Spanish principals: Motives for accession and difficulties in enacting the role

García-Rodríguez, M.P., Carmona, J., Fernández-Serrat, M.L. y  Teixidó-Saballs, J. (en prensa, 2018). Spanish Principals: Motives for Accession and Difficulties in Enacting the Role. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 

This work explores the relationships between principals’ motivations for entering the principalship
and the difficulties they experienced during their first year as principals. Survey data were collected
from a sample of 2042 Spanish principals. They answered a questionnaire assessing intrinsic
and extrinsic motivations, difficulties experienced when doing instructional, informational, and
administrative tasks, and other personal and contextual characteristics. The scales developed to
measure motivations and difficulties displayed adequate psychometric properties. The results
showed the preponderance of intrinsic motivations. Administrative mundane tasks were perceived
as the most difficult ones. We also found that non-administrative instructional tasks were more
difficult for those principals who were more extrinsically motivated. Some gender differences were
observed in motivations and difficulties. Women placed lower value on extrinsic motivations than
men. Furthermore, while the difficulty of administrative tasks in their first year as principal was
placed higher by women than men, those tasks that are more relationship-oriented (i.e. informative
and instructional tasks) were rated as more difficult by men than women. Although internal
incentives and administrative overload characterize most of the public Spanish principals, some
findings pointed to the possibility of other profiles of principals that should be investigated in
further studies. Implications for the design of principalship training are also discussed.


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