Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Principal Socialization in One Virginia School District: A Phenomenological Investigation
by Joppy, Dalphine A., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2013, 203; 3592440
Abstract (Summary)

Abstract of Dissertation Principal Socialization in One Virginia School District: A Phenomenological Investigation This phenomenological investigation examines the lived experiences of school principals to discover how principals hired from within their school division perceive and make meaning of their organizational socialization experiences—their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and assumptive worlds. Nineteen public school principals participated in the study. All of the principals worked within the same school district, a school district that historically hires 99% of its school principals from within the division. Principals in the study not only served as assistant principals within the division, but they also served in other roles such as teacher, specialist, and coordinator, thus experiencing spiral socialization.

The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews lasting 90 minutes over a 3-month period. Moustakas' (1994) phenomenological research model was used to analyze data, allowing the researcher to examine what and how the phenomenon was experienced by each participant. Additionally, it allowed the researcher to uncover essential themes and describe the total essence of the phenomenon.

Results revealed two themes that emerged from the analysis about how principals who were hired from within their school division perceive and make meaning of their organizational socialization experience: (a) A Sense of Family and Familiarity and (b) A Sense of Preparation and Continuous Training. The essence of the experience presented a summary of the participants' stories. Being hired to the principalship within their school division presented feelings of being connected, groomed, and supported. For the 19 principals in this study, principal socialization begins with leaders who are ready, willing, and able to build relationships and pour into those who desire to lead and those in whom they recognize leadership potential.

While most socialization research seeks to offer recommendations, this study provides possibilities for awareness regarding the organizational socialization of school principals. This awareness may prove beneficial to organizations that prepare school administrators and school divisions as they consider recruiting, hiring, retaining, and training school principals for an ever changing, demanding role.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Clayton, Jennifer K.
Commitee: Howard, Lionel, Mizelle, Teresa K.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: Preparation, Principals, School administrators, Socialization
Publication Number: 3592440
ISBN: 978-1-303-33484-9
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