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Being in a work environment blind spot – a study of school principals’ organizational and social work environments
Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA). Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Urban Studies (US).
Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA). Malmö University, Faculty of Education and Society (LS), Department of School Development and Leadership (SOL).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5972-4933
2022 (English)In: FALF 2022 - Framtidens arbete – arbetets framtid: Book of abstracts, 2022, p. 16-17Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Introduction

As part of the welfare sector, Swedish schools have undergone several reforms during the past few decades resulting in increasing and often conflicting demands on principals. Additional to implementing new grading systems and curricula, the sector has been impacted by market-oriented logic (new public management), resulting in a mix of professional and bureaucratic governance structures. Many of these reforms demand daily responses because principals are the key actors in both organizing and leading pedagogical practices, being the head of business and main respondent to local political initiatives. Hence, principals’ work environments have gradually deteriorated, with many experiencing high stress levels, which has led to high turnover and difficulty recruiting and retaining principals.  

Aim

Using JD-R theory as the point of departure, the aim of this study is to examine principals’ organizational and social work environment and attempt to answer the following research question: which job demands and job resources are related to principals’ job satisfaction and their intention to leave the job, and how do these job demands and job resources relate to changes within the institutional landscape as a result of the major political reforms the Swedish school sector has undergone over the last few decades?  

Method

We use a mixed methods approach combining responses to questionnaires (466 participants) and interviews (15 participants).  Participants were principals who were members of the school leader section (Lärarförbundet Skolledare) of the Swedish Teachers Union.  

Results

The questionnaire responses indicated that job resources such as role clarity, influence, meaningfulness, and social community with senior managers were related to job satisfaction, while a lack of job resources (influence, social community with senior managers) and role conflict were associated with higher intention to leave the profession. The interviews deepened the understanding of the shift in institutional logic within the school sector that has created boundaries between principals’ professional and managerial roles in accordance with new public management thinking. The separation of their professional and managerial roles has contributed to the development of a blind spot in principals’ organizational and social work environments. This is a problem for principals and a risk factor for the organizations themselves because stress and ill-health experienced by leaders tend to affect the entire organization. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. p. 16-17
National Category
Work Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-63139OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-63139DiVA, id: diva2:1804625
Conference
FALF 2022 - Framtidens arbete – arbetets framtid, Mälardalens högskola, 13–15 juni 2022
Available from: 2023-10-13 Created: 2023-10-13 Last updated: 2023-10-13Bibliographically approved

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Edvik, AndersMuhonen, Tuija

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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