnel far instruction

- defining goals and objectives unique to the school

- collecting, organizing, analyzing and interpreting data related to teacher performance

- assigning instructional staff to optimize conditions for learning

- relating the needs of students to the school system goals and legal requirements

- recommending staff members for re-employment, promotion or dismissal

- articulating goals and objectives for subunits within the school

- establishing communication with the school constituency for the purpose of assessing needs and establishing broad instructional goals

- communicating to the staff the feelings of the constituency

- allocating time and space for instructional purposes.

These tasks look similar to those identified by Singletan (1975) but reflect a stronger recognition of the need to be responsive to community demands. This is probably attributable to the funding of schools in the United States rather than to an awareness of the demands that would emerge in the 1980's.

The lack of specificity in the definition of the duties of principals in schools was discussed by Mazzarella (1977). In addition, the frustration created by the lack of time, lack of power and lack of clear role definition in efforts to improve instruction was identified. Kearney (1977) concluded that the principal's major duty was to help teachers be responsive to student needs regardless of the constraints.

The need for the principal to be involved in the planning of inservice for the school was identified by Feck and Nicetich (1978), who suggested that participatory management of any type decreases the feelings of alienation and perceived autonomy in the lower levels of an organization. Watson (1978) concluded that, if principals are indeed to be participatory managers, they need training in management skills.

Two notable efforts were made to categorize principal tasks in 1978. Tye characterized the principals leadership role as having four dimensions:

- goal attainment

- human processes

- socio-political context

- self understanding.

The self understanding dimension is unique as a focus. It clearly reflects the thrust in organizational psychology at that time in which trust and honesty in relations between managers and employees were being emphasized. The effective group processor was viewed as the one who could clearly identify, share and question beliefs and goals. Peterson (1977-78) utilized an alternative categorization system for the tasks of principals. The Peterson system was based on functions and included five categories:

- working with students

- working with professional staff

- interacting with parents about the school and their children

- planning and coordinating curricular or instructional programs

- general administrative tasks.

Peterson was also interested in how much time the principal devotes to different tasks. His findings indicate that principals have a large number of short tasks every day (ranging from four to fifty activities per hour), that they seldom can devote significant uninterrupted stretches of time to one task, and Chat they spend the vast majority of their time in or near their office. Contact time with students was more frequently related to discipline than to other matters. The range of time spent daily by the principals who were subjects of the study in each category is shown in Figure II. Moody and Amos (1978) were interested in the relationships between the principal and superordinates. They suggested that the school system should provide a means of direct access for the principal to the superintendent. The principal should also be involved with

- reviewing and providing input concerning the impact of proposed hoard policies prior to board adoption

- acting on screening teams when applications are received for district-wide administrative positions

- developing instruments for use in their own evaluation

- establishing the agenda for district administrator staff meetings.

Cusick and Peters (197H) studied the principalship in the context of small towns. They discovered two major norms about the principal - ship which may have differed from larger urban settings:

- the principal should embody the ethic of a totally responsible public servant

- the principal should monitor the diverse elements in schools to insure community acceptability and organizational stability.

In 1979, Welby described the principal as an authority figure, a student advocate, a person in the middle, an educational leader, an acknowledged expert, a decision maker, a problem solver and a disciplinarian. Yingling (1979) focused on the necessity for principals to be knowledgeable about educational legislation and to provide active leadership in the school and in the community to promote good legislation and to oppose potentially harmful acts. The role as legal advocate is novel.

Erickson (1979) depicted the tasks of the principal as belonging in four job dimensions each of which houses subactivities. These are:

- relations with people and groups

- personal handling of student adjustment problems

- organizations and extracurricular activities

- individualized student development

- utilization of specialized staff

- evaluation of teacher performance

- collegial contacts

- racial and ethnic group problems

- trouble shooting and problem solving

- community involvement and support

- curriculum

- curriculum development

- instructional materials

- personnel administration

- staffing

- working with unions

- general administration

- working with central office

- safety regulations

- fiscal control.

The maintenance of a social structure inside a school can often be overlooked by a principal who becomes committed to participate management. Wake (1980) suggested that there is still need for the principalship to be distinguished as an authoritative position and that the principal should have a private office set apart from the general flow of the school.

Hay (1980) stated that "(t)he primary task of today's principal is management and this kind of competency has replaced skill in teaching as the major requirement for fulfilling the role" (27). Skill in management is important, indeed, but the reality of teaching principals suggests that there must also be competency in teaching. Hay identifies several areas of competency crucial for a principal of the 1980's:

- legal awareness

- community relations

- co-operative relations

- management of curriculum development

- management of supervision and evaluation

- human relations skills

- political skills.

The National Education Association in the United States funded several projects which examined the role of the principal in schools at various organizational levels. Reports of these studies have been published since 1980. Crowson and Porter-Gehrie were major researchers for the NASSP section of the study. Their findings indicated that principals' tasks most frequently involved:

- maintaining discipline

- keeping outside influences and staff conflicts under


- keeping schools supplied with adequate resources

- managing events

- controlling behavior and image

involving the community in the school

- rewarding and punishing staff.

Renson (1980) identified another area of importance in same educational jurisdictions-contract negotiations. Lietz and Tawle (1980) suggested that the whole area of special education is an independent principal task and that in today's schools principals must plan, coordinate and evaluate special education programs and services as part of their normal tasks. Young and Brooks (1980) suggested that in the society of today, change is occurring at a very rapid rate creating the need for a stabilizing factor in the school. They indicated that the establishment of a school philosophy is crucial for stability and that the principal must assume responsibility for its development. In all this, Scott (1980) suggested, the principal can easily lose sight of the fact that the primary responsibility of schools is the provision of instruction for students. The principal, therefore, must recognize his major role as being the instructional leader in the school.

Utilizing a methodology suggested by Lipsky, Crawson and Porter-Gehrie (1980) identified means by which principals in large city schools utilize their discretionary powers in determining their behavior. They discovered that inadequate resources, challenges to their authority and role ambiguity are major problems facing principals and that these principals developed coping mechanisms to overcame the problems. The coping mechanisms employed are summarized in Figure III.

They concluded:

More than any other single position in the American school hierarchy, the principalship represents the pivotal exchange point, the most important point of connection between teachers, students, and parents on the one hand and the educational policy-making structure...on the other. Through the principal's office goes both the needs, problems and issues of the local community and the problems and issues that accompany the implementation of policies downward from the top of the school bureaucracy.

Geering (1980) stated that the principal is "pivotal" to the success of the school. In making decisions, establishing communication patterns, setting school climate, introducing innovations, supervising curriculum, maintaining physical facilities, and establishing good school-community relationships, it is the principal who is primarily responsible for teacher morale and for pupil and staff performance,

The tasks of rural school principals may be somewhat different in emphasis than those of urban school principals. Sahar (1982) identified five areas in which rural school principals may have special problems. These are: the large amount of time they spend teaching, the special problems associated with adequate curriculum offerings for small enrollments, those associated with budgetary control, release time and dispersed populations, the difficulty in providing special education and guidance programs for students, and the general lack of adequate school facilities. It may readily be argued that many of these problems are not unique to rural schools but their affects do appear to be compounded in many rural settings.

