26 SES 13 B, Diversity, Citizenship and Gender
That “the principalship [is] in a state of crisis” (Davis et al., 2005, p. 3) due to high turnover rates and a lack of suitable applicants is well-documented, not only in countries with high accountability for school leaders, but recently also in countries which have a reportedly low accountability (e.g., Austria). Lacey (2001) points out that todays teachers “are likely to change jobs and careers several times before they retire” (p. 9). When we look at school leader successions and aspirations it becomes quickly evident that the future will be nothing like the past. With more vacant positions and fewer people being prepared to take on the challenge of being a school principal, we need to identify factors that encourage or deter suitable teachers (or in some countries also other actors in the education system) to become educational leaders. This is especially relevant when looking at the strong effects that school leadership has on school effectiveness (cf. Scheerens, 2012).
Based on psychological theories of person-environment interaction such as Walter Mischel’s interactionism (Mischel, 1968) or also Person-Environment-Fit (e.g. Murray, 1938), it is assumed that personal as well as situational factors play a role in people’s job choice. Although how well ones’ abilities, interests and attitudes fit to the requirements and challenges of a specific job has more often been researched with regard to personnel selection, this also provides a good theoretical basis to explain why people apply for a specific job. In addition, Mischel’s claim to incorporate situational variables and not only personality to explain people’s behaviour, seems especially important in school leadership where not one job is like the other.
However, when we take into account that teaching is in many countries a female job (on average 70% of all teachers were female, OECD 2009), but being a principal is not (55% of all principals are male, OECD, 2009), we also need to take gender issues into the equation when trying to unveil the reasons for the present lack of applicants. Previous literature has revealed a number of aspects which play a critical role in teacher’s application for principalship, but not necessarily to a similar extend for men and women. Neidhart & Carlin (2003) as well as Lacey (2002) report less trust in one’s own abilities for female teachers, which plays a critical role in applying for leadership (James & Whiting, 1998). Bezzina (2010) also mentions the lack of female role models as a reason why fewer women break through the ‘class ceiling in schools’. Also the perception of principalship as being highly stressful and the impact this job would have on family life deters potential applicants (van Cooley & Shen, 2000; Draper & McMichael, 2003). While there has been some research in other countries, school leadership motivation has received only little attention in the German-speaking countries. In those studies which investigated leadership motivation (e.g. Wissinger; 1994) gender-related issues were usually not taken into account.
The present Educational Leadership Motivation (ELMO) project seeks to identify push and pull factors of school leadership which need to be dealt with if we want to make being an educational leader an attractive and sought after position again. In the present paper, the following questions will be addressed:
- Do male and female teachers (or principals, respectively) differ in personality and situational aspects relevant for aspiring school leadership?
- Which factors influence people’s school leadership aspirations?
- Are these factors and their influence the same for men and women?
Bergmann, C., & Eder, F. (2005). Allgemeiner Interessen-Struktur-Test mit Umwelt-Struktur-Test (UST-R) - Revision (AIST-R). Göttingen: Beltz Test GmbH. Bezzina, M. (2010). It's a long way to the top: Getting past the barriers for aspiring principals. Paper submitted at The Sydney Symposium on The Future of Teacher Education and School Leader Education, Sydney, Australia. Davis, S., Darling-Hammond, L., LaPointe, M.A., & Meyerson, D. (2005). School Leadership Study: Developing Successful Principals. Review of Research. Stanford Educational Leadership Institute. Draper, J., & McMichael, P. (2003). The rocky road to headship. Australian Journal of Education, 47(2), 12. Felfe, J., Elprana, G., Gatzka, M. & Stiehl, S. (2012). FÜMO Hamburger Führungsmotivationsinventar. Göttingen: Hogrefe. Gottfredson, L.S. & Holland, J. (1996) Dictionary of Holland occupational codes. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources. Holland, J. L. (1959). A theory of vocational choice. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 6, 35–45. James, C., & Whiting, D. (1998). Headship? No thanks!: A study of factors influencing career progression to headship. Management in Education, 12, 12-14. Krammer, D., Huber, S., Demarle-Meusel, H. & Mayr J. (2012). ISM –Interesse an Schulmanagementaufgaben. Unveröffentlichtes Inventar, Universität Klagenfurt. Lacey, K. (2001). Succession Planning in Education. National Science Foundation. Online Document. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.202.565 [last access on 12.1.2013] McClelland, D. (1975). Power: the inner experience. New York: Halstead. Mischel, W. (1968). Personality and Assessment. New York: Wiley. Murray HA. (1938). Explorations in personality. New York: Oxford University Press. Neidhart, H. & Carlin, P. (2003). To apply or not to apply: Incentives and disincentives to application for principalship. Refereed paper presented at Hawaii International Conference on Social sciences. Sheraton Waikiki, Honolulu, June 12-15. OECD (2009). Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments: First Results from TALIS. Paris; OECD Publications. Rammstedt, B. & John, O.P. (2005). Kurzversion des Big Five Inventory (BFI-K): Entwicklung und Validierung eines ökonomischen Inventars zur Erfassung der fünf Faktoren der Persönlichkeit. Diagnostica, 51, 4, 195-206. Scheerens, J. (2012) (Ed.). School leadership effects revisited: Review and meta-analysis of empirical studies. London: Springer. Schütz, A., Marcus, B., & Sellin, I. (2004). Die Messung von Narzissmus als Persönlichkeitskonstrukt. Psychometrische Eigenschaften einer Lang- und einer Kurzform des Deutschen NPI (Narcissistic Personality Inventory). Diagnostica, 50, 202-218. Van Cooley, E., & Shen, J. (2000). Factors Influencing Applying for Urban Principalship. Education and Urban Society, 32, 443-454. Wissinger, J. (1994) Schulleiter-Beruf und Lehreridentität - Zum Rollenkonflikt von Schulleiterinnen und Schulleitern. Zeitschrift für Sozialisationsforschung und Erziehungssoziologie, 14, 38-58.
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