26 SES 11 A, Leadership and Working Conditions
School principals are important for the pedagogical activity in schools and for the pupil’s results (Nihlfors & Johansson 2013, Böhlmark et al 2012). We suggest that principals find themselves in a cross-fire of various demands and work-tasks. How does their work-situation affect their sense of well-being and of being in control of their assignments? Working conditions as well as the results of employees’ efforts are created in the interaction between the individual and the organization and hence, the prerequisites to organize work also set specific boundaries for leadership of a given organization. In a healthy and effective working place the work environment is beneficial for both the individual worker as well as for the organization as a whole. To work as a school principal suggests leading a trained and experienced staff using a pedagogical leadership. It also involves leading a school organization that engage the surrounding society. We suggest that leading, planning and collaborating sometimes put high strains on the leadership, handling contradicting expectations and demands. This may have negative effects on their ability to successfully plan and lead their organizations.
Swedish schools are transparent organizations that engage political involvement at both local and national levels and principals often find themselves in the eye of the storm. In this paper, the numerous changes in the Swedish school system are related to principals’ sometimes high workload as a critical prerequisite for their psychosocial work environment. The changes that Swedish schools are experiencing are designed to focus on the quality and the quantity of pupils’ performances as well as the economic efficiency of the educational system both locally and a nationally. As such, administrative demand- and control-systems have a direct impact on the principal’s workload and working conditions. It is argued in this paper that overloaded principals may have negative effects on both teachers’ and pupils’ work environment as well as on the outcomes of pupils’ results.
Results from recent inquiries point out school principals as working long hours, lacking possibilities to delegate work-tasks and that the job-turnover among school principals is quite high (Arbetsmiljöverket 2013, SR 2011, SOU 2004). The Swedish school system is based on national mandates such as laws and curriculums, which are carried out by or through the different municipalities. The policy documents leave principals with a significant amount of autonomy to lead the educational mission as well as inner organizational decisions (SFS 2010:800). Support available for school principals are mainly derived from superior leaders in the municipality or from support functions within the organization of private or otherwise independent schools.
The conditions for leadership always has to be regarded as an interaction between postulates and boundaries offered at a given workplace and the interpretations of the same among leaders and employees. Given rules and regulations in combination with a certain degree of space to maneuver contribute to facilitate the interaction between coworkers and leaders, and represents a basis to create an atmosphere of “organizational justice” (Arbetsmiljöverket 2012). Leadership and guidance is of known importance for the psychosocial well-being of employees but what composes a good psychosocial work environment for leaders? The demand-control-support model, elaborated and compiled by Karasek, Theorell and Johnson (Theorell 2012) is used as a theoretical and empirical background to this study. Although the model has mainly been used to measure health and stress among employees newly published studies show that leadership and placement in the organizational hierarchy, possibilities to influence how and when tasks are to be prioritized and performed, and the access to social support are all important and stress-reducing factors that favour the well-being also among managers (Lundqvist 2013, Nyberg 2009).
Arbetsmiljöverket (2012) Den goda arbetsmiljön och dess indikatorer. Kunskapsöversikt. Rapport 2012:7 Arbetsmiljöverket (2013) http://www.av.se/teman/skola/ 2014-01-31 Böhlmark, Anders, Grönqvist, Erik och Vlachos, Jonas (2012) Rektors betydelse för skola, elever och lärare. IFAU 2012:15. Lundqvist, Daniel (2013) Psychosocial Work Conditions, Health, and Leadership of Managers. Linköping: Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University. Nihlfors, Elisabet and Johansson, Olof (2013) Rektor – en stark länk i styrningen av skolan. Stockholm: SNS Förlag Nyberg, Anna (2009) The Impact of Mangerial Leadership on Stress Among Employees. Stockholm: Karolinska Institutet. Department of Health Sciences SFS 2010:800 Svensk författningssamling. Skollagen. SOU 2004:116 Skolans ledningsstruktur – om styrning och ledning i skolan. Stockholm: Fritzes SR www.sveriegsradio.se 2011-11-13 Theorell, Töres (red) (2012) Psykosocial arbetsmiljö och stress. Lund: Studentlitteratur
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.