Willower and Kzentz (1982) and Ens (1982) reported time an task studies of principals. Each of these studies confirmed the findings of Petersan (1977-7S) that the majority of the time spent by most principals is spent in general administrative tasks. Ens identified most of the activities as being self-initiated. Willawer and Krentz described the working principal as being at a rapid pace, varied, and demonstrating a strong verbal emphasis, They suggested that few differences exist between the tasks enacted by elementary and secondary principals. It seems, however, that elementary principals receive mare written communications from central office personnel than do secondary principals.

Martin and Willawer (1981) proposed a model of sectional control in high schools and stated that principals tend to defer their instructional authority to other people. Building maintenance an the other hand is a readily accepted task. They reported that principals have an "insider" focus, that is, that they seldom look to sources outside their immediate environment for assistance in solving the problems in their school or for initiating innovative action.

Musella (1982) described the competencies required of principals as being fourfold: having the type of vision which enables them to plan for what is coming, having a sense of timing which enables them to know when to apply pressure and when to introduce change, having the effective management skills to "keep the house in order", and having the ability to implement change. From a cross-Canada survey of principals, he identified the 10 most important skills, 10 areas of knowledge and 10 personal characteristics deemed most important by principals. These are reported in Figure IV.

Boyd (1983) suggested that it may be more important to examine what principals and other educational administrators do not do than to focus exclusively on what they do. "...(I)n terms of attaining the primary goals of schools - instruction - what may be most important is what school principals don't do"(1).

Hoy and Henderson (1983) examined the authenticity of principals in relation to its influence on school climate and pupil-control. They demonstrated clearly that "The principal is the single most important individual in setting the tone of relationships in an elementary school' (125) and, further, that not only was the willingness of principals to have teachers participate in the management of schools important but that principals must be perceived as "authentic" if they are to be pervasive influences on the organizational climate of their school.

The preceding section has presented a brief review of same of the literature related to principal role and principal tasks. What has emerged from the review are several lists of potential tasks and task areas and considerable diversity of thought relative to the emphasis which should be placed on various tasks by principals. The literature reviewed was largely that generated by researchers from limited observations. There is, however, considerable consistency about some of the major tasks. A number of these task areas are examined specifically in the sections which follow.

Table of Contents


One of the most consistently recurring themes in the description of the role of the principal is that the only way instructional programs improve in schools is for the principals to provide teachers with sound instructional leadership. Cotton and Savard (1980) reviewed research conducted relative to the instructional leadership role and concluded that principals who demonstrate good instructional leadership are characterized by frequent observation and/or participation in classroom instruction; clear communication, to staff, of expectations relative to the instructional program; central involvement in decision making relative to the instructional program, active participation in planning and evaluating the instructional program: and demonstrating high expectations for the instructional program.

There is considerable evidence to suggest that, although principals know instructional leadership is a key role in a school and that they are largely responsible for it, they tend to leave the responsibility with others or to neglect it altogether (Mlcott, 1973: Martin, 1980; Daw S Whitehead, 1981). The studies of the distribution of principal work time cited earlier in this review confirm the findings of Howell (1981) that principals spend less than one-fifth of their work time on instruction-related activities and that the majority of that time is spent in administrative behavior such as scheduling and student placement. Fege (1980) suggested that a major reason for the lack of success of principals as instructional or change leaders is their inability to distinguish between routine management activities and the goals of instructional leadership.


The principal's role as instructional leader is often discussed in two bodies of literature - that related to curriculum implementation, and that related to program improvement.

Much of the research related to curriculum implementation is Canadian. Fullan (1982) presents a summary of the related research and suggests that the principal is not only the key to successful curriculum implementation in schools, but that there are a number of direct actions which principals must take to insure success. These include: establishing the change as a priority for the school, communicating what the new curriculum implies, providing the general

community with information related to the need for change, clarifying roles in the change effort, providing adequate human and physical resources for the change, timing the change to suit the local conditions, and providing adequate supervision to make certain that the curriculum is actually being implemented.

Dcw and Whitehead (1981) demonstrated, however, that it is unreasonable to expect principals to be the leaders in curriculum implementation if their roles are not clarified as such and if they are not provided with training in the manner in which implementation should occur. They further stated that the principal cannot be expected to be committed to the implementation process if their superordinates are not committed to the change.

Viney (1981) in describing the role of the principal in implementation from the perspective of the classroom teacher, identified four major tasks:

- weather commentator

- yes-man

- school grapevine

- paper clip officiator

As weather commentator, the principal can provide ideas and information to the teacher for the implementation effort. The principal as yes-man can support the efforts that teachers are making to change and encourage self-initiated implementation efforts. As the school grapevine the principal can help teachers be familiar with the innovation efforts of others. The paper clip officiator guarantees that the teacher has the resources needed to implement the curriculum and that no impediment blocks or stalls the implementation effort.


Leithwood and Montgomery (1981) addressed the role of the principal in program improvement. They suggested that the principal is the key to program improvement because of the effect exercised an factors related to student classroom and school-wide experiences. These factors include such things as materials and resources, time management, and the physical environment. They analyzed and categorized the activities of principals in program improvement efforts. The categories which emerged are as follows:

Building/maintaining interpersonal relationships and motivating staff

1.1 Involving staff

1.2 Doing things with staff

1.3 Being positive, cheerful and encouraging

1.4 Being with/available or accessible to staff

1.5 Being honest, direct and sincere

1.6 Getting staff to express/set their own goals

1.7 Miscellaneous

Providing staff with knowledge and skill

Collecting information

Using vested authority

Providing direct service to students

Assisting with and supporting teachers' regular tasks

Facilitating within-school communication

Providing information to staff

9. Focusing attention an special needs of students

10. Facilitating communication between the school and community

11. Using goal and priority-setting and planning

12. Finding non-teaching time for staff

13. Establishing procedures to handle routine matters.

Leithwood and Montgomery suggested that principals may go through developmental stages of procedural sophistication in learning to be program improvers. Those in the earliest stage are described as "surviving". They are mast concerned with single tasks in a single context. Second stage principals are labeled as "satisfying" and are most concerned with categories of tasks that are somewhat generalizable in similar contexts. The highest level of development is characterized by "optimizing" which involves treating related task categories in a highly generalizable fashion. This highest category may be described as being able to apply management strategies well in many situations or as seeing the similarities in problems.

Table of Contents


Lieberman and Millez (1981) stated without question that in efforts to improve the quality of schooling "the principal is the critical person in making change happen" (583).

