Full Length Research Paper
The qualitative research discussed in this article is based on the assumption that school principals as leaders need to establish, develop and maintain a core of shared values in their schools. Our focus is on principals’ current perceptions of values in their schools. This is important because values underpin their decisions and actions and thus influence the members of school organizations. The framework of our research was informed by social constructivism. Data were collected in the form of semi-structured individual interviews with nine school principals that were designed to elicit a detailed picture of the participants’ perceptions of values. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was employed because of its flexibility which makes it possible to analyze and report on the patterns identified, to provide a rich and dense description of the results. The results indicate firstly that principals have diverse perceptions of values. Secondly, they highlight the range of contributions and influences values have in their schools. Thirdly, they show that principals connect values in/directly to themselves as leaders, their leadership styles and employ values un/intentionally. We argue for a value-based leadership (VBL) approach because it provides ways of overcoming deficiencies in leadership. It is vital that school principals establish and maintain a core of shared value that underscore the school as an organization that strives for the well-being of all of its members.
Key words: Educational leadership, principals, human plurality, value-based leadership, values.
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