Reinhard et al. (1980) studied the behavior of principals who supported or hindered a change which had been government funded. They examined four distinct phases of the change process: planning and initiation, building a temporary operating system for the project, developing and implementing, and institutionalizing the change. During the first phase, the principal's agreement with the project was crucial. It was also imperative that the principals communicate their enthusiasm to others. Successful projects were characterized by the principal being actively involved and positive in selling the project to the superintendents in their systems and in providing the necessary materials and personnel for the temporary system. The main role of principals in the development and implementation phase was the demonstration of interest, the making of suggestions for problem solution, and the gradual turnover of responsibility for the project to others. Institutionalization occurred only when the principals demonstrated continued commitment and provided adequate resources.


Extensive research related to the role of the principal as change facilitator has been conduced as the University of Texas Research and Development Center for Teacher Education (eg. Hall et al., 1983; Rutherford et al., 1982). These researchers have adopted a category system developed by Thomas (1978) of the behavior of principals related to the facilitation of alternative programs. The three styles she identified were:

Detector - the principal who makes the procedural and substantive decisions in the school at both the classroom and school level and who involves the teacher in decision making in a consultative manner while always retaining the final decision-making authority.

administrator - the principal who separates procedural from substantive decisions, allows teachers autonomy in their classrooms but makes those decisions which affect the whole school alone. This principal tends to identify more with district management than with the staff. Facilitator - the principal who perceives support of the staff as the primary function. Concern is mare with process than with procedures. Collegial relationships with the staff are crucial and, therefore, staff members are actively involved in the decision-making process. The University of Texas Researchers investigated the categories as they emerged in various innovation efforts and identified three distinct styles of leadership in change efforts:

Responders - allow opportunities for teachers and others to take the lead. They perceive their primary role to be maintaining a smooth-running school by keeping up with administrative tasks and treating students and teachers well. These principals believe their teachers are professionals who know how to do their jobs. They frequently give people the opportunity to make decisions. Their own decision-making focus tends to be short-ranged rather than long-termed. They like to please people and are frequently limited in their ability to see the future of their school.

mangers - respond to situations and initiate changes. Their response to change is related to their rapport with teachers and central office as well as the relative importance of the change effort. They work behind the scenes to provide the resources their teachers need to bring about the change and keep their teachers well informed of decisions. They became involved with their teachers to meet demands from central office and try to shield them from undue stress. They do not, however, typically initiate attempts to go beyond what is imposed.

Initiators - are characterized by clear long-ranged policies and goals which go beyond but include the specific program change. Decisions are made on their view of what will create the best school in the future in light of student and teacher abilities and interests. They have high expectations for students and staff. They actively seek changes in program policy or reinterpret it to meet the needs of their school. They seek input from teachers in decision making but final decisions are made in terms of the goals of the school.

(Hall, et al., 1983,1984).

The initiators are those who effect more successful changes in their schools.

Rutherford et al. (1983) identified 15 behaviors of principals that relate to their success as change facilitators. These are listed below:

They have a clear vision of short and long-range goals for the school.

They work intensely with brute persistence, to attain their vision.

Achievement and happiness of students is their first priority.

They have high expectations for students, teachers and themselves.

They are actively involved in decision-making relative to instructional and administrative affairs.

They attend to instructional objectives as well as instructional strategies and planning.

They collect information that keeps them well informed about the performance of their teachers.

They will involve teachers in decision-making but within the framework of established goals and expectations.

Directly or indirectly they provide for development of teachers' knowledge and skills.

They protect the school and faculty from unnecessary intrusions.

They will seek policy changes at the district level for benefit of the school.

They give enthusiastic support for change.

They provide for the personal welfare of teachers.

They model the norms they want teachers to support.

They aggressively seek support for resources within and outside the school to foster goals of the school.


Much of the literature related to the principalship fails to recognize that often other individuals in the school assist the principal with tasks. Research conducted by Hall et al. (1983)

revealed that although the principal is the key supporting agent far change in the school "...the principal does not bear the weight of leadership responsibility alone. There are one or more helpers who participate in school leadership activities - this is the role of the consigliere." (131) The consigliere, most frequently an assistant principal or a specially assigned teacher, assumes the role of "Second . Change Facilitator".

The major implication of this study for principals is that it should be possible to identify consiglieres within the school context to share specific tasks. In addition

(t)he findings from this study would suggest that the Second CF role (consigliere) is one that emerges out of necessity at the school level. The role carries with it little formal recognition and no training. It is more a matter of identifying someone who has interest and the potential of being a change facilitator and anointing them with the role (p. 161)

This does not imply that the principal should abdicate the responsibility of change facilitator but, rather, that the principal became the monitor and assist in the process.

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The term "supervisor" is an ambiguous one which seems to house within it mixed conceptions of principals.

Often linked with educational administration and invariably connected with the concept of educational leadership, supervision is today seen as that dimension of the teaching profession which is concerned with improvement of instructional effectiveness. Nearly all definitions state or imply that supervision is the task assigned to certain school employees, whether in a line or staff relationship to classroom teachers..., to stimulate staff growth and development, to influence teacher behaviors in the classroom..., and to foster the selection, development, use and evaluation of good instructional approaches and materials"

(Goldhammer, Anderson & Krajewski, 1980, 13)

In essence this description houses two seemingly incompatible aspects - helping and evaluating. Historically, the relative emphasis for supervisors of these dichotomous views has changed from the inspectorial role of the supervisor to the more collegial role of helper.


The question of who is to be the supervisor has long been debated, and in most jurisdictions is answered by legislation. Often central office personnel are made responsible for the assessment of teachers for tenure and promotion purposes with the principal being assigned the less direct role of information and opinion gatherer. In other jurisdictions the principal is in charge of this aspect of supervision also. In all jurisdictions the principal is deemed in charge of the instructional program of The school. Marquit (1968) argued that if instructional improvements require teachers to change their behavior, and if the principal is charged with the responsibility for bringing about such improvement then it follows that the ... principal must do something to change teachers' behavior (p. 1)

How can the principal know what the teacher is doing without observing instructional practice? As Martin and Willawer (1981) attested, principals as a rule "do not spend much time either communicating with their superiors or directly supervising teachers" (p. 88). In describing their supervisory practices, principals identified the lack of tine as a major barrier to their provision of adequate professionally oriented staff supervision (Sackney, 1980; Nordick, 1981; Johnston, 1983). Blumberg and Greenfield (1981) suggested, however, that much of the principal's time is spent emphasizing what they choose to emphasize. Singleton (1975) and McKague (1980) emphasized that the role of supervisor in the school is one of the most crucial efforts for the improvement of the quality of education. Earl (1982) described effective supervision as a key to both improvement of instruction and teacher professional growth.

Sackney (1980)and Johnston (1983) described research conducted in Saskatchewan which assessed the nature of current supervisory behavior of principals in terms of what is and what should be. They consulted not only principals but teachers and found that both teachers and principals want more classroom supervision. Johnston concluded that "(p)rincipals want to supervise more than they actually do but few principals formally plan to supervise teachers" (p. 40). The type of supervision expected of principals by teachers is that which will help them improve professionally. Both teachers and principals repeated that supervision to be effective must be direct and purposeful. The importance of developing an honest and trusting relationship between the supervisor and the supervision cannot be over-emphasized. Nordick contended that the principals are in the most strategic position from which to provide supervision of teachers because of their closeness to the classroom, their ability to meet the needs of teachers, their knowledge of the students with wham the teacher works, and their control of information to and from the school, the public and the central office. Nordick's arguments are centered on a basic commitment to the clinical approach to supervision but are equally as applicable to any approach which has as its fundamental tenet a belief Chat supervision fosters growth.


Barriers to supervision (other than insufficient or unspecified time) which are associated with supervision by principals include the basic reticence of people to be evaluated, teacher autonomy, a feeling that professionals should not be assessed by others, and the lack of experience in supervision characteristic of many principals. Nordick (1981) suggested that the barriers are surmountable and that effective supervision is possible in a climate of trust. Cooperative planning variety in approach, ownership of the program, adequate resources and the ability of teachers to assume responsibility for their own professional growth and development, work together to faster effective supervisory practices.

Ward (1975) argued that, although the principal may be in the one organizational position to offer the kind of leadership which results in a creative Staff, there may be a lack of objectivity in a principal's assessment of teacher behavior. He maintained that few people have the personality characteristics which allow them to evaluate and to motivate concurrently. Consequently, the principal should be in charge of supervision related to development while same other person assumes responsibility far evaluative supervision.

Smyth (1980) suggested that formative evaluation might be conducted by subordinates in organizations and summative by superiors. This seems consistent with much that is written relative to the collegial aspects of developmental supervision.

Whichever perspective is adopted relative to the responsibility of principals for supervision, it is obvious that principals need supervisory skills to perform their job (Cawelti, 1980, Georgiades, 1980; Krajewski et al., 1980, Smyth, 1980; Erlandson, 1981). No supervisory program, however, will succeed if not strongly supported by central office (Purkerson, 1978; Snyder, et al., 1982).


An assessment program which has instructional improvements as its major focus will have classroom visits as its principal ingredient (Lipham & Hoeh, 1974, p. 253). Whether or not it is the building principal who is responsible for summative evaluation of teachers for tenure and promotion purposes, the presence of the principal in the classroom is necessary for an adequate formative evaluation of the effectiveness of the school's instructional program. French (1979) warned principals responsible for tenure decisions to be cognizant of the contracts and legal rights of their employees.

Principals should base their evaluation programs on four factors: the timing, the purpose, the information they want, and how the evaluation is to be conducted. Lipham and Hoeh suggested that the purposes for evaluation include effecting changes in goals or objectives, modifying procedures, determining ways of implementing procedures, improving the performance of individuals, supplying information for modification of assignments, protecting individuals and the school, rewarding superior performance, fostering career planning, validating the selection process and facilitating self-evaluation (p. 260-261).

Clinical supervision should be viewed as one of many possible modes of evaluation. Numerous evaluation instruments have been developed for assessment purposes. These can be categorized as those which emphasize traits deemed effective, those which emphasize results of performance, and those which combine trait and performance aspects. Regardless of the nature of the appraisal system, the principal must demonstrate the ability to involve staff in reaching agreement relative to the purposes of evaluation, to collect data, and to base decisions on the data collected.

Rewards available to principals for use with teachers are limited. Typically, five variables may be considered in planning far rewarding: effort, skill, seniority, job requirements and performance. Performance is the most significant factor. Principals must rely primarily en intrinsically rewarding items for use with teachers. These may include appointment to status positions, public recognition, praise, opportunities to acquire new skills, release time, appointment to committees, the services of a teacher aid, or assignment to a preferred class. In utilizing rewards as a management strategy, the principal must be careful to do so consistently, to ascertain their appropriateness, and to be able to justify their dispersement (Wright, 1982).

May (1973) identified the need to identify the specific rewards which could be utilized for secondary school administrators. The rationale for his proposed study indicates that rewards similar to those desired by teachers would be suitable for principals.


In the same manner that "professional development" was a catch phrase a few years ago, "professional growth' is in the 1980's. It would seam, too, that the switch in terminology is a good one because the term "growth" implies an ongoing, sequenced event. Wright (1983) identified the current fluctuation economic and enrollment situation as being the catalyst far the demand for goad long-range planning for the professional growth of teachers and principal.

Nicholson et al. (1980) described inservice education, professional development and professional growth as being in a massive state of confusion. They attributed at least part of the confusion to the lack of a clear definition of terminology. To illustrate this point, Figure V is included in their report. In-service education, they maintain, may be defined utilizing any combination of terms from columns A, B and C.

From the perspective of individual teachers, the process of professional growth is a relatively simple one; it is a continuum from preservice education to inservice work. A minority of teachers appear to have been aware of a responsibility for individual inservice efforts other than those directly related to improvement of professional certification.

The perspective of the principal regarding the professional development of teachers must differ from that of the teacher. Not only must individual development needs of teachers be considered, but they must be perceived in their relationship to the school as an organizational unit. As an example, the principal must not only be concerned that teachers develop the Skills to effectively utilize a new science program, but that the teachers' use of the training melds with the philosophy of the school.

Types of Professional Growth. The principal must be concerned with four distinct areas of teacher professional growth:

a) preservice

b) curriculum related professional growth

c) jurisdictional issue related professional growth

d) individual professional growth (Wright, 1983).

In addition the principal's concern must be with the total effect of these four areas on the school as an organizational unit. Each of these areas is discussed in what follows.

a) Preservice. Not much is known about the perceptions of teacher candidates relative to their future needs for professional development. The views of practicing teachers, principals and central office personnel are more formalized. What is significant, however, is that the preservice training of teachers is a major consideration in their becoming employees in a school and jurisdiction. Curriculum-related professional development. Examination of the literature related to the implementation of curriculum change suggests that the thrust for curriculum change must be a carefully planned and sequenced cooperative effort in which consideration is given to the philosophy inherent in the curriculum and its "fit" with what exists. Principals are in key positions to guarantee that the "fit" does exist. Czajkawski and Patterson (1980) identified the need for decision making to be based on dialogue among all the organizational levels of the jurisdiction. The curriculum change process occurs most effectively in an organization characterized by flexibility in terms of accommodating teacher differences (Dow S Whitehead, 1981).

The knowledge of teachers during the curriculum change process and the actual level of use of the innovation have been the focus of a considerable body of research (Hall & Loucks, 1978: McKibbin & Joyce, 1980; among others). Underlying these studies are the assumptions that teachers can change and that, if the level of their usage of a curriculum can be identified, the skills needed to utilize the curriculum more extensively can be prescribed, and through effective inservice training the teacher's behavior can be altered in the desired direction. These approaches are considered manipulative by some and administratively sound by others.

b) Professional development activities related to curriculum change have several points of origin. Frequently they are generated by departments of education. They may, however, originate with directors, superintendents, principals, department heads, professional organizations, special interest groups, or individual teachers. Whatever the origin, principal support is crucial.

c) Jurisdictional issue-related professional development. The professional development activities most frequently addressed in this category are those associated with the improvement of instructional processes of a general nature or with the improvement of organizational processes (Grasha, 1978). Broad topic areas such as creative discipline, effective record keeping, test construction and school or divisional policies regarding student attendance are included. Bush (1971) maintained that this is the most common form of inservice and that the dominant methods used for delivery of this inservice are expository exhortations, demonstration teaching, supervised trials, and the analysis of performance. These activities are targeted toward schools, divisions or groups of teachers. Principals play an important role in this type of professional development as initiators and managers.

d) Individual professional growth. Two broad categories of activities can be identified in this category: those generated by the individual and those generated for the individual. Traditionally, activities generated by individuals for their own growth have included enrolling in a course to increase their knowledge or instructional skills, voluntary attendance at conferences and workshops, and professional reading,

Among the more common professional growth activities facilitated or planned by principals are job-embedded opportunities including shared planning far teaching and job-related activities such as being members of curriculum and policy committees, or the visiting of other classmates. These activities cannot legitimately be considered to be contributing to individual professional growth unless they occur at appropriate stages of development. The timing must be appropriate (Berman a NacLaughlin, 1978).

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation characterized effective professional growth plans as those which reflect three characteristics:

- changes in subject matter, methodology, and organization

- responses to needs of individuals, schools, and/or district

- activities timed and relevant to the objectives they reflect (p. 14).

The need for constant evaluation of the effectiveness of professional development activities is also recognized by the Federation.


Not only are principals managers of professional development in their schools, they are targets of professional development and must be aware of the need for them to model a positive professionally growing attitude. As part of a holistic perspective of professional development, Wright (1983) suggested that the professional development needs far principals are somewhat different from those of teachers but are reflective of the same four major categories of development: preservice, curriculum related, jurisdiction related, and individual professional growth oriented.

The preservice training provided for principals varies throughout Canada and the United States. In some provinces, New Brunswick for example, a principal's certificate is awarded upon completion of prescribed university courses at the post-graduate level. In Ontario, on the other hand, the Ministry of Education offers professional training courses for licensing purposes. In sane jurisdictions, no training is required beyond basic teaching qualification for appointment to administrative posts. Although principals have historically been promoted from the rank of teachers, teaching ability alone is no longer deemed adequate training for the task (Hay, 1980Matthews, 1980).

There is considerable debate relative to the need for principals to have administrative training as part of their preservice preparation. Sutherland (1977) recognized the need for the upgrading of the qualifications for principals in Saskatchewan. He argued that principals themselves should be active participants in the assessment of the requirements for formal preservice and inservice training.

Stanton (1981) suggested that principals must be cognizant of effective evaluation techniques, implications of change for schools, the effect of school structure on pupils' social development, and basic organizational theory. Rosenblum and others (1981) added the need far principals to be effective trainers as being important. Managers (1980) implied that to be effective, principals must be knowledgeable about legal issues. Krajewski (1979) stated that the principal must possess effective people skills to be effective. Beale and Rost (1979) stressed communication skills. Maguire (1978) argued that beginning principals need a clear philosophy of education and knowledge of programming, personnel administration and budgeting. Hughes (1981) noted that principals also need to have political skills.

Gale and McCleary (1972), concluded from an analysis of articles related to the principalship published in the NASSP Bulletin and the CCBC Notebook that the competencies needed by principals are those related to climate, public relations, staff personnel, instruction, planning, student personnel, and management.

Vann (1979) reported a positive correlation between the number of hours principals spend related to curriculum development in schools and the preservice training hours spent in academic curriculum classes. This, although not contradictory, raises questions about the Rousseau (1971) evidence that elementary school principals who received extensive graduate training in curriculum development and supervision were not significantly more effective in their own practices. It is possible that the training affects greater facilitative ability.

Inservice professional growth needs of principals center around the curriculum of the school, the issues of the jurisdiction and their own professional interests. Responsibility for training principals once on the job lies bath with the jurisdiction and with the principals themselves. Curriculum changes should be preceded by careful and systematic education of the principals relative to the nature of the change, the provision of the resources and the role they and their teachers are to play (Dow S Whitehead, 1981; Wright, 1982). Major changes in jurisdictional policy should be preceded by similar training for principals. Individual interests and needs should be predicated upon their value to the individual, to the school, and to the jurisdiction.

Rebore (1982) identified six major foci for staff development of principals. These are instructional skills, management skills, human relations abilities, political and cultural awareness, leadership skills, and self understanding.

De Leonibus and Themson (1979) argued that since schools are changing, the skills needed by principals are changing, their training must also be characterized by change. They maintained that inservice training of principals should focus on modern management knowledge, staff evaluation, program evaluation and on current trends and issues (p. 9).

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) developed a set of guidelines for the preparation of school administrators (AASA, 1982). This Set of guidelines contains a list of seven competencies necessary for goal achievement. The competencies may be summarized as followed:

a) Climate Maintenance,

b) Application of Political Skills,

c) Curriculum Development,

d) Instructional management,

e) Staff Development and Evaluation,

f) Allocation of Resources,

g) Research.

Hall et al. (1975) stated that formal training of principals is a continuous process. They recommended Chat universities have an obligation to develop and present pertinent workshops to practicing principals related To administrative technology and human relations skills. McKay and McCord (1978) agreed that continuous training is imperative. They suggested that a planned development program for administrators is as important as one for teachers. The thrust of such a program would be the identification of strengths and weaknesses and their remediation. Matthews and Rrcwn (1976) depicted the need for central office support as being crucial for the success of principal training efforts.

Laplant (1979) compiled a review of literature related to the inservice education of principals. He concluded that inservice efforts were characteristically topic specific, oriented toward quick solutions and based on the assumption that awareness of a solution will lead automatically to its application. These factors exhibit clearly that principal inservice is suffering from similar ills to teacher inservice - it is fragmented, uncoordinated and lacks long term goals.

Bassin, Gross and Jordan (1981) recommended the use of external consultants in efforts to plan for long-term professional development. They further implied that the external consultant should be responsible for helping plan for professional renewal throughout a system to guarantee that professional growth efforts were maximized in terms of benefits to the system.

Lo Presti (1982) identified the need for preservice and inservice training of school administrators to be integrated. The life-long training perspective would allow the trainee to deliberately acquire those skills necessary for the job.

Lofstram (1974), in examining the nature of Saskatchewan school principals from 1973-1974, concluded:

...a professionally alert principal with appropriate qualifications and experience, motivated to provide an excellence in education, can have a profound impact on the program of the schools. What constitutes competency in the principalship and what preservice and inservice education is necessary to develop this competency, continues to be debated by educators and the public alike. There is, however, little disagreement with the premise that additional education and experience of the appropriate nature, related to the role and responsibilities of principals, are significant in improving the quality of educational leadership in the schools (91).

It would appear that continuous principal growth would require a program of assessment to indicate directions. Renihan (1979) conducted a study of the practice of assessment of in-school administrators in Saskatchewan from which he concluded that although both principals and directors recognize the need for a formal assessment of the principal, it is rarely practised.

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Management is defined and explained in many ways and one's choice of a definition determines what would be discussed under its title. For the purposes of this review, management is considered to be that part of the principal's job which involves working with or through people, as individuals or groups, to accomplish the organization's tasks. Management is a subset of leadership which requires technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills (those required to see the effects of individual actions an the whole organization).


While same authors including Coccia (1977) maintained that viewing principals as middle management builds a wall between them and their staff, most agree that management is an important aspect of the principal's role. Utilizing a methodology described by Mintzberg (1973) who maintained that all managers are involved with basically the same activities, Martin and Willawer (1981) described the managerial behavior of high school principals. From their observations of five principals the following managerial behaviors emerged:

- desk work

- scheduled meetings

- unscheduled meetings

- exchanges

- phone calls

- personal time

- tours (as a supervisory activity)

- trips

- announcing

- after school activities

- simultaneous and interrupted tasks

- other activities (observing teachers, processing absentees, and teaching).

Managerial functions include planning, organizing, motivating and controlling. All of these functions are evident in the activities described by Martin and Willower. Johnson (1981) suggested that principals need to be meta-planners to be effective managers. Meta-planning is planning for planning. He considered that it is imperative for principals to specify the type of product which will emerge as the result of planned processes.

Peterson examined the nature of the managerial behavior of principals in terms of categories established by Sayles. His findings are summarized in Figure VI. Briefly stated, trading relationships involve the establishment of work tactics; work-flow relationships consist of the distribution of tasks; advisory relationships include counsel, advice and provision of information; auditing relationships consist of monitoring schedules, budgets, rules, and organizational requirements; stabilization relationships is the provision of approving of changes in work flaw or structure of one part of the school and preparation of other parts for the change; and innovation relationships consist of the promotion or development of new processes or products.

Although the results of Peterson's study may have been different with different principals, in different schools, or even at a different time of the year, it still supports the general contention that principals really are not the innovative persons the literature says they should be. The amount of time spent in the supervision of the instructional program and classroom activity is extremely small when compared with "administrivia".

Gcodlad (1978) argued that primary targets for principals' management activities must be maintaining, justifying, and articulating sound programs of instruction. Re demonstrated a concern that too much of the management time of principals is focused on collective bargaining, budgeting and public relations. Bayd (1977), and Evans and Shallop (1977) contended that principals would have more time for the management of the instructional program if they developed well functioning administrative teams in their schools. Bedley (1978) stated that

The principal who recognizes the importance of giving people clear information about their success has recognized the single most important variable for increasing human potential (p. 15).

This implies that an efficient manager will emphasize effective communication. Humanness continues to be an essential aspect of arty successful management enterprise (Erickson, 1977).


The principal is a significant influence on morale within the school. Principals may be aggressive and overbearing in their relationships with teachers, they may be defensive and avoid conflict, or they may foster cooperation (Johnson, 1981).

Cook (1979) identified five critical components of teacher morale over which the principal exercises some control. These are administrative leadership, administrative concern, personal interaction, opportunity for input and professional growth. Blumberg and Greenfield (1978) pointed to trust as a major factor in teacher principal relationships. Mutual trust is characterized by predictability and consistent care in decision making by all parties. Humaneness of the principal was characterized as a management essential by Erickson (1976).

Albrecht (1981) suggested that schools in which teacher-principal relationships are good are those in which the faculty members exhibit a feeling of proprietorship in the school. Muschel (1980) even implied that schools characterized by control-hungry principals or teachers with dependent personalities cannot be expected to produce students who are free and independent learners.

Wright (1979) identified a reticence in teachers relative to involvement in decision-making activities. She concluded that much of the problem resides in the inappropriateness of towards offered to teachers for their involvement. A significant finding of her study was that teachers are more interested in opportunities to better their working conditions, to develop leadership skills, and to provide better learning situations for students than they are in the typical economic-based incentives normally offered to them. Kaiser and Polczynski (1979) suggested the Expectancy Theory Model of Motivation as a viable alternative for consideration by principals.

Landsmann (1978) conducted a survey of 9000 teachers relative to teacher health. She concluded that the role of the school principal is crucial in promoting teacher health. Further, the respondents indicated that the principal could do most to initiate improvements in stress and tension, and the physical environment of the school.

Kearney (1977) reported that the school principal plays a major role in establishing responding mechanisms in schools. Principals who were responsive to teacher and student needs seemed to provide a pattern which was adopted by teachers in their responses to student needs.

Krajewski, iNartin and Walden (1983) identified proactive and reactive practices which are helpful for principals in establishing good principal-teacher relationships. The proactive practices are: knowing the teacher well enough to establish rapport and to anticipate professional growth needs, praising teachers as frequently as they deserve it, liking teachers, getting teachers involved with decision-making activities which affect them, and supporting teachers who have problems with students or others combined with providing inservice which will help them avoid the problem in the future. The reactive practices include listening when teachers need or want to talk, respecting confidences, advising only when necessary, being judicious after emotional peaks have been reached, and disciplining when necessary.


Business management techniques provide useful technical tools for principals. They include budgeting procedures such as global budgeting and zero-based budgeting, scheduling, resource control, and policy making (Gaddy S, Kelly, 1980). Nurdick (1979) maintained that policies enable an educational institution to attain credibility and continuity necessary to achieve its objectives. He depicted the principal as an advisor and monitor for board policy. Epp (1981) demonstrated a broader perspective of policy. He maintained that "the processes of policy development in educational systems appear to possess both the dominant characteristics of order and disorder" (p. 2). He identified eight advantages of clear and updated policies.

They are to:

- reduce ambiguity of goals

- increase uniformity and consistency of decisions regarding operational procedures

- strengthen cases for legal action

- promote orderly conduct regarding issues and/or problems

- foster stability and continuity

- provide means For the public to evaluate performance

- assist in self-evaluation of the system

- clarify functions, responsibilities, and relationships.

School-based policies are the primary responsibility of the principal although the need for board approval is an obvious one. The principal purpose of school-based policies is to facilitate effective and efficient school operation. Frequently School-based policies are developed as handbooks for teachers, students and/or parents. Policy statements should be clear, original, focus on local decisions, and deal with substantive matters.

Areas of policy receiving considerable current attention are staffing and school closure. Seifert (1979) identified new staffing problems facing principals, especially reductions of teachers. Principals confronted with recommending specific staff reductions are faced with a major dilemma. They recognize that a policy based on seniority is not necessarily the best in the long run for the school or for the system but are frequently given little option in the matter. Alternatives suggested for jurisdictions in which staffing is a local prerogative include criteria Such as quality of service, experience in specific areas, district need, preparation and certification. Retraining faculty and long-term projections of needs seem to be the major management strategies for principals in schools in which they have little control of staffing. Reduction in work force may result in public protest, large classes and a decline in student and teacher morale necessitating countervailing action by the principal.

Weldy (1981) contended that Principals play a Significant role in managing the effect of declining enrollment. They must anticipate, plan for, and then carry out the changes that result from fewer students: adjust curricular programs: help develop reduction-in-force procedures: deliver the had news to those dismissed; select, reassign, and transfer the "survivors"; improvise and innovate to maintain program quality; perhaps preside over the inevitable consequence of declining enrollment-the closing of a school: and provide on-site direction for the transition of students and staff from the closed school. (p. 2)

In the matter of school closure, the principal has a key role to play in staff reassignment, community relations, faculty stability, curriculum modification, disposition of equipment and materials and in student relocation. Activities related to the latter include articulation with feeder schools, school records, course registrations, and counseling. Although all these activities are addressed in "normal" times, additional skill and care are needed when school closure is involved.

Lawler (1980), and Becker and O'Neal (1980) supported the contention that decreased school enrollment does not necessarily imply less effective schools. Careful management by the principal and district officials allows small schools to provide excellent educational opportunities to students. These smaller schools with good programs are characterized by clearly defined and high level performance standards for students and teachers, and by considerable individualized instruction.

Politics is both a conflict between individuals and groups for the acquisition of power, which victors use to their advantage at the expense of the vanquished, and an attempt to establish a society and order beneficial to all. (Duverger, 1979, 19].

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This is not the politics of the political principal and yet elements of the definition are found in a principal's political action. Like most functions of the principal, political action can be dichotomized as good political action and bad political action, or placed on a continuum from good to bad. Good political behavior is characterized by Bailey (1976) as influencing external forces that mold the educational environment to provide more effective education.


Principals are involved in political action whether they want to be or not. As members of a political union they are actors; as managers of teachers and non-certified workers who are members of other unions they are actors; as middle managers with goals for their schools they are actors with respect to the board, teachers, students, and the general public; and as workers in a public school system they are actors who must react to and with special-interest groups, religious organizations, and potential employees of students.

The current emphases an school accountability demands that the principal be political in the provision of information about the school to the community and to the board. Care must be taken, for

example, in providing a positive image through a well-planned and coordinated publicity program. The involvement of parent advisory committees, teacher advisory committees, student councils and multifaceted decision-making bodies within the context of the school may be interpreted as political actions.

Peterson (1981) described the principal as occupying a pivotal political position between the school and central office. It is through this political position that resources flaw. The principal with a special cause will influence board members to support the effort in any manner possible. Brubacher (1976) maintained that all the principal's interactions with colleagues and superiors are political to the extent that their aim is to influence conditions of the school environment.

Wadelius (1980) identified three levels at which principals play significant political roles. These are as informers of teachers relative to critical political decisions and issues that might affect the school, as members of their professional union, and as representatives of their school to public groups and leaders. He suggested that to ignore the political role is to ignore a major responsibility.

A major political role of a principal is the establishment of an effective community relations program. Nooney (1980) described a triangular configuration for such programs targeted toward staff, students and the publics for the purposes of informing, gaining opinions, and involvement. In his triangle, the principal is depicted as providing leadership in establishing a school atmosphere, appearance, curriculum and ca-curricular program, and of involving faculty, students, parents, and community in a variety of ways including:

- weekly calendars

- newsletters

- letters to parents

- parent publications

- School-wide events

- parent meetings

- parent handbooks

- student handbooks

- staff handbooks

- orientation of new teachers, students, and Parents

- inservice for teachers and for parents

- welcome leaflets

- friendly receptionist

- telephone decorum

- logistics.

Logsdon (1975) described the principal's primary role relative to the community as integrating it with the formal learning process. McCleary (1979), on the other hand, viewed the principal as a planner for community involvement in the school. Rubin (1979) prescribed a much more active role for the principal in campaigning for electoral candidates who favor practices known to be effective in schools.


Bartels (1979) identified several influencing factors related to the effectiveness of school-community relationships in inner-city schools. These included the principals' role, school district size, teacher attitudes, teacher behavior, teacher integration, teacher transiency, the instructional program, state and federal guidelines resource allocations, parent attitudes, and socioeconomic factors.

Morris and Vrabel (1980) concluded that without leadership by the principal, schools do not establish strong community relationships. Without good relationships based upon the actual needs of students, schools do not get community support. Sandfort (1980) emphasized that parent-teacher associations are a mechanism frequently forgotten by principals in their leadership efforts. Other possible useful links between the school and the community include advisory committees, volunteers, an ombudsman, questionnaires, a speakers bureau, and formal and informal networks of people (Stroyanoff, 1976). English (1980) distinguished between advisory committees which were "ad hoc" to serve a politically sensitive issue and those which were long-term.

English further suggested that there is a transactional relationship in school-community relationships. This is illustrated in Figure VII. The role of the principal in the potential conflict varies from stage to stage and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Krajewski, Martin and Walden (1983) described the principal's role as one of linking the school with the community. They suggested that the pupils in the school are the major link and that principals not lose sight of the fact Further, they suggested that principals identify organizations and individuals that can link the school with the community. The role of personal and professional activities of the principal in the community is deemed a critical community relations factor. The possibility that undesirable links exist between the school and the community should not be neglected. The primary message to be transmitted about the school is its purpose and goals in relation to student welfare. The understanding and tapping of the community power structure is crucial to successful school-community relationships. The principal, because of the publicness of the position, and access to public media and organization, is the obvious leader.

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School effectiveness is a multivariate phenomenon. The recent literature on school effectiveness clearly illustrates this point by consistently highlighting several factors associated with effectiveness (Renihan & Renihan, 1984). These include leadership, conscious attention to climate, academic focus, high expectations, sense of mission, positive motivational strategies, and feedback on academic performance.

In regard to leadership, the literature has emphasized the critical influence of the principal in determining how effective a school shall be (Austin, 1979: Manasse, 1982; Good, 1982: Rutter et al., 1979; Shaemaker & Fraser, 1981; Edmonds, 1981). This point emphasizes further the importance of various aspects of the principal's leadership role which have been examined in ether sections of this literature review.

The tone, ambiance, or atmosphere of an organization is its climate. In schools the climate is largely determined by the leadership of the principal, and teachers' interactions. Student behaviors are important, too, but are seldom addressed. Braukmann (1980) identified twelve strategies which may be useful to principals for improvement of school climate. These include being aware of the importance of getting people to feel good about themselves: setting an expectation of professionalism; personally interacting with children; being visible in classrooms; acting as a teacher advocate; being hospitable with teachers; demonstrating sensitivity to teacher suggestions; providing financial support for teacher and student projects; giving negative criticism in a positive way; being politically astute in dealings with the community; capitalizing on the strengths of people; and demonstrating humanness and a sense of humor in combination with fairness, funness and dispatch regarding unpleasant tasks.

Thomas (1976) demonstrated that the climate in the school influences student outcomes. If this is the case, the principal has a prime responsibility to be concerned about school climate. Silver (1983) identified "frequent sharing of information in the form of ideas, suggestions, advice and problems (so)...individuals learn how to resolve their own teaching problems and (to) facilitate the dissemination of the best practices throughout the school" (196-197) as crucial to good school climates.


Silver prescribed tactics which might be utilized by principals in dealing with specific problems associated with climate. Hindrance (the amount of busy work required of teachers) can be minimized by:

- relieving teachers of as much paperwork as possible

- utilizing volunteers for clerical and extracurricular activities

- involving students in the provision of library assistance, and the supervision of yards, cafeterias and corridors.

Esprit (work enjoyment, mutual respect, loyalty) may be improved by:

- inviting, and acting on, faculty suggestions for school improvement

- involving teachers who want to be included in solving identified problems

- building school pride through publicly visible projects

- providing work places in which teachers can pursue group activities

- recognizing those who invest themselves to further school activities both formally and informally.

The dominant patterns used to control students in a school is used as an indicator of school climate by some researchers. Willawer, Eidell and Hay (1967) suggested a pupil-control continuum ranging from a custodial to a humanistic ideological view held by school officials. Custodial schools provide a highly controlled environment. Teachers conceive the school as being an autocratic organization with rigid pupil-teacher status. Students are expected to accept the decisions and opinions of teachers without question. Misbehavior is of major concern as it is a personal affront to the authoritarian figure. Impersonality, cynicism and mistrust are pervasive in custodial schools.

Humanistic schools, in contrast, operate like communities in which students are cooperative members. Strong emphasis is placed on self-control and self discipline with the recognition that it is a learned behavior. Communication is open and multi-directional. Humanistic schools...

seem more likely than custodial schools to have: (1) teachers who work well together with respect to the teaching learning task; (2) teachers who have high morale and are satisfied because of their sense of task accomplishment and fulfillment of social needs: (3) principals who deal with teachers in an informal, face-to-face situation rather than "go by the book"; (4) principals who do not supervise closely but instead motivate through personal example: and (5) a climate matched by openness, acceptance, and authenticity (Hoy a Miskel, 1982, 202).

Need-Press Theory represents an alternative view of school climate. In essence the theory as developed by Stern (1962) and others suggested that participants in organizations characterized by support, satisfaction and attention to personal growth needs actually exhibit more growth than those in organizations which do not emphasize these factors. Personal development and self-realization are inhibited by schools characterized by low expectations. Psychological growth needs are fulfilled only when intellectual climate, achievement standards, practicalness, supportiveness and orderliness are addressed within the organization.

Silver (1983) summarized the implications of research utilizing Need-Press Theory in terms of enhancing Student outcomes. She suggested that school administrators can advance achievement by:

- cultivating reading and conversation about arts, sciences, and humanities

- promoting emotional expressiveness within reasonable limits

- being energetic and moving around a lot to be involved in school events

- seeking challenges to their own abilities. (p. 230).

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The foregoing review was not intended to be a comprehensive examination of literature relating to the principalship; such an undertaking would be ambitious in view of the vast amount which has

been written on the topic. Even this brief review illustrates, however, that the principal is a much studied and heavily discussed individual. The twofold intent of this review has been to provide a source of information relevant to Saskatchewan realities on one hand, and to determine what the literature has to say about the phenomena investigated in the principalship study, on the other.

There follows, by way of summary, a review of the major issues which seem to most consistently emerge from the literature.



There seems to be little consistency among jurisdictions as to the exact role of the school principal, and there exists an accompanying concern that the role does require clarification so that improved training of people to assume the principalship might be facilitated.

Role clarification, however, presents a horrendous task because studies seen to be in agreement that the principal's role is largely idiosyncratic. Research Studies illustrate how elementary principals are different from secondary principals, norms about the principalship are different for school principals in small towns as opposed to those in large urban settings, principals of large schools are different

from those in small schools. male principals display leadership traits different from female principals and principals in general perceive their role differently than do other groups.


There is strong evidence that the principal does make a difference as a pivotal" control factor in the school.

Research studies point out emphatically that principals are not effective instructional leaders and that they have trouble differentiating between routine management and instructional leadership. This has been attributed directly to lack of role clarification, lack of training, and lack of subordinate commitment.


Although the emphasis placed an the supervisory function has increased relative to other functions, it appears that the amount of time spent by principals in the supervision of the instructional program is small when compared to "administrivia . Staff supervision is crucial to the improvement of instruction, and principals and staff agree that this is a vital function for principals. This area however, remains one of the most common sources of concern for principals, despite the fact that there are plenty of arguments in the literature in support Of supervision of professional staff by principals. Time and resources continue to be major sources of constraint in this area.

There seems to be some disagreement in the literature concerning the question of whether or not the principal should supervise formatively or summatively. The most common opinion is that principals should be the predominant formative (or developmental) supervisors of professional staff.


Regardless of what perspective is taken regarding the principal's role in supervision, it is obvious that principals need supervisory skills to perform their job.

The literature suggests that, although principals have been traditionally promoted from the teaching ranks, teaching ability is no longer deemed adequate training for the position.

Literature on principal training suggests a wide variety of skills, knowledge areas, and appreciations which are advocated as training foci. A common message, however, is that continuous training is imperative and that it should be the responsibility of both the jurisdiction and the principals themselves.

In recent years, increased attention has been paid to the inservice education of principals. Studies of which are in place, however, suggest that provision for such inservice is typically fragmented, uncoordinated and lacking in long term goals


That which has been written about the principal's political role, emphasizes that principals occupy key political positions and are involved in political action whether they want to be or not.

one of the more commonly stressed facets of the principal's role is that of linking the school to the community. The ability to understand and tap the community power structure seems to be crucial to success in this regard.


A common message in the literature is that the principal is critical to making change happen, specifically in providing support, communicating enthusiasm to others, selling ideas to decision-makers and obtaining the involvement of staff


While there is a general consensus that principals need to spend more tine in managing the instructional program, numerous sources claim that principals can accomplish this by developing well-functioning instructional teams in their schools.

For principals of small schools, a strong message from the literature is that smallness does not necessarily imply less effective schools. Smaller schools with good programs ate Characterized by clearly defined and high level performance standards, and by considerable individualized instruction.


As indicated in this review, the considerable emphasis which has been devoted to school climate and school effectiveness in recent years has clarified the "conventional wisdom" as to what constitutes an effective school. It has also demonstrated that school climate does influence student outcomes and that leadership with a "vision" is the key to making this happen at the school level.